February 29, 2012
Gail Dent is associate director of public and media relations at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, where she works with national media and focuses on communications surrounding NCAA issues and programs. She has been with the NCAA for 11 years.
Previously, she worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee and the athletics communications department at the University of Kentucky, where she earned her master’s.
This month, the NCAA is in the spotlight because of the Men's Division I Basketball Championship, which starts on March 13, and is known as March Madness.
“[The tournament] provides us with a terrific platform to share student-athlete success stories and to educate the public on who the NCAA is through a variety of communication platforms,” the Louisville, Ky., native says. “During March Madness, you hear more stories about former student-athletes who have earned their degrees and are now CEOs, educators, doctors, entrepreneurs and major contributors to society.”
Name: Gail Dent
To be a veterinarian
Associate director of public and media relations for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
What changed (i.e. how you became interested in public relations):
I’ve always enjoyed sports so when I found a niche where I could write, be creative, think outside the box, mix in a little strategy and attend an event or two, I was hooked.
First public relations job:
A summer gig at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center
What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
“No” doesn’t always mean that the idea is dead. Sometimes a different approach gets you the “yes” that you want.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
Continue to dance even though the music may have stopped playing — stay positive and keep focused when the going gets a little rough.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Seeing former interns and students I’ve worked with get into the industry and do well
If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
Educating students in some tropical paradise with a beach in the background
To continue showing people that even though we may not look alike, that we may have different perspectives, or that we may come from diverse backgrounds, we can still reach the same goals together — a little inclusion can be fun.
Make a “business case” for public relations:
Public relations is crucial because there is always a story to tell and you want to tell that story from your own perspective with some desired outcome in mind. You can score points with messaging and thoughtful engagement today, but remember, if you don’t tell your story, then someone else will.