This past Friday, I had the incredible opportunity to talk to Monica Bradburn about her experience working in sports. Monica is a Live Content Creator (LCC) for Major League Baseball (Detroit Tigers) and a Live Social Contributor (LSC) for the National Hockey League (Detroit Red Wings).
Monica graduated from Central Michigan University (CMU) with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in photojournalism. She worked for the student newspaper, Central Michigan Life, and held positions as staff photographer, assistant photo editor, and photo editor. During the summer of 2016, Monica was a photo intern for University Communications at CMU. From spring 2017 until graduation, she worked as a sports photographer for Central Michigan University Athletics.
During the summer of 2017, Monica worked as a media intern for the Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center at Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward, Alaska. Her job included capturing photo & video of “Changing Tides'' a research project about coastal brown bears & intertidal invertebrates. This included bear observations and bear captures.
In 2019 Monica was located in Tempe, Arizona where she worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a photography intern. As a photography intern, she photographed signage around the ballpark, off-site community events, pre-game, and the game in general. Being located in Arizona meant being away from her family & Monica found herself becoming homesick. So while working for the Diamondbacks, she networked. Through networking, she met an LCC that worked for the MLB. Monica was able to apply for an LCC position with the MLB that next January and got the job.
While working forMLB she made connections with people who worked in the NHL. Many people who work in sports also work for other leagues as well. Through those connections she was able to land the position of an LSC for the NHL. Monica has now been working in the MLB for 5 years and the NHL for 3 years.
Over the last couple of years Monica has been able to pick up skills that have helped her in her career. One of these skills is videography. She’s been able to teach herself video skills so that she can shoot video better. Monica also likes to challenge herself to shoot more videos.
The reason Monica fell in love with sports was the challenge of getting the shot. It takes a lot of skill to get an amazing shot in sports and that’s something she looked forward to. “There's just nothing like it. The feeling of “oh my god I captured this moment forever. I’m capturing history.”
Monica’s biggest inspiration in the sports world is Allison Farrand, the Lead Photographer for the Tigers & Red Wings. With how cutthroat this job can be, it's valuable to have a relationship where we can support each other and hype each other up.
Monica has gained a huge following on social media where she posts videos such as photographing team arrivals & day in the life of an LCC. She started her TikTok journey because her younger cousin suggested it. Her videos started to gain so much popularity that she would get recognized at games. Monica talked about how cool it is to see the reach that social media has and how amazing it is to see people appreciate what she does. Monica’s videos have even reached the wives of the players she photographs. She said that she’s gained a lot of respect from both the players, their wives, and families. A lot of the players want to be in the videos and their families love it because they get to see a different side of their loved ones.
Though posting on social media means that there are people who leave hate comments, Monica is able to laugh them off and doesn’t let it affect her. “I know my heart and I know my intentions”
Working in both the MLB and NHL, Monica is able to connect with many other amazing women. Something special about this year was that when she worked the World Series & both teams had female team photographers. It is nice to see that the industry is growing for women.
Some advice Monica has for readers is “Keep believing in yourself and keep following your dreams. Don't let people around you tell you what you should or shouldn't do, because only you know what is best for you. Your passions lie where they lie. If you have a dream and drive, then do it. Keep building that portfolio, keep your skills fresh. Apply for jobs even if you don’t think you’re qualified for it. Let them decide if you are qualified or not. It’s like trying on clothes, it doesn’t cost anything to try. Know your talents and know your worth. Make friends in the industry and make connections. Make work a happy place.”
Monica’s story is an important takeaway for all women aspiring to get where she is, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to interview her.