USF Bolsters Warriors’ Strength in Numbers

By ED CARPENTER, USF NEWS Posted Fri, 06/10/2016 - 09:52

Golden State Warriors fans will be pleased to learn that the team’s strength in numbers approach is bolstered by a team-sized contingent of USF alumni who work for the championship-winning organization in a range of essential positions. 

USFers help coordinate media coverage, cater to corporate clients’ luxury suite needs, and build partnerships with local leaders to ensure a smooth move to San Francisco beginning in the 2019–20 season. 

Working for the Warriors

Join USF alumni in Oakland June 14 for an insider's view on how marketing, community relations, and customer service support the team.

Among the alums working for the Warriors are Natalie Bohonsky MA ’15, a game night public relations assistant; Sebastian Conn MoPA ’16, public affairs coordinator; Joel Keylon MA '15, partnership development coordinator; and Paul Ratner MA ’08, director of suite and hospitality solutions. Urban affairs student Theo Ellington MA ’16 is the Warriors' director of public affairs. 

Giving back to USF

“It's all been so surreal, just being at all the games this season and witnessing history. It’s something I'll never forget,” says Bohonsky, who also does marketing for Pac-12 Networks and public relations for the San Francisco 49ers. She credits Master of Arts in Sport Management connections with opening doors to jobs in the industry. 

Ratner, a self-described people person, started at the Warriors as a sport management intern and was hired full-time. After a stint with the PGA Tour, he returned to the Warriors in 2012 and now helps companies host events in the team’s luxury suites during games.

He’s even returned to USF to teach a class to up-and-coming sport management students. “It was really rewarding to give back to the university in some way,” says Ratner, who emphasized the program’s flexible schedule for those who work full-time. 

Taking a hands-on approach

Conn, a public affairs coordinator who also started as a student intern before joining full time, spent much of last year educating San Francisco leaders and residents about the advantages of the Warriors’ new arena in Mission Bay. In December 2015, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the arena development. 

The Master of Public Affairs program alum credits USF with preparing him for his role. 

“My program really took a hands-on approach to teaching students about the intricacies and nuances of government in San Francisco,” he says. “I wasn’t just in the classroom reading a textbook. My colleagues and I were on the campaign trail, attending hearings at City Hall, and meeting individuals that do crucial advocacy work.”

“Attending the 2015 championship parade with my parents was the most outstanding experience I have had so far working for the Warriors,” says Keylon, a sport management alum who chose the program because it put him at the center of one of the hottest sports markets in the country. “It was the sum of a lot of time and hard work combined into one celebration. I hope we can do it again this year.”

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