Proactive Approach Nets Alum Dream Job

Elizabeth Smith loves her job.

As an executive assistant for Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (LHMSE), the 2014 recreation management grad works with the senior vice president over tickets, suites, and clubs as well as with the vice president of finance. She manages special projects, attends meetings with executives, analyzes financial statements, and prepares proposals for presentations for the president, among other responsibilities.

“I want to work at this organization for the rest of my life,” she says. “I love it.”

Smith credits her Marriott School education for giving her credibility as a job applicant and feels what she learned in the Tanner Building continues to have a positive impact in her work today.

“Having that foundation from the Marriott School is probably the most important thing for me in my career,” she says.

Her proactive approach also helped pave the way for her to land her dream job.

During her time at BYU, Smith networked the “old-school way,” building most of her relationships in person. One important connection was with adjunct professor Justin Durfey, now the director of special events at BYU. When Durfey told his class of his experiences as director of the Jazz ticket office, he found a ready follower in Smith.

“I was annoying,” Smith says. “I was obsessed. I stayed after class and I came early so I could talk to him. I’d go to his office to chat with him. He was so gracious and so helpful.” Durfey became an important mentor for Smith and helped her land her first job with LHMSE as a premium seat coordinator.

Other courses offered by the department of recreation management were also valuable for Smith in her career, though like many students she occasionally wondered if the assignments and projects would be applicable in the real world.

“They apply like you never could have imagined,” she says.

For example, the program teaches students how to create meaningful experiences by building relationships. As an executive assistant, Smith focuses on building relationships with clients and coworkers—a crucial aspect of her work.

“This is likely the most valuable idea I gleaned from my education at BYU—to build trust, respect, and honest interest in my relationships to create stronger bonds with everyone in my life,” Smith says.