December 4, 2019

From the SEC Career Tour: 7 Questions with Natalie Hinds

Former University of Florida swimmer is making a splash at Turner Broadcasting and as a 2020 Olympic Hopeful.
Former University of Florida swimmer is making a splash at Turner Broadcasting and as a 2020 Olympic Hopeful.

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

There is absolutely no way around it: finding a job can be difficult. There is background research for available positions to conduct; cover letters and resumes to polish; and interviews to perfect. Every step of the process can be daunting – especially for a recent graduate. That’s where the SEC steps in to help.

For the fourth time, the SEC Career Tour will provide 28 student-athletes with the opportunity to network with executives in the Atlanta area. In addition, participants will meet with former student-athletes and professionals to hear their words of wisdom. Among those former student-athletes is Natalie Hinds, a Florida swimmer turned Turner Broadcasting employee who parlayed her time on the career tour into an internship and then full-time role with Bleacher Report Live.

Keep reading to find out how her experiences on the tour, and as an SEC student-athlete, shaped her unique journey.

How did you learn about the SEC Career Tour?

In my fifth year [of undergraduate school at Florida], my academic advisors told me about the program and mentioned it would be a really good opportunity. All I had to do was fill out the application, so it seemed worth it. I wrote an essay stating my interest and took the opportunity to brag on myself. Thankfully, I was accepted, and even though I didn’t really know what to expect, I rolled with the punches. I soaked everything up while I was on the tour, and although I was mentally tired, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.

What was the most impactful part of the SEC Career Tour?

You’re being immersed in life after college for two and a half days to broaden your horizons. I thought I wanted to work in marketing, but I realized marketing isn’t one clear-cut job. I dipped my toes in and got to know more than one area that I found interesting. I remember touring a law firm and being floored that people worked in this cool high-rise building in downtown Atlanta. That particular company struck me because they built it from the ground up. The owners loved what they did, and they had a passion that I recognized and appreciated as an athlete.

What is your favorite memory of the SEC Career Tour?

I loved meeting all of the SEC student-athletes. Within two and a half days we got so comfortable with each other. I realized that we were all in the same boat – figuring out our next chapters and a little scared of the future. I saw that I wasn’t the only anxious person. I definitely made friends, and I still talk to some of the athletes I met.

How did you get a position with Turner Broadcasting?

During the tour, there was a panel at Turner Broadcasting. A few months later I saw an NCAA Postgraduate Internship opening there, and I reached out to the people I networked with during the tour. I searched LinkedIn for almost two hours to make sure I had the right names and contact information, so I wouldn’t have this job without the tour.

I spent my intern year building features in Turner’s March Madness app for 2017-2018. They didn’t have any positions when I finished my internship, but Bleacher Report Live was just starting up, so a few interns rolled over and started there. It worked perfectly.

How did the SEC Career Tour prepare you for that job at Turner?

I think I was prepared before the tour, but it definitely opened the door for me to meet people and find out what I like and what I’m good at. The tour showed me that I have the ability to find large corporations that meet my needs (and that I could meet theirs) and that I could join a team of 50 at Turner and make an impact in the world of athletics.

How have your experiences as an SEC Student-Athlete benefited you in your career?

The SEC has provided me with so much besides the tour. The way the Conference treats student-athletes is amazing, and I’m grateful for the start I had at Florida. I don’t think a lot of athletes appreciate that. I had help with academics, athletics, and post-grad support. Those little details really make this the best conference in the nation. The SEC is amazing, and if I could do it all over again, I absolutely would.

The SEC experience taught me to be on-time or early. It also gave me a sense of intensity that sometimes people haven’t cultivated without competition. When I started at Turner, little things that I worried about wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal to others – but I was aiming to be perfect. I didn’t want to be the last one to a meeting – especially as an intern. Also, I think I really learned how to ask the right questions as a student-athlete.

What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m fortunate enough to work for Turner while training for the Olympics. I’ve found something that I’m really good at on a personal and professional level, and I want to do it until I can’t anymore. Turner is incredible at allowing me to manage the two. I work remotely and it can be challenging to keep up when you aren’t there physically, but I try to join as many meetings as I can to stay in the loop. Ultimately, I’d like to still be swimming in five years. I thought I needed to get a job right out of school and give up my swimming aspirations. But, now that I’m doing it, I know I can do both.