Megan Devine – Humans of UofL

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    Megan Devine at Saratoga working for NBC Sports

    I am Megan Devine, I originally am from Long Island, NY and I grew up there just outside of Manhattan, and kind of stumbled upon UofL. I didn’t know that this city and the program existed here and did a Google search one day and found the equine program at the University of Louisville in the city so I was lucky enough to come here. But prior to that nobody really leaves New York it kind of states it’s almost a mentality of you know why would you want to go anywhere else it’s such a great place that has so much for you and for me at least I wanted to branch out I wanted that adventure I wanted to go someplace new and have a fresh page and have so many opportunities that weren’t that I didn’t know of already. So for me it was you know going to Louisville so far away from home not knowing anybody was really the best experience I could have had because it allowed me to meet so many new people and have so many new opportunities.

    I grew up, I have a great family I was the only child my parents separated when I was young so I don’t really remember them being together I was raised for the most part by my mother on everyday type of basis and she worked all the time so we kind of were a team. For her she worked such long hours and so I had to be independent from a very young age which I think has been very helpful for me because I have the work ethic that I have.

    She did her work and I did mine and we were a team and that’s how we operated and so I think that has helped me a lot, it might have hindered a little bit I was definitely way above my age group since a very young age and still seem to be that way but that was that was kind of how I grew up and so college to me was the logical next step I wanted to have a career, that seemed to be the way to go so for me it was never a question, the  only question was where was I going to go.

    My mom is a very hardworking woman and she’s the best mom that anyone could ask for I think she always wanted to be a mom she didn’t necessarily have big career aspirations she kind of you know did a couple office jobs and various think she’s now an office manager so very proud of her but she just had a really she’s a good person a good work ethic she’s very nurturing and she’s strong and she had to be to raise a daughter by yourself for the most part. I have a father and he’s involved you know to the extent that he can be but he also works a lot.

    She’s very supportive of me for everything that I do and I think being an only child and being raised by such a strong woman has allowed me to derive that strength from her.

    I think it helps me to do everything that I do now because being in front of the camera or in TV it’s very high-stress highly criticized field and so you have to have a good strong foundation a good base, I think which comes from your upbringing and I’m lucky enough to have that. Growing up for me I  think horses had the most impression on me more so than the people besides my my strong basis with my mother my work ethic came from them. I didn’t have very much growing up so horseback riding is a very expensive sport and so in order to do that it was something that I found I was passionate about in fact the first time I got on the back of a horse I sat up straight and tall. I tried other sports like ballet and I was the only four year old with like a beer belly but apparently horseback riding I just came to so.  We couldn’t afford for me to have my own horse or anything so I would work at the stable so on Friday and Saturday nights I would be mucking stalls and grooming horses for people that were more affluent and trying to buy time if you will to ride, to make myself better so I did less of the you know shenanigans as a teenager and more of working in the stables.

    My ride after college has been an interesting one. My senior year of college, stepping back into it just a little bit I found myself in the Miss University of Louisville pageant, which is something, that I had never considered doing before.  I may or may not have lost a bet to enter in the first place, and ended up getting the title which was great. It was so far outside my comfort zone but I do think people should challenge themselves to do that. So it was a really good experience and so after college I graduated but now I have this title and so I had to do Miss Kentucky which is the next step so that was during the summer so most of my months in between actually had ankle surgery but then prepped for Miss Kentucky to then maybe go to Miss America which is crazy to me but I did that competed in Miss Kentucky which is a great experience and then actually kind of settled back here in Louisville and got a job with Sunday night football for NBC sports.

    I had worked for them for the past couple of years while I was in college I would travel to horse racing and then they called me up and he said you know Meg what are you doing? I said I don’t know I just graduated college I’m kind of just hanging out thinking about life and that they said “Do you want a job with Sunday night football?” to which you cannot turn down the number one rated show on prime-time television.  So I was lucky enough to get a job with them as a production assistant and so I would travel to wherever the game was on Saturday morning stay the weekend come back on Mondays so I kind of pieced together things. That was a great opportunity for me to travel to be more invested in TV but I also worked for a local startup here called US Chia, which is actually formed at the University of Louisville so I was the first employee of that so I was managing quite a few things. I had probably three different jobs at the time, but all were freelance and always something that I was really interested in so I was able to really learn a lot from those opportunities.

