Verona High School’s lacrosse players are now hard at work on their 2019 season. As they do so, they may be wondering about what will come next. Julieanne Mascera, VHS ’12 and a former Hillbilly lacrosse star, has some ideas.
After VHS, Mascera played lacrosse at Fairfield University, amassing a record of 75 goals and 23 assists. These days, she’s the digital marketing coordinator for Malka Sports, a sports marketing and representation agency based in Jersey City. But as she recently told the podcast “Well Played”, it wasn’t a straight line from college athlete to sports business career.
That’s partly because she didn’t think that she was destined for such a career. Mascera had envisioned her future as a teacher, and had majored in psychology and education at Fairfield. Her first tip for student athletes: “If you are looking at schools, make sure they have majors that you could see yourself doing.” Before she even graduated Fairfield, she had an offer to teach at a charter school in Harlem.
But five months into that teaching job, Mascera knew it wasn’t working. “I felt a complete void in my life,” she said. “I went from my entire life being about sports, and being around people who had the same competitive nature as me. I was so unhappy.”
Fate intervened in the form of a job opening at the collegiate sports marketing agency IMG College, as the executive assistant to IMG President Tim Pernetti. (Pernetti played football for Rutgers University and was the athletic director at Rutgers University from 2009 to 2013.)
Mascera, who was one of the fiercest athletes at VHS, admits that her first week in her new role was “terrifying”. “I had never had a desk job except answering the phones for my dad in his office in the summer,” she said. Her father, Greg Mascera, is a partner at Bannon, Rawding, McDonald & Mascera, the law firm in Verona. The fear subsided, and IMG became the stepping stone to her future.
Just about two years into her work at IMG, she met Pat Capra, then president of Lunar Sports Group. Capra, who manages the Anthony Fasano Foundation’s golf tournament and its Bocce Bash in Verona Park as well as the sickle cell awareness campaign of Jason and Devin McCourty, was merging his company with Malka Media and looking to take on new employees. As 2018 came to an end, Mascera became one of them.
“Change is a difficult thing,” she said. “But I was ready to learn more and create my own identity in this industry.” These days, Mascera manages and runs social media accounts for several Malka Sports clients, and works on business development for them as well.
Mascera’s advice to current students is to network as much as possible, and learn. “There are so many things out there that people don’t know about,” she said, “and the only way you’ll learn is to put yourself out and meet new people.” And she has one other key piece of wisdom: “There’s nothing wrong with taking a couple tries to find where you are are supposed to be.”