Highlighting Women in Sports: Katherine Benhardt
Katherine Benhardt, a St. Louis native raised in Kansas City, who now works for the Baltimore Orioles and a seasonal edit runner for CBS Sports NFL Today, gives us a little insight to her experience as working as a woman in sports. Katherine began playing basketball at a young age and was her main focus growing up although she participated in volleyball, cross country, track and field, CrossFit and even the rowing team during her freshman year of college. During her junior year of high school, Katherine joined a broadcast journalism class which introduced her to her love of being in front of the camera and talking about sports. The class made her realize that if she worked in sports, it wouldn’t be just a career but something she loved to do. Katherine then attended Kansas State University and obtained a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Leadership Studies.
I got the opportunity to work with Katherine at K-State HDTV and have followed her career as she continues to advance. I also am grateful for the opportunity to ask Katherine the following questions and get more insight into her world!
1. Over your career, from college to now working with the Baltimore Orioles, what has been the most memorable moment for you?
“I think one memorable moment that I have had was working a Flo-Rida concert after an Orioles game in 2022. The Orioles game that day was so exciting and ending the day with the Flo-Rida concert was so fun. My transition from being a senior in college working for K-State HDTV to moving to Baltimore to work for the Orioles all happened so quickly. On this day, I remember feeling so thankful and grateful that I made the leap of faith to move to Baltimore and accept the Game Presentation assistant job. It has allowed me to grow as a person and gain so much more experience working in sports. While also being able to meet so many amazing people and make many amazing memories, like working at the Flo-Rida concert”
2. Throughout your career who have been some people that have influenced you and your career the most?
“I am lucky that the job I had in high school, college and now have introduced me to many amazing people and mentors. I am blessed that I have had amazing bosses that saw my potential and helped shape me into the person I am today. I am very driven and hard-working, and the bosses I have, especially in college and now, helped me navigate the sports world and helped teach me and equip me with the skills to be successful. They have helped make my goals and dreams attainable by showing me the way, believing in me and supporting me.”
3. As a woman in sports, what are some challenges you face?
“As a woman in sports, a challenge I face is feeling like I have to go above and beyond the job description to prove to men that I know how to do my job and that I am capable of working in sports. I have been given a lot of unsolicited advice from men about what I should wear, how I should talk, literally how I should walk etc., to succeed. I have had to deal with some pretty nasty comments and situations. It can make me really sad because I know how discouraging it can be for me to go through those things, and I would never want other women to go through that. There are so many women before me that have helped pave the way and that are great role models. I strive to be strong and try to help other women in sports around me block out the noise and help lift them up.”
4. What are your goals within your career?
“Right now, my career goal is to continue to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. I want to continue to build off the experience and skills I currently have while also learning more aspects of working in sports that I don’t know yet. I like to absorb as much information as I can and learn as many aspects of different job positions in sports as I can. So that I can continue to grow and be an asset in the job position I am working.”
5. What is the best thing or your favorite part about your job?
“My favorite part about working as a Game Presentations Assistant for the Baltimore Orioles is that I can interact with so many amazing people and fans. I am used to working behind the scenes or on the sideline, so my time with the Orioles has been so exciting because I get to help ensure the fans leave the ballpark with a fun and memorable experience. My favorite part about working with CBS Sports NFL Today has been that it has allowed me to continue to grow my knowledge of football and get a better understanding of the work that goes into producing the show each week.”
6. What advice do you have for women/girls wanting to pursue a career in sports?
“One of my biggest pieces of advice for women/girls wanting to pursue a career in sports is to say yes to opportunities. I remember starting out my freshman year of college with the only goal of being a sideline reporter for the K-State HDTV. I eventually became a sideline reporter, but along the way I also learned different production positions in the control room and became a videographer for the K-State Athletic teams. After I decided to say yes to any opportunity that came my way, big or small, I started to become equipped with so many skills and experiences that helped my confidence when it was time to apply for jobs during my senior year of college as I was getting ready to graduate.”
7. Do you have favorite sports or sports to work?
“Basketball has always been my favorite sport to work because I played basketball growing up and it is the sport I understand the most. But I have also really grown to love baseball and football after working at K-State. And now, working for the Orioles and the NFL has been so exciting. Over the last five years, I have gained a lot more appreciation for these other amazing sports that I did not know as much about when I was growing up.
8. On your Instagram, I see you have traveled a lot. What is your favorite place to visit and what is a place still on your bucket list?
“I love to travel and explore in my free time. My favorite place to visit is New York City. I love the city and there is always so much to do when I visit. On one visit to NYC, my mom and I went to a concert at the Barclays Center, saw a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, went to see a musical and more. And then, my mom and I visited NYC again with my older sister for Thanksgiving and saw the Macy’s Day Parade in person, went to see Wicked and more. There is never a dull moment in NYC and always something to do, which I love! I feel like traveling to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Paris, and Santorini would be amazing!
9. Besides working in sports, you host a podcast on mental health. What was your motivation to create this and how are you using your platform to share awareness of mental health?
“My motivation to create my podcast was to open up about my depression and anxiety. It was a way for me to start working through my past trauma and be more vulnerable. I try to use my podcast to help end the stigma surrounding mental health and well-being and help people remember that it is okay not to be okay. My main message is that your life has value. I can’t stress it enough! Depression and anxiety can take us to some dark places, but never lose hope. My podcast is a way to be transparent, speak my truth and talk about my experiences.”
It was amazing to get to talk to Katherine about her experiences and how she continues to help break through barriers for women working in sports. This industry is not always the kindest to women, but seeing people like Katherine who have truly shown up and proved their worth makes me confident that more will follow. To follow along to Katherine’s journey, follow her on Instagram @_katibendhardt_ and to listen to her podcast check it out at https://anchor.fm/katherine-benhardt/episodes/Ep--1-Transparent-eg4vdb