Guest post courtesy of Danielle Sorresso
Golf has become the unrivaled Sport of Business. It is no longer just a man’s sport, but women are welcome as well. The game has been known to open doors to endless social and professional benefits. For one EWGA business professional, golf has not only become a social resource for her, but it has led to countless business opportunities.
Julie McKenna grew up in Newbury Park, California. She began playing golf when it was just gaining popularity among women.
While she was working at Coach Dailey’s Golf Camp, the General Counsel for Branch Banking and Trust Company was attending the camp. She heard Julie was looking for a job, and they discussed how she had thought about going to law school. “Less than two weeks later, I was hired at the legal department of BB&T. If I had not been at that camp, or a golfer, I never would have obtained my first full-time job,” says McKenna.
Then, in her third year of law school, she applied to clerk for judges in Massachusetts. “I was called in for an interview with a judge who was an avid golfer. He saw that I played collegiate golf, and that was the main topic of conversation throughout my interview. It was something we both had in common, and had it not been for golf, I would not have been able to make that connection.”
Julie clerked for that judge for a year. Following that, she was hired as an attorney with Egan, Flanagan and Cohen, P.C, located in the Greater Springfield, Massachusetts’ area. Shortly after, Julie joined the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Through the EWGA, Julie has been able to play golf, network, and connect with people from all over the U.S. who share a passion for cultivating relationships and enjoying the game of golf.
To this day, McKenna attributes golf to opening doors for her. McKenna recalls the following ways golf has acted as an outlet for conducting business and allowed her to participate in the important conversations.
Conversation starter: Because Julie played golf, it had opened the lines of communication. It was often a main topic of conversation with several people she came in contact with especially when entering the business world. It was a subject she could speak comfortably about with others that shared her common interest.
Presents opportunities: Golf has become a relevant topic. It is a way for women to level the playing field. It’s no secret that there is a lot of business conducted on the golf course. Golf opens doors to business opportunities, allowing time to be spent with co-workers in a different capacity and participate in the important conversations
Networking: Golf is a great way to network and always has been for Julie, which is why she joined the EWGA. It has provided her with a sense of belonging and a way to meet great people and network with other professionals.
Connections: Not only has it opened doors for her in the legal world, but golf has connected her to several other industries because of the different individuals she has come in contact with from all over through the EWGA.
Handling varying personalities: In golf, just as in business, one meets a variety of people, all from varying backgrounds. Golf has taught her how to talk to and work with a wide range of people, which is an incredibly valuable skill to have in the business world.
Patience: Golf teaches patience. It teaches one not to become totally defeated after one bad shot because there is always an opportunity to make it up. It’s similar to business. It is all about the recovery process and how one deals with adversity when things are going according to plan.
The thinking game: Golf requires concentration and sound thinking. Playing has taught Julie to be a better thinker and problem solver, which is an asset that has translated well into the business world and her career. When golf is played, it involves thinking constantly about what the next shot options will be, and which one of those options is going to work the best. In the business world, it is no different. In any given day, Julie is faced with challenges that require her to think creatively and come up with multiple options to solve the issue presented.
Today Julie spends more time practicing law than golf, but it hasn’t stopped her from achieving her goals on course. In Sept, she beat out 32 other business women to win the 2013 EWGA Championship Finals in Arizona.