Danielle DiPietro, ‘14, never thought she could combine her love of sport management with a career in the travel industry. Find out how she’s living her dream:
Tell us about yourself.
I am 26 years old and from Ontario, Canada. I graduated from Davenport in 2014 with my sports management degree. I currently work as a sports director onboard the Carnival Vista. I have been with Carnival Cruise Lines for almost a year. When I was in high school I discovered my passion for travel and this job really allows me to work in the sports and recreation industry while traveling at the same time. I like to keep busy, so even when I am home I typically work six or seven days a week.
When and why did you decide to go into sport management?
I originally went to university for forensic science. After my first year I realized I was not enjoying my post-secondary experience and decided to transfer to the sports management program at Durham College. I have always liked sports and been interested in the business side of sports, but I had no idea there was a program, let alone industry for it.
Why did you pick Davenport?
I previously attended and graduated from the sport management program at Durham College in Ontario, Canada. When I was at Durham College I learned about the bridge program to Davenport from a classmate. It was an easy transition and something not many of my other classmates were doing.
As a graduate of DU, when you think of your experience what comes to mind?
I had a lot of fun and it was very different from my post-secondary experience in Canada. I felt I got the true American college experience. I learned a lot from my professors and from the study abroad program. I feel like I accomplished a lot in a short time.
After you graduated from DU what has your career been like? Jobs?
After I graduated from Davenport I started working in a restaurant full-time, but quickly moved into a management position. During that time I also worked as a volunteer coordinator for the 2015 LPGA Manulife Classic. In this role, I recruited, trained and scheduled volunteers and worked with local vendors to coordinate meals and uniforms. This job really put my education to use. It was a short contract position but an amazing learning experience. One of my more full-time roles was with a local gymnastics club, where I was an office administrator. I registered children into different programs, worked on the website and social media pages and helped with provincial meets. I really loved the atmosphere and people I worked with, which made the two and a half years fly by.
In a nutshell, what do you do right now for your career?
My job with Carnival Cruise Lines is on-board the Carnival Vista as the sports director. I work with three other sports staff employees. We are certified operators of a high ropes course and the first ever SkyRide. It’s a bike that is suspended over the ship and guests pedal around a track. We also run daily tournaments in basketball, volleyball, corn hole, beer pong and hole-in-one. We coordinate all of the big parties on-board. That means line dances, and lots of them. On top of that, as the sports director, I fill out daily inspections, respond to emails, order supplies, work with contractors and create our schedule. There are no days off on a cruise ship, as soon as one group of guests disembark, new guests come onboard.
What is the most important thing you learned from a professor or a class here at DU?
I think the most important thing I learned from a professor at Davenport was that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. Education doesn’t stop after you’ve finished your degree or a class. Participating in the study abroad program really opened my eyes to this concept.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I was awarded the HESS (Health, Environment, Safety and Security) Champion for the month of April onboard the Vista. During an inspection, what looked like small paint chips ended up being a major safety concern that closed the SkyRide for a month. Senior officers believe it was a potentially life-saving find. Because of this, new inspection and safety procedures have been introduced on two ships and thousands of dollars have been invested for prevention.
What is your dream job?
I would love to work at an event like the Olympics. I love event planning.
Who inspires you?
My parents have always been very dedicated to their jobs. They constantly going above and beyond their responsibilities while still coming to my events, volunteering and having a social life.
What are you passionate about?
I truly enjoy traveling. That’s why I enjoy my current line of work. I hope I can continue to combine travel and work.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a good person who enjoyed life. I want to always have a strong work-life balance and be able to travel for work and leisure.
What do you do when you are not working?
When I am not working I’m usually catching up on all of my TV shows. I follow far too many and they are usually on when I’m working. I also really enjoy cooking, so I like trying out new recipes on friends and family.
What advice would you give to current sports management students here at DU?
Think outside the box, especially when it comes to job hunting. I didn’t associate sports with cruise ships but it is becoming quite common to have different sports activities on ships. Although it may not be obvious at first glance, there are so many places that have sports programs.