Closing Time

By: Madison Brooks

Today was the last day down here in Miami working with the Super Bowl Host Committee! It is hard to comprehend that I really just experienced all of this wonderful craziness that was my Super Bowl LIV experience. While it was hectic and tiresome, it was equally surreal and fun. Working with my peers and other industry professionals was incredibly worthwhile in my efforts, as a student, to learn as much as I can in my time here at Emerson. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone and can safely say that I made some lifelong memories while here.

If there is one thing that I learned from this trip, it was the importance of being a versatile and flexible person when working in events. The fun part about events, to me at least, is that you never quite know what is going to happen. In order to be the best at your job and to create an amazing experience, you have to be able to adapt to different situations and circumstances as they unfold. Stressing too much over things can only lead to more problems. If you see a problem, do your best to solve it as soon as possible to avoid any further problems that may come from it. There is a solution to every problem if you look hard enough, and sometimes having a great team of people there to help you out can make the problems seem even smaller. I hope I am able to work in events someday and be able to take on larger roles and bring even more people the excitement I felt working at Super Bowl LIV.

Sunshine and Social Media

By: Madison Brooks

Lots of people think that social media is an easy task. You go out and take pictures, just like you would any day for your own personal account, and post them. While this is true to some extent, I am learning that there is a lot more thought and skill involved than meets the eye. Today I was stationed at Super Bowl LIVE for the morning shift. As we collected images and caption ideas for the Host Committee, I realized that social media is most definitely not my strong suit. Trying to get the perfect photo with my amateur photography skills was not fun for me. It took me a lot of thought and effort just to get something that was decent content.

What I did enjoy was getting to see Super Bowl LIVE and everything that went on there. The event was really cool and there were a lot more attendees there today, which brought up the energy level. We got to cover a Lil Nas X interview and see some former football players. I did get a little too much sun today—my own fault for not wearing a hat or sunscreen! Sorry, Mom!

After we left Super Bowl LIVE we went to work in the Social Media Command Center, which even further proved that social media is not my strong suit. I have such a hard time sitting in a dark room staring at a screen, just hoping to find something worthy of interaction. I think this trip has definitely been helpful in pointing out my strengths and weaknesses in PR.

A Change of Scenery

By: Madison Brooks

Fresh air never felt so good. After being in the Miami Beach Convention Center every day for a week, it was refreshing to spend the day elsewhere, first working at the Pepsi Halftime Show Press Conference and then at Super Bowl LIVE. I worked one press conference earlier in the week, but this one was a much larger production. There were crew and media everywhere, and we directed them to where they needed to be. I think I said, “Hi! Are you here for the press conference?” at least a hundred times today. During the actual event, the Host Committee asked to take video for social media. Hearing Jennifer Lopez and Shakira talk about how they hope to empower the country with their performance made me all the more excited to see it happen on Super Bowl Sunday!

After the press conference ended, we made a quick pit-stop at Checkers, which I never had before and really enjoyed, and then headed over to Super Bowl LIVE. The Host Committee executed this event really well and had a bunch of different booths and activities for the public to come and enjoy. While there, we captured content for the Host Committee social media. I had so much fun running around with my team and getting to enjoy the experience in a professional yet immersive capacity. We saw many players, an incredible water show and even got to have dinner on the beach in the VIP lounge. On top of all of this, I  did my first real social media work, which is great practice for future jobs I may have.

“In Every Job That Must Be Done, There is an Element of Fun…”

By: Madison Brooks

“You find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game.” The wise words of Mary Poppins are always in my mind when I work, and today turned out to be a really fun day of work at the NFL Transportation Booth. While there, we answered any questions about transportation and guided people to certain locations. While this work could get repetitive, I enjoyed interacting with different people throughout the Media Center.  It feels so nice to help someone simply having a bad day, or fix someone’s problem when they are confused. Today, most people were really nice and appreciative of any help we gave them. The Media Center was a lot busier today, so there were not only more reporters, but also more celebrities walking around. While I didn’t know all of them, seeing some great athletes, reporters, and even a Bachelorette contestant was very cool. We made a game out of it by trying to figure out who everyone was as they walked by.

We met many wonderful other people during our time in Miami. Our driver, Winston, always has the biggest smile on his face and is a delight to talk to. Teacher Lisa, as we know her, is our point of contact with NFL Transportation. She is quite a character. She always comes over to our booth with an abundance of energy and a big smile, and consistently reassures us that we are doing a great job. There is also Michael, Jennifer, Jeramie and everyone else in the Social Media Command Center who have been so wonderful to work with and helpful in answering any questions we have. Being able to talk with them and make the serious work a little more entertaining has really made this trip all the more enjoyable.

Service with a Smile

By: Madison Brooks

In every job Iever had, I noticed that people get very upset with the bearers of bad news, even when the situation is out of their control. People are frustrated and take things out on the wrong people and it is in the employee’s best interest to stay calm and rational. Both my jobs as an usher and a bartender prepped me wonderfully for working the NFL Transportation Booth today, as they showed me how to handle these types of situations when people are unhappy. The coordination of the shuttles for the media is not ideal this year, so many people made their complaints known. This experience reinforced the customer service and hospitality skills that many jobs require, especially in a field entitled public relations.

