Former women's basketball player featured
One can argue that it’s rare to start your career working in a field that is a perfect fit. More often, people migrate toward their career destination on a winding path that may include jobs that are not their first love. Fortunately for Kim McBride, she found her fit early with a company she loved and has never looked back. “I graduated in May of 1997 and started to work in customer service at Reebok three weeks later,” said McBride.
McBride was focused upon graduation from Babson and had a great idea of what she wanted to do. “I started in customer service because I wanted to get my foot in the door,” she said. “It was the best thing I could have done. Being in customer service at Reebok, you get to touch every aspect from product to marketing to IT. It was a great networking position.“
Eighteen months later and after proving herself in the customer service department, McBride was offered a promotion in the marketing division, working closely with women’s fitness. “We went after fitness instructors,” said McBride. “We worked with events, created new equipment, and catered to the fitness professional.”
Despite Reebok’s success, the company chose to shift demographics, which forced McBride to change courses as well. “In 2004, Reebok wanted to own the weekends,” she added. “We signed all the major leagues to contracts. The shift was targeted at the professional side of sports versus the fitness side. I rolled right into the sports marketing position and was in charge of managing all the basketball assets. Oddly enough basketball was my love, and it was a perfect fit.”
Eight years went by as McBride managed over 40 NBA assets. “My responsibilities ran the gamut from organizing game shoes to getting the athletes product to organizing Reebok athlete summer camps to managing appearances,” McBride commented. “Our athletes were really good with everything. We had guys like Allen Iverson, Rajon Rondo, Chris Webber, Jason Terry, Jameer Nelson, John Wall, Jamal Crawford, Danilo Gallinari, and Eddie House to name a few.”
McBride had found great success with the sports marketing division, and with adidas and Reebok undergoing change following their brand merger in 2006 she was a natural choice to undertake another marketing shift. “The NBA contract was gone, and we were no longer investing in athletes,” she said. “We went back to our fitness roots. We wanted Reebok to be the home of fitness. Over the last two years, we have updated what we did in fitness in 2004 through partnerships with Les Mills, Spartan Race and CrossFit. I am also the business manager of ReebokONE. ReebokONE is a new social space for fitness professionals to learn and share from one another, as well as get access to great fitness gear.”
Networking is a common theme that McBride talks about often. Her networking in business and in college has been major aspects of her success. “The great thing about Babson is networking with the Babson community,” McBride said. “I love getting Babson students in here for internships. I’ve remained close with Judy (Blinstrub) and try to help in any way possible.”
McBride had a tremendous career as a Babson student-athlete, and those experiences influenced her to remain in the sports world. “Playing basketball at Babson helped me find my friends and family,” she added. “It helps define who you are and helped balance the academic stress.” McBride was also a part of some very successful teams. “My freshman year we went to the NCAA Tournament. We were in the ECAC Tournament my sophomore year and came close to winning the conference in both my junior and senior years. In addition to it being a great team atmosphere and doing well, we learned a lot and went far.”
McBride stays in the game today in a different way, as she coaches youth travel teams. “I’ll never let basketball go,” she said. McBride also stays in shape by participating in CrossFit at Reebok CrossFit ONE three or four times per week and playing pickup basketball. She resides in Norwood with her husband Chris, who referees college hockey games, and daughters Maggie (10) and Molly (8).
Babson Athletics (BA): What advice would you give to our current first-years beginning their careers at Babson?
Kim McBride (KM): Find your friends and be comfortable. Work your butt off that first year and it will carry you through your four years. You can’t expect to breeze through and have that translate to the business world. Enjoy your college years, as they pass by quickly. To the athletes, enjoy having the opportunity to play a sport and be part of a team. Take care of yourself because when you graduate things become crazy and hectic. When you do leave Babson, maintain that competitiveness. Find something to hold on to in order to keep the fire burning.
BA: What advice would you give to our seniors about to enter life after college?
KM: I see it now with the young professionals—don’t get caught in the stereotype. Don’t go in thinking everything is going to be handed to you and expect to get a promotion in the first six months. Be prepared to work and prove yourself. Babson does a great job preparing you for that. Network, network, network. Join committees at your office. Get to know a lot of people in the company. Be willing to work while you aren’t tied down. When you have a family it will pay off, but you have to earn it.