Took My Talents to South Beach


¡Bienvenido a Miami!

I am a “native transplant.” I was born in Miami, lived in Northern Virginia for almost 20 years and then came back to my birthplace to try something new!

After graduating from U.Va. in 2009, I moved back to my hometown of Arlington and worked at LivingSocial for a few years during its startup days. I met absolutely incredible people there from around the country and always laughed when I told people where I was from. Most every conversation went:

New friend: “I’m from _____. Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m actually from Arlington.”

New friend: “Wow really? I haven’t met anyone from here.”

Me: “I’m lucky to be the first!”

New friend: “It’s funny, I never really thought about people actually being from Arlington.”

Entering my mid-twenties, I wanted to experience being the “new girl,” the new girl from out of town and exploring a new city. So, I packed up my bags and headed down to Miami. Living in Miami only until the age of 7 didn’t really count, but I liked the little sense of security moving back to the city where my parents met and got married and where my brother and I were born.

My first few months in Miami were a little tough – it was a culture shock from Northern Virginia/Washington, DC. However, a little networking went a long way and connected me with a year-long internship position on the Digital & Social Media team of the Miami Marlins. Let’s just say, this year has been a whirlwind!

I took on an internship at age 27 because with full-time, permanent work experience under my belt, I felt this opportunity was the best way to continue learning more about the uncharted waters of the digital and social media world. Not only was this opportunity too good to pass up, but I saw it as my own version of graduate school. And could anything beat interning at a Major League Baseball team that has already won two World Series trophies since its inception in 1993? Working in sports was a dream I never thought would come true!

From Spring Training, to working 81 games at Marlins Park, including 11 walk-off wins, to winning 15 more games from the previous season, to the signing of Giancarlo Stanton to North America’s largest sports contract in history (a whopping $325 million!), this has been an exceptional year for this young franchise.

I’ve gotten more out of my internship with the Marlins than I could have ever imagined. Not only have I learned the ins and out of digital marketing and social media in professional sports; I have met and made wonderful friendships with my coworkers, and I also have learned more about the incredibly philanthropic community and the booming metropolis of Miami.

My work with the Marlins has shown me the endless potential that Miami has to offer and the perfect spot to quench my thirst for continuing my education, immersing myself in philanthropy and building my business connections across the city. My best advice? Be curious, follow your gut and seek to be the “new girl” in any situation. You never know what you’ll learn about a new community, friend, or even yourself, and you never know where it will lead you!

Living in Miami has made me an even prouder alumna of Mr. Jefferson’s University. His doctrine of continuing education throughout one’s life is my daily mantra. I continue to do anything and everything I can to immerse myself in Miami, and I’m very fortunate for the connections and friendships I’ve made with the Marlins this year as they have helped me follow those ideals and made my experience as the “new girl” unforgettable.

Post by Danielle Needles (CLAS ’09)


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