Zoe Harmon ’16 is enjoying a successful career. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from Graceland University, Harmon began her career with Reno 1869 FC of the United Soccer League and then stepped into the big leagues when she joined the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) in 2019. She capped her tenure with the Dodgers just as they won the 2020 World Series. This year, Harmon has joined the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, recognizing the value of being closer to family and friends.
Harmon points to a moment at Graceland that led to her success in professional sports. During a winter term, shadowing the Milwaukee Bucks marketing department, Harmon was asked to keep a journal and was asked what she thought of her experience. Her response: “This is what I want to do. I want to start my career in sports.” Harmon immediately changed her major from psychology to sport management. The following winter term, she interned with a professional soccer team in Milwaukee and took advantage of opportunities on campus to work closely with Graceland Athletics.
Harmon appreciated the tight-knit nature of Graceland’s community and relationships with her professors. “I had several classes with Max Pitt, and he came to really know me, exactly how to push me, what to say. Your mentors can’t carry you, but they can teach you how to encourage and push yourself to be successful.”
After Graceland, Harmon continued to seek out community in her career. She found business resource groups, which exist in response to social injustices in business around the world. Harmon was moved by participant’s passion behind the wage gap, LGBTQ rights, and underrepresentation in the workplace for women and people of color. The advocacy groups she’s joined bring issues in professional sports to the forefront and provide a platform of support. Harmon has developed her own passion and enjoys contributing to these and other causes through her new communities. “I got to know so many wonderful people through these groups, who I felt like I could learn from.”
“How did you get that job?!”
“A Graceland student asked me if I knew anyone at the Dodgers. Honestly, I didn’t. I applied through TeamWork Online (a national job board for career opportunities in sports). I had a decent resume, was well-spoken, and I knew the values I could bring to an organization like the Dodgers. Organizations are always looking to improve, and I apparently made solid points that made them feel I could help them do that,” she said.
“Graceland teaches you and challenges you to find yourself and what you have to offer. Being able to communicate that to people will make them want to hire you.”
Harmon’s advice to students: Be yourself. “If you give pageantry answers, you’re going to be pushed to the side. If you can really identify yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses, that is what can make you stand out compared to someone who went to a bigger school.”
Harmon has much to look forward to in her career with the Grizzlies. “I’m excited to start something new. My coworkers are full of hope. One of my favorite parts of my career is moving to places I’ve never been. Moving to Graceland was the start of that passion.”