Dallas Cowboys sideline reporter Kristi Scales planned on being a teacher after graduating from Texas A&M.
The only reason she got involved in radio was because she needed a part-time job for the summer.
“I was hired by them (KVIL) with no experience,” Scales said Tuesday during a talk she gave about her career at Martin Hall. “I’d never had a broadcasting class or a journalism class.”
A year later, Scales said, KVIL signed with the Cowboys and she moved into the positon of sports producer for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network.
“I’m sorry that I’m not the best example for career day where you know what you want to do, take the classes, intern, and do all that,” Scales said. “The bottom line is that that life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans.”
Scales’ presentation, “A New Ballgame: Women In Sports Media,” was sponsored by the Goostree Women’s Symposium and Marjorie Herrera Lewis Speaker Series. Sports anchor Scott Murray was the master of ceremonies, and the event at Martin Hall was followed by a lunch at Lou’s Place.
“For me it’s fun to be in a setting like this, a symposium, where you have more time and you can be a little more expansive,” Scales said. “(As a sideline reporter) you have to do your homework and know all your facts and be able to get them out very quickly on the broadcast.”
Scales said her favorite part of the event was the Q&A because she enjoys sharing her story with people that are interested in it and seeing their responses.
“I was really pleased with the number of people that came to the symposium,” Scales said. “I thought it was a great mixture of alumni, staff and professors, but I was particularly pleased with how many students came to listen to the message and hopefully learn some stuff that we old folks have gone through.”
Scales said the most important thing in media today other than having skills is having relationships with people.
“The way to get that foot in the door of media is to start off with an internship or a co-op program,” Scales said. “That way not only are you learning the discipline but you’re establishing relationships. That’s the key thing.”
Scales said the way to be open to opportunities is to be able to use your “fear as motivation to work harder to compete.”
“I would have tried so many different things but I didn’t because I was scared,” Scales said. “I didn’t want to fail or let anybody down and you just can’t do that. It’s hard to put yourself out there but you have to put yourself out there to take that next step to the next thing.”
When it came to women in football, Scales said for her generation and older “it never occurred to me women could work in football” beyond being cheerleaders. In 2017 the standard of women in football has changed.
“There’s so many women that work in sports now and it’s not just marketing and communications,” Scales said. “I would say at least half of the employees at The Star in Frisco are female.”
Scales said she still has to deal with the “so you like football?” question sometimes, whereas her male colleagues in the media never do. The way she deals with this is being knowledgeable and having a support system.
“It’s all about surrounding yourself with the right people and the right support staffing and asking questions,” Scales said. “Let them know that you’re there to do your job.”
Junior criminal justice major Melissa Torres was excited to hear someone speak about women being empowered and was really impressed by the speech.
“I thought it was very well put,” Torres said. “I think often it’s harder for women to be comfortable working outside of their career or where it’s mostly male dominated. She is an inspiration, honestly.”
Both Torres and Liz Bridges, collection management librarian and assistant director of West Library, agree that their favorite part of the speech was about how Scales didn’t know she was going to end up with her current career.
“For her she wasn’t really looking to be in the field where she ended up, but she just worked hard at what she did and life just took her where she needed to be,” Bridges said. “I think that is so true for everyone. Even with the best intentions of what we want to do, you never really know what opportunities are going to be given to you and the direction your life is going to go.”