Marketing major collaborates with mayor at hockey internship 


By Abby Stoudt, Marketing and Communications Assistant

BLOOMSBURG — When Anthony Zola attended the Philadelphia 76ers Sports and Entertainment Career Fair in March, he knew it was going to be difficult to stand out in the crowd of job and internship seekers. But, after connecting with a minor league hockey team whose royal purple and silver lion stood out to him, Zola, a senior marketing major from Harrisburg, spent his summer with the Reading Royals.  

“There were several major league teams there, and everyone was trying to talk with them and make a lasting impression—it isn’t easy to stand out in that big of a crowd. It’s quality over quantity,” Zola said. “I had a very nice conversation with the Royals staff, and we made a good connection. The supervisor then told me that if I applied, I would be in. It seemed like it would be a great place to work.” 

With the Royals, Zola’s primary responsibilities included selling ticket plans and planning theme nights. Planning a Latino Heritage Night gave Zola the opportunity to meet and work with the mayor of Reading. “Mayor Eddie Moran is the first Latino mayor of Reading and also a season ticket holder, so he was thrilled to help us,” Zola remarked. “He gave us some of his contacts to reach out to and reached out to other people he knew. He was fully invested in helping us make Latino Heritage Night happen. When I started my internship, I wasn’t expecting to talk to or even build a relationship with the mayor of Reading.”  

Meeting new people was Zola’s favorite part of his internship. “I was able to meet and speak with all types of people. They ranged from the mayor to a family with six kids, Royals superfans, and people who had no idea who the team was! I was also very fortunate to work with an incredible group of interns,” said Zola. “We all just wanted to see each other be successful.”  

Working with the Royals wasn’t all fun and games, however. “I learned very quickly that sales is hard. No one prepares you for the constant rejection, the ignored calls, getting hung up on, and the lack of responses,” said Zola. “You must roll with the punches, and something will eventually go your way. You just have to keep grinding and never give up.”  

“At the start of my internship, it was not going well. I was discouraged and wanted to quit. But, as soon as I asked for help from my supervisor, it all started to click,” Zola continued. “He noticed I was struggling and stressed out and pulled me aside to talk about my worries and concerns. He said I was new to sales, and everyone struggles when they first start in this field but, they all find their groove eventually.”  

“I learned that most people are willing to help if you just reach out for help. I used to be a lone wolf, but I learned that that wouldn’t work in the professional world.”  

After graduation, Zola plans to continue to work in the sports industry in sales. “The Royals gave me an opportunity to learn from industry professionals in a field I’ve never felt comfortable in,” said Zola. “My internship experience put some new confidence in me, not just as a professional, but in everyday life.”