When Kaylee Golden went to St. Ambrose University, she intended to be an occupational therapist.
The Hall graduate changed her major twice in college before settling on strategic communications, which led her to a job she loves.
Golden is the community relations and fan engagement manager for the Quad City River Bandits, a Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros in Davenport, Iowa. She interned for the team while in college before getting hired full time in May 2018.
The NewsTribune caught up with Golden to discuss her long hours and many duties, the flooding that has affected the team and living in the Quad Cities after growing up in Hollowayville.
NewsTribune: What are your duties?
Golden: I guess in general with minor league baseball everyone has a part in everything, but my main duties are I’m community relations and fan engagement manager so I handle all of our donations and charitable stuff as well as our social media. I also handle a little bit of sales on top of that.
NT: What do you have do for social media? What’s your strategy for that?
Golden: My strategy I’ve kind of created is I want to make it a more personal relationship between the team and the community — making it a more humanized interaction between us and them. Making people realize we’re people too and kind of giving them a look more at our players’ lives than what they’re doing at the plate or on the field.
NT: What have been some of your top things you’ve done on social media that have drawn a lot of interest or that you’re really proud of?
Golden: It’s been a pretty crazy year up here with all the flooding. It was bittersweet but one of our most publicized photos we’ve ever had is one I took of the ballpark from the Centennial bridge looking down at the flooding surrounding the ballpark. That one was pretty amazing to see in the worst way I guess. Also recently we had a pretty cool post where we put snapback glasses on one of our players while he was in the dugout. He’s a goofy dude so he kind of commented on what was going on in the game. We got to see kind of an inside look at what the players do in the dugout in the middle of the game. We posted that video and it got a decent amount of attention and Minor League Baseball. That was pretty cool. The flooding has definitely been a huge draw for our social media. For me its cool for the numbers but it has definitely not been worth it overall.
NT: How has the flooding affected your job?
Golden: We’ve been displaced from the office three to four times. We were working from the downtown YMCA in a conference room — all of us kind of stuck together. We’ve worked in local coffee shops — anywhere we can find Wifi to continue what we were doing. It’s definitely been trying because there was a ton of stuff we had planned for the first few months of the season that we didn’t get a chance to see come to fruition. Things that were canceled that we spent the whole offseason planning, so it’s definitely been trying in that aspect trying to reschedule everything and trying to figure out how we’re going to go about a refund and certain things like that. Overall, we’ve been really lucky. The community has been really supportive. It’s been stressful for sure. We’ve lost a lot of sleep, but it’s finally receding and we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been quite the challenge. It felt like every time we were knocked down we were thrown another punch, but I think we’re finally clear after this last crest. Hopefully, that’s the last one for the summer that causes any sort of problems.
NT: Do you attend all the games?
Golden: I’m here all the time pretty much. I call this my second home. We work regular business hours 9-5 in the office and we are here for every single game so there are days we’re here at 9 a.m. and we’re here until the game ends at night at 11, so it’s definitely a demanding job when it comes to hours and time, but you’re also working at a baseball field and getting a chance to experience something a lot of people would dream of doing so there’s definitely a give and a take to it. It’s worth it at the end of the day.
NT: In the offseason do you work less hours?
Golden: We get 9-5 during the offseason. We have pretty great management here where we get a rotating day off every week so we have four-day work weeks to make up for the time we spend here during the season and give us a little bit more of a chance to be human beings.
NT: How did you get involved with the River Bandits internship?
Golden: When I was a junior in college at St. Ambrose, a friend of mine had worked part time here and he told me there was an opening for an internship. On a whim I applied, went in and interviewed and ended up getting it. The second I started I fell in love with it. Ever since then I was looking for positions in minor league baseball my whole senior year of college. I was lucky enough to have a position open up here in the position I interned for and took over in May 2018 two days after I graduated.
NT: Did you go to college looking to get into sports?
Golden: I did not actually. I came into college intending to be an occupational therapist. I switched my major to political science pre-law then ended up changing to a strategic communications major with minors in journalism and radio and TV. I kind of went all over the board. I always loved sports. I grew up playing in the Illinois Valley. I grew up watching sports. It was always something I loved but I didn’t really know there was this whole behind the scenes of social media and sales and things that could give me an opportunity to work in sports even though I wasn’t an athlete.
NT: Do you hope to stay in baseball or sports down the road?
Golden: Yeah, I love it. It’s very trying but so rewarding. You get to meet so many people. There’s just such a connection people have with sports. In this day and age lot of times we’re missing out on having friendly interactions, but sports seem to be one thing that bring it out amongst everyone. I hope to stay in it as long as I can whether it’s baseball or ends up being a different sport. I’ll probably end up staying in this industry even with as crazy as it is.
NT: What do you like about living in the Quad Cities?
Golden: I grew up in Hollowayville. The first time I went to the Quad Cities was when I visited St. Ambrose and I decided immediately I wanted to come here. Since then I’ve fallen in love with the Quad Cities. It’s big enough that there’s enough to do around here but it’s also small enough where you feel comfortable walking at night and feel comfortable going out and doing things. It’s definitely an up and coming area and we’re seeing so much growth and so much unique stuff happening here. It’s really drawing a young crowd. It’s definitely an area to keep an eye on because you can see it improving every day. People are coming here to start businesses and raise their families. It’s definitely a really cool area to be in right now.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.