    I had worked in TV for a little while with NBC sports and I started as a runner actually got an opportunity here in Louisville just by somebody that I met. I volunteered in an event during college and they handed out media credentials and just kind of met people and met the right people that got me a job as a runner so I worked for the Derby made copies got coffees picked up people from the airports that type of a deal. They realized I actually knew quite a bit about horse racing and was a pretty helpful so I became kind of a field producer and I moved up from there so I worked for TVG which is a horse racing channel they come to Keeneland every year so I would work for them as a production assistant and they kind of threw me on camera one day because we were lacking some content and so they interviewed me and I just kind of took off from there.

    I was very diligent in doing my homework figuring out what it was we were going to do on the show that day and having input as well. So when we had a little bit of a maybe a race that was kind of my cluster they would put me on. But it allowed me to have that facetime and get in front of the camera and it was something that I figured I wanted to do so I started doing that and after that experience I was able to be hired at Ellis Park which is in Henderson Kentucky and that was my first kind of full-time in front of the camera gig. I was there analysts there and Santa Anita discovered me out of there and moved to LA and now i’m on TV in in California. I just covered the Breeders Cup which is the Olympics of horse racing so the fact that I had been at this job for maybe four weeks and here comes the biggest event you can possibly imagine besides the Kentucky Derby, to Santa Anita, that was pretty crazy for me, but I learned to I always do my homework but I learned to have fun which I think is the most important part, because you do so much preparing for an event like that you’re just buried in work and replays and analytics and everything and it’s coming, the event is happening whether you’re ready or not, and I think I had learned to trust myself because I follow this sport throughout the year. I know these storylines I know these people and I know myself and I know I worked hard enough to do that. So I had this strange sense of calm on the day of, that was just like, I’m ready I’ve done this and I think that was the most important thing I learned because life is so stressful and you do so many things and I love what I do and that was the moment that I realized I’m good at this I can do this.

    What’s next for me is a good question. It’s a question I think about on a daily basis. I love horse racing it is giving me really everything that I could have ever imagined. I think for me, I played other sports as well, like soccer track and field and archery and various events, but I love horse sports so I’d like to be involved in NBC’s coverage of horseracing. That would be awesome, and also Olympic equestrian as well but outside of that I do think there’s other opportunities. I do love sports part of the reason why I chose UofL and I’d like to branch out into other sports whether that be, football or rugby or you know just different things that I don’t think I have experienced before. It’s a challenge for me, but it would be incredible to be on a more national scale as well knowing that I got my start in horse racing and that was really my confidence booster and I was able to find myself and something that I love so much and translate that to other sports.

    I hate the phrase it’s about who you know, because that implies that you just have to know them. But it is about who you know, it’s about the people you need but you have to work hard to meet those people certainly you can get lucky and be in situations like I was and meet the right people. But I met the right people because of how hard I worked and that was what took notice so it’s really important to do that and always present yourself in the best possible way.

    Now granted I’m always late to things, and you know I have my flaws as well but while I’m there I work really hard and I guess it was easier for me to prioritize working hard and maybe not going to this party or this event or whatever it is because I was so passionate about what I did so you know certainly it’s different for everybody but it’s I think important to prioritize your job if it’s really something that means that much to you and for me. I’m 24 years old at the moment and the position that I’m in and how fast I’ve gotten there I think is probably due to my work ethic, it’s further than people much older than me.

    I think the most important advice that I could give to somebody looking to do anything they want to do you have to follow your dreams you have to work in something that you’re passionate about it’s the age-old phrase of if you love what you do you never work a day in your life, and I feel that way as well, But you have to certainly prepare yourself to do so you have to do your homework you have to make the right connections and you have to challenge yourself as well I think it’s very important to step outside your comfort zone. Maybe do something that you hadn’t thought of before in order to be successful and what you want to do surround yourself with the right people and work hard and I will say this no matter what your job is I think you should do it to the best of your ability if not more and always do it with a smile on your face as well because that will get you further than anything else.