Help Us Find A Unicorn

By Rick Hill
Valero Alamo Bowl 

The Valero Alamo Bowl wraps up each of our first round of internship interviews by instructing the candidate to “Ask us anything. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

The most common ones inquire about a typical daily schedule, our timetable for hiring and what full-time jobs past interns have landed.

This year, we learned there is actually such thing as a dumb question: “Where are you located?”

We had barely stopped laughing when it came time for our next candidate to ask a question.

He said: “This has been such a fun interview. You obviously have a strong culture. What skills should an intern wanting to make an impact in such an established workplace possess?”

That was the opposite of a dumb question. I talked about our culture and rattled off these key attributes:

  • Taking pride in putting out the highest quality work product possible
  • Showing initiative to tackle projects outside the scope of your position
  • Being the consummate team player to help the organization succeed

As I finished answering the question, it registered how much everything I said was embodied by the person sitting to my right, Valero Alamo Bowl Senior Manager, Events & Marketing Lara Smedley. However, this realization was quickly followed by a wave of sadness.

Ten years after starting as our public relations intern Lara is leaving the Valero Alamo Bowl to launch her own event production company that will operate in San Antonio and her hometown of Denver. Since I’ve never met anyone who can roll-up their sleeves and accomplish more, I know Smedley Events will be an epic success.

There is not one aspect of the Bowl that has not been tremendously improved by something she did with little or no fanfare.

In a testament to her selflessness, she timed her departure to happen in our off-season at a juncture of unprecedented stability in post-season college football as the Valero Alamo Bowl has title sponsor, TV partner and conference agreements through 2025. (Thank you Valero, ESPN and the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences!)

If you want a rock star event production company who can truly do it all, reach out to Lara.

And while it may be easier to find a unicorn, please forward this job posting to anyone you think could fill Lara’s shoes. Knowing Lara’s drive to make annual improvements, it is no surprise the job description has grown from two paragraphs to two pages over her tenure.

Good luck, Lara! Our organization was very fortunate to have you leading the charge on so many unforgettable events and marketing initiatives. You will always be a part of the Valero Alamo Bowl family.

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