Hayden Ellis, a senior Marketing major, knew that he wanted to give back to a program that made a significant impact on him.
“I have loved Auburn Football nearly since birth. Dad and I have had season tickets to Auburn home games my entire life, and I spent nearly every Saturday during the fall in Auburn. Once I got to college, I wanted to figure out a way I could make a positive impact on a program that’s had such a huge impact on my life.”
Ellis chose a major around a world that he loved and wanted to stay involved with. He saw his major as an opportunity to not only build relationships, but learn the needed skills for a lifelong career.
“I became interested in marketing primarily because it involves people,” Ellis said. “And you can also learn how to sell. I love interacting with and meeting new people, and marketing gives me that opportunity. I’ve heard my entire life that if you can sell, you can do anything because anywhere you go, you are always selling yourself.
His love for marketing shifted when he began working in the Athletic Department for football recruiting. Athletics was nothing new to Ellis. Growing up, sports had always pushed him to be his best, and he loved the way competing made him feel. Though he stepped away from Marketing applications, building relationships and selling remained common themes.
Ellis took the textbooks to the sidelines and began to apply his skills outside of the classroom to the field of athletics. He was still building relationships and selling, just to high school athletes instead of his college classmates.
As a recruiter, he spent time assisting personnel and recruiting operations staff on game day or large recruiting events. But after a year of persistence and hard work, Ellis was given an opportunity to become a student-worker with the Football Personnel staff.
“Working with the Player Personnel staff and making Auburn Football Recruiting as successful as possible has taught me more lessons than any job I’ve ever held,” Ellis said. “Learning how to balance a semester worth of college credit while putting in countless hours of work in the personnel office has given me a great idea of what it’s like to be organized and balanced in the real world.”
Being a student worker has helped Ellis understand his priorities as a student, as well as the direction he wants to take his career.
“I want to work in sports,” Ellis said, “whether that is operations, personnel, or administration. Through Player Personnel, I have realized what profession I am going to pursue once I graduate in May.”
He knows that he might not immediately land his dream job, but is willing to do what it takes to get there. He finds inspiration from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall, who, like Ellis, began his career as an intern.
“Sometimes in life your position isn’t always glamorous,” Ellis said, “but you have to pay your dues. Roger Goodell got an internship with the NFL by writing a letter to every NFL team and the league office. That led to an internship, which led to his first entry level position. People who come to work with a false sense of entitlement aren’t usually the ones who make it big.”
Ellis always knew he had a love for all things sports, but it wasn’t until he found a student internship that he realized he wanted to make a career out of it.
“Working in sports is stressful,” Ellis said, “and it’s clear that if you don’t produce, you’re gone. I love my job, and I understand that if I had a job like this for the rest of my life, I will wake up in the morning excited to go to work. That’s what is important to me, doing what I love.”