Dream Job

Kayla Blake always knew she wanted to work in the fast-paced, high-energy world of sports.

From an early age, sports were a huge part of her life and a driving force behind many of her career aspirations. Some of her earliest memories involve sitting in the stands at Joan C. Edwards Stadium – no matter the team and no matter the weather – eating popcorn and taking in every moment of Thundering Herd football alongside her father.

In fact, memories like that helped lead her down the path she is on today.

“I knew early on I wanted to be a part of the action in the sports world,” Blake said. “My dad and I would attend all of the Marshall sporting events from when I was only 8-weeks-old. Those are some of the strongest memories I have of my childhood.”

From sitting in the stands watching collegiate athletics to serving as one of the youngest sales executives in the country for a major Division 1 program, Blake has seen a meteoric rise in her career.

Blake is currently the Director of Sales at the University of Miami, a position she took over in January of 2020. Blake is responsible for managing the ticket sales department and assisting in new sales initiatives for Hurricane athletics. Before joining UM, Blake was the Senior Account Executive at the Orange Bowl Committee from April 2017 to early this year. Prior to that, Blake worked in sales for the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Beng

During her time with the Orange Bowl Committee, Blake began as an account executive before fast tracking up the ladder to a position helping manage the sales team for one of the largest collegiate bowl games in the country.

In January, 25-year-old Blake took on a new challenge as the Director of Sales at the University of Miami, handling tickets sales for football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.

“I am actually one of the youngest in all of collegiate athletics to hold this position. As the Director of Sales, I am responsible for running a sales team for four premier sports in the ACC,” Blake said. “One of the things I love most about what I do is being able to help fans experience memories at sporting events with their families and friends.”

It has been quite the ride for Blake from her humble beginnings in Huntington to the hustle-and-bustle of life at a major athletic program in Miami, Florida. Growing up not far from Marshall’s campus, Blake graduated from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management and Marketing in 2016, never dreaming where her degree would take her.

“I grew up in Huntington and always wanted to attend Marshall. When I received the Promise Scholarship, that made my decision even easier,” Blake said.

While there were numerous individuals that helped shape her time at Marshall, she credits Dr. Jennifer Mak and Dr. Gary McIlvain as major influences in her path to southern Florida.

“They helped me so much along my career, especially after college,” Blake said. “They have stayed in touch and really helped me grow as a person and professional. They helped me with all of the skills I needed to be successful.

“Marshall really helped me in many ways. Through internships and learning how the sports world works, I learned a lot of skills to be successful in the corporate world.”

In addition to her professional successes, the self-described avid volunteer recently received the James T. Barker Volunteer Leader of the Year award in her community and was a finalist for the Executive Star Award for professionals under the age of 40 in the Miami area, showcasing all that she does behind the scenes as well as in her profession.

“I was elected as the Coral Gables Chamber Person of the Year, an award given to individuals who show they are engaging in their career, but also willing to lend a hand to anyone in the community,” Blake said. “I love to volunteer with my Ladies Ledger networking group and I am super involved with my church. I love being able to give back and take great pride in what I do. Other than that, you can catch me at a country concert or sporting event.”

Growing up a fan of the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants and recalling dozens of special moments in the history of Marshall University athletics, from those early years sitting beside her father in the stands to storming the field during her college years following Marshall’s 2014 Conference USA Championship, Marshall University has been a special part in Blake’s life and helped shape who she is today.

“Marshall has been a huge part of my life – from college to attending athletic events,” Blake said. “I am proud of all that I have accomplished in my career thus far and look forward to where the future takes me.