While in the Transportation Booth, we also saw all of the media and VIPs working and making their way to press conferences and other events. What a cool experience it’s been, being here and working at such a large event! The rest of my day involved working in the Social Media Command Center again. We had to move to a new system because of technical problems that occurred yesterday, but we all pulled together to interact with people on Twitter. It feels really empowering to be liking and retweeting things from a verified account. I didn’t think I would be trusted with something like that yet in my life. I’m excited to see what the rest of the week brings and all of the new roles I get to play.

They Call It “Rolling with the Punches”

By: Madison Brooks

This is an experiential learning trip, so, different types of challenges are naturally part of the deal. I knew this going in, but I didn’t quite realize how many there could be in one day! From the social media program we were using crashing to running a literal mile across the convention center, there were definitely things that could have gone better today. The best part was that twe all pulled together as a team and accomplished what needed to be done. This atmosphere also demonstrated that in the real world, things don’t always go according to plan.

One of my favorite tasks Dr. Scott assigned me to today was assisting operations. Several other students and I attended a press conference held by the Host Committee. We helped set up and break down the event. In between, we listened in to hear many notable officials speak. Our team was tasked with setting up the backdrop for the press conference, which I actually did before at a summer internship. The tasks clicked with me and I was able to see the big picture of how things needed to look. Dr. Scott said we found my calling in events, and I really think I can see myself working in this type of field.

Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here

By: Madison Brooks

The rest of our group flew in yesterday to join us down here in Miami. My shift began at 9 a.m. in the Social Media Command Center, but we arrived about an hour early so those of us who were new could get their credentials. While we were waiting we got to explore the NFL Experience before it was open, which was really cool! They had displays representing every team’s hometown, which was my favorite part. Some attractions were not set up yet for the day, so I definitely want to go back when it is open and check it out.

Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to meet and work with new people. I was shocked to see our team triple in size, but we all appreciated the extra hands on deck. While working at the Social Media Command Center is not necessarily a group activity, it is rather collaborative. Talking problems out with other people in the room as they come up allows us to build off of each other’s ideas and catch each other’s mistakes.

I also enjoyed getting to know some of the people working in the Social Media Command Center, both from Emerson and elsewhere. There are several professionals with experience working in sports and PR who share stories and advice for us as we begin our careers and try and make sense of what we want to do with our lives.

My First Real Shift

By: Madison Brooks

Today was a really good day. Those of us who arrived yesterday all got to work in the Social Media Command Center. We woke up bright and early and  ate our breakfast from the hotel before we got on our shuttle to the Miami Beach Convention Center. I was nervous for the shift at first because I didn’t want to mess something up and ruin the entire Super Bowl! Realistically, I know this is extraordinarily unlikely, but the fear was still very much a real one.

Thankfully, the shift went rather smoothly. There was not so much activity that it was overwhelming, but enough to keep us all busy for the day. I know it will pick up as we get closer to the game, but it was a good way to start the week. Now I feel more prepared to take on more social media work in the week to come. Everyone else who was working in the SMCC was really nice and I got to work alongside my fellow  Emersonians. The host committee provided food for the volunteers, which included meatloaf for lunch and Cuban food for dinner. I ate Cuban food twice on this trip so far and really enjoyed it — a nice break from my usual diet of various forms of bread and cheese. The host committee also filled the room with lots of snacks for all of the volunteers, which was a delicious bonus. I am really looking forward to working there again tomorrow and seeing what new challenges another day brings.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

By: Madison Brooks

I am not a morning person. Typically my head hits the pillow around 1 a.m., yet tomorrow I will have to be up before the sun to catch my 5:34 a.m. flight with my fellow Emerson students. I must make an important decision: do I struggle to sleep for two hours knowing I will be unsuccessful, or do I tough it out and stay up until it’s time to leave? A combination of the two is most likely to happen, but I know tomorrow is going to be a long day; any amount of sleep is likely going to be better than none. Here’s hoping my body and brain cooperate!

I am preparing myself to adjust my sleeping habits for the upcoming days in Miami. Early mornings are a part of the experience and are how the rest of the world functions outside my personal college schedule. I have carefully crafted my days so I rarely have to be awake before 10 a.m., which is just the way I like it. The ability to be awake and professionally presentable is a key element to working in the real world that I have not become too familiar with yet. I know I am fully capable of it, but it seems to be one of those things that gets easier with practice, or, at least I hope it is. What better way to begin this experience than with the earliest flight I could possibly take?

My Mom’s Dream Come True

By: Madison Brooks

Usually when I call my mom in the middle of the day it is not to share good news. I have recently called over broken laptops, forgotten bills and the occasional fashion catastrophe. I have yet to make a call so exciting as when I ran out of my finance class to tell her that I had an incredible opportunity to work for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee.

My mom has been my biggest supporter throughout my entire life. She helped me become the person I am today, and there is no person in the world who is pushing for me to have a successful career more than her. The two of us have been talking of nothing but school, internships and jobs since I can remember. She also just happens to be a diehard football fan, and even though the Patriots are already out of the playoffs, she’s lovingly turned her attention to routing for me to have a successful experience in Miami. My favorite part of this break has been getting excited with her.

I have also been getting plenty excited on my own. Having the opportunity to work alongside my peers in the social media command center and the media center brings a new set of challenges and opportunities for growth as a professional that I cannot wait to take on. This past semester I learned so much about working in the public relations industry, and now I get the chance to experience it firsthand!