Brandon's Blog: A Quick Start for New U-M Team Members
Dave Brandon

June 19, 2014

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

With a meeting room studded with new faces, excited and anxious to take on their new jobs at the University of Michigan Athletic Department, the New Hire Luncheon is an excellent way to get a quick jump out of the starting blocks for the rookies around the table.

This past Tuesday (June 17), just days after our MGoBlue Day when we reviewed the 2013-14 season and set forth our objectives and goals for the upcoming year with our entire U-M Athletic Department team, I had a chance to greet the new men and women on our team at the luncheon in the Champions Conference Room in Weidenbach Hall.

It is more than a perfunctory meeting for the new people on the block; it is an opportunity for all of us to connect. We get acquainted by sharing a little something about ourselves. It creates a bond with a new group that comes in together. They already have one thing in common: they all started at the same time. It is the impetus for future connections, and these connections can be critical.

It also gives me an opportunity to pull out the game plan. I can talk to them about our guiding principles, our mission, our expectations and how we think about ourselves as members of the University of Michigan Athletic Department team. Hopefully this meeting gives our new hires an understanding of their own roles, a sense of purpose, as they do their part to make the U-M Athletic Department go.

In today's world of intercollegiate athletics, there is little if any down time. It is a 24/7, 365-day job for everyone on staff. Coaches, administrators and staff travel more today than ever before. Recruiting, summer camps, speaking engagements, international and national competition take more time than ever before, and if we can't get our new hires in the room and on the same page quickly, we are behind right from the start.

The U-M Athletic Department of the 21st century is not just located at 1000 S. State Street anymore. We now have people stationed and working at various facilities spread around the entire South Campus.

This department is growing, and it is incumbent upon our talent department to schedule these meetings as soon as possible. Sometimes it might be just a few "rookies" and then, like this past week, we almost filled a room. Whatever the number of participants, this is a very important gathering. This is a heritage intercollegiate program. These new hires will help make this train run, and they have to make it run smoothly.

The New Hire Luncheon is also fun. With new coaches, trainers, admin and so many other different staff, there is amazing energy in the room. When anyone starts a new job, they are typically fired up and fun to be around. Then, when you have new team members at the University of Michigan Athletic Department, the excitement level moves up a couple more notches.

Many times, I ask a new hire, "How did you end up at the University of Michigan? What was the road that brought you to the Michigan Athletics? How did you hear about this opportunity and how did we hear about you?" And even after all the New Hire Luncheons we have held, I am still struck by the passion of everyone just for the chance to be a part of the University of Michigan Athletics team. When you hear the stories, how much it meant to an individual, how badly they wanted this opportunity, and how much they wanted to be connected to the work we do at U-M, it is still amazing.

Everybody wants a job and everybody looks for a job they have an interest in, but this is way beyond that. Some of the lengths that people go to, how hard they worked, and how they were stressed to get an opportunity to work at the Michigan Athletic Department is extraordinary.

Welcome to all of our new team members as we work to keep Michigan Athletics as Leaders and Best.

Go Blue!

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