Pro sports professionals offer a look into their industry during Seattle pro sport panel


Jasmine Garza and Benjamin Visse discussing challenges in their careers, Photo courtesy of Jake Anderson

Anna Fridell, Staff Reporter

An audience of prospective sport industry minds gathered in Black Hall 151 on May 1 to hear the stories of Coordinator of Guest Experiences for the Seattle Mariners Jasmine Garza and Membership Sales Executive for the Seattle Sounders Football Club (FC) Benjamin Visse. 

Garza works for guest experiences for the Mariners, which assumes responsibility for creating unforgettable experiences for the fans, according to Garza. 

“What’s expected of me as a coordinator is we’ve really just tried to create those unforgettable experiences,” Garza said. “We’re dedicated to winning those championships, but we are also all about serving our community.” 

Visse’s role is to keep members engaged and buying tickets for Sounders FC events. High energy and genuine passion are key characteristics to his position, Visse said.

Garza said she learned early on from her parents and coaches that constant growth is the key to success.

“I’ve always taken on that mindset of if I work this model, or I did this, I’ve sacrificed this much or I put my energy into this, now tomorrow I need to either double that or maybe add 1%.” Garza said. 

Garza said their biggest career advice for the audience to remember was to not give up and to recognize that no job is beneath anyone. 

“Keep fighting, keep working, don’t give up,” Garza said. “I still look for opportunities, I’m still looking for community growth, I’m still looking for development, I’m still looking for leadership, because when you’re perfect and have everything checked off, you still have to learn and grow.”

When you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work, according to Garza. 

“There are lots of 10 games in a row one right after the other,” Garza said. “It gets repetitive and you might think that, but when you go into it with a new mindset of ‘I get to do this, I have an opportunity to do this,’ your mindset changes and you love what you do.” 

The sports industry was massively impacted by COVID-19 with lost seasons and a halt of ticket sales, but Seattle is on its way to doing great things for sports with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup coming to the city in 2026, according to Visse. 

“Every single star that you can think of is going to be coming to this city,” Visse said “We’re already a soccer-mad city, this is going to crank things up”

Seattle is on fire right now, according to Garza. Seattle teams have been making a statement with playoff runs and drought-ending seasons, garnering national attention. 

“If you look at the Seattle Mariners, we ended our drought last year and  everybody who has ever been a Seattle Mariners fan has known about this 20 year drought…Last year we ended up and solidified, ‘hey, we are a team and we have a statement to be made.” Garza said.

According to Garza, leading by example is an effective way of keeping everyone engaged and on the same page.

“I started to pick up on if I’m asking somebody to do this, I need to also then be out there and do it,” Garza said. “I’m not going to ask something of you if I wouldn’t do it myself.” 

CWU’s Sport Management Association Club (SMA) organized and hosted the panel for sport management students.

“I came to Central to sports management and have been on so many cool adventures by SMA,”, crowd member and senior sport management major Evelyn De Jesus said. “[The panel] gives you better insight of what really is out there.”

The panel was very informative, according to crowd member junior sport management major Jake Anderson.

“I thought it had a lot of interesting insights especially when they talk about how the sports industry is changing and how it has changed,” Anderson said. “Overall, I thought it was really an insightful and productive panel.”