The upcoming class of fellows for the Haslam Sports Group Diversity and Opportunity Fellowship Program have a variety of backgrounds but similar goals – to use this opportunity to grow and give back to the sports world.
The HSG Diversity and Opportunity Fellowship Program is now in its third year, and its purpose is to increase the number of diverse individuals entering the sports industry. The program has been successful through its first two years and has allowed fellows to secure full-time employment after completing it.
HSG is pleased to welcome Jabez Berniard, Sydney Dzenutis, Roland Herndon and Nayeli Pozuelos as fellows for this year. They will be assigned to various departments within the Browns and Columbus Crew organizations.
Roland Herndon wants to fix soccer associations in African Nations
Herndon's career aspiration is to become an in-house legal counsel for a major sports team or league. This interest grew from his passion for reading contracts that ensure smooth business transactions.
"My dream job would be to one day help fix many of the footballing (soccer) associations in African Nations," Herndon said. "As the continent is a hotbed for talent yet loses millions of players to their European counterparts."
This opportunity to join HSG means a lot to Herndon on both a personal and professional level.
"Being selected for this fellowship feels like a testament to the value of my work in the past and the future potential I possess in the sport industry," Herndon said. "It signifies a recognition of my abilities and accomplishments, which is incredibly rewarding and boosts my confidence."
Herndon was born in Windsor, Canada. He lived there for six years before moving to Detroit, Michigan, where he resided for 11 years. In 2017, he relocated to Columbus. He played soccer for 17 years and won two conference championships in Division III at John Carroll.
Nayeli Pozuelos wants to grow women sports
Pozuelos is a first-generation child of Guatemalan immigrants. She was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college.
While attending Ball State, she pursued a degree in marketing with the aspiration of making a positive impact on women's sports in America.
"I would love to eventually work with the NWSL to further grow women's soccer here in the United States," Pozuelos said. "My main goal is to have a fulfilling career where I advocate for female athletes across the country, with the hopes of reaching international markets and ultimately growing womens sports across the world. "
This fellowship means a lot to Pozuelos as it will bring her one step closer to achieving her goals by providing her with valuable experience in the sports industry.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to step foot within the sports industry and gain valuable experience with the Haslam Sports Group," Pozuelos said.
Sydney Dzenutis wants to lead groups through creative design
Dzenutis was born and raised in Norfolk, Connecticut, and attended Franklin & Marshall College where she participated in track and cross-country events and set several school records. She now aspires to become a chief marketing officer of a professional sports team.
"I have strong aspirations to lead groups through the creative design processes as well as handling the analytical information to help make the best decisions for the team and the fans," Dzenutis said.
She is thrilled to become a part of HSG, not only to acquire knowledge but to connect with people who share similar interests.
"The mentorship structure of this program will allow me to gain a more personal connection with established professionals so early in my career to help me navigate this fellowship as well as future experiences," she said.
Jabez Berniard has eyes on becoming a leader in communications
Berniard hails from New Orleans, but she spent her formative years in the Baton Rouge region. She received her education from Loyola University New Orleans. Her ultimate career aspiration is to serve as a creative or communications director for a major corporation.
"Sports teams and groups hold a unique position in their respective communities as pillars of culture, and I'm looking forward to helping create the voice behind the brand as a way to connect teams with their fans," Berniard said.
She aims to utilize this fellowship opportunity to expand her professional network and gain hands-on experience working in sports communication. Berniard is the first woman in her family to have graduated from college.
"Being accepted into a fellowship as unique as this one is a big moment for my family," she said. "No one has ever moved away from home, so it's nice to be in a new state miles away from Baton Rouge."