I met Chris through the internet. (It'd be awkward if I stopped here, wouldn't it?) I had a blog my freshman year of college centered around what it was like to be hurt as a college athlete and..dun dun dun.. being a female in a male-dominated sport. *insert moment for you to roll your eyes*. As a blogger himself, Chris stumbled upon my blog after a mutual friend of ours shared it, became what was probably my only subscriber and we've been social media friends ever since. . ...#Millennialfriendships
I wanted to feature Chris, an employee at The Wendy's Company corporate headquarters, head lacrosse coach at Gahanna Lincoln High School, co-founder of Momentum Lacrosse and MBA candidate, because....well, that's why.
Chris is a great reminder that your career isn't the only gateway to do what you love. Sitting in a cubicle from 8-5 isn't an excuse to not also get involved with sports or whatever your passion may be.
Chris is relatable, infectiously motivational, and sort of funny. His interview makes for a great read.
The Reference Club: What do you do for work and how long have you been doing it?
Chris Robbins: Ever heard of a man who knew what his dream was at the age of 8, lied about his age so he could start working, and then dropped out of school to make it all come to life? I work for the company Dave Thomas founded in 1969 here in Columbus, OH – who takes pride in their never frozen North American square beef, adoption awareness, and witty social media accounts. I started working for The Wendy’s Company nearly a year ago as a Customer Care Advocate. My job is simple, yet complex. Our goal is to delight the customer, communicate with field employees and franchisees around the globe. We handle all forms of customer communication, from texts, calls, emails, snail mail and social media (no I’m not responsible for the genius that sits behind @Wendys, but we do access the handle when it comes to customer inquiries). Our department has become a primary focus within the company. It’s a privilege to have board members and franchisees come through and sit with us on a regular basis. We understand the need to take care of the lifeblood of the company (the customer), and strive to “Delight Every Customer” within our means. Working for The Wendy’s Company is like working for your community – everyone knows you, and you go out of your way to make sure they’re all taken care of.
TRC: ...Someone get this man a bonus. Is the meat truly fresh and never frozen?
CR: Have you eaten a Big Mac or a Whopper? Have you ever seen one of our square cows? You tell me…
TRC: I'm more of a spicy crispy chicken sandwich gal, so I'll leave that up to the readers. Tell us about Momentum Lacrosse. How did you get started and what motivated you to start this club?
CR: The idea came from where most great ones do; a conversation with like minds over a pint of brew, where conversational points range anywhere from how personal lives are going to what's for dinner. Lacrosse is rapidly growing, expanding to new high schools every year. The 'elite' summer programs have been established by building loyalty for a cost, great coaching, and the hope of college recruitment. However, where do players and families go (who desire a continuation of play throughout the summer months), who cannot make said programs or even afford them?
This is where we landed, asking ourselves, how can we reach the players who fall through the cracks that need more coaching in an encouraging environment? To put it simply, those players who just want to get better at the game they started playing, because they fell in love with it. Too easily in our society we see success as a stencil that we try to fit our own lives into, because that's what gains the most attention from the surrounding community. However, that's not the truth. Success is different for everyone, and we believe that wholeheartedly.
We did not create a club to compete with other summer programs. We understand that certain players fit their molds, and know that they offer some of the best coaching and resources. Our goal in creating Momentum is to offer an alternative, something different, that falls in line with three basic fundamentals of enjoying anything that you do. Enthusiasm, purpose and vision.
After three seasons, we're seeing that what started as an idea of a few beers has turned into something greater than what we could have imagines. Players joining Momentum come from all walks of life and various levels of talent. Families are diving in, head first, to utilize their resources as an offer to the club in support of their sons. The teams are exceeding expectations, but not at the cost of the development of each individual player. We don't have tryouts, because we don't want to exclude anyone who desires to get better. That's not the point in growing the game. We offer a deep insight to a summer coaching philosophy that has brought nothing short of success on and off the field for our players and families. When the final whistle blows and the jerseys are stored away it's not the scores or records of seasons you remember most, but it's those who you came in contact with that showed you how to move forward in life.
We believe because of the environment our coaches, players and families have created, Momentum has been successful on the field as well. We're proud of our brand new players and those who have been awarded conference, regional and state recognition. Having a mixture of talent helps elevate everyone to a higher level. Momentum is the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes. It's more than a game to us...
TRC: So, so cool, and important. What is the best part about working with younger athletes?
CR: It freaking keeps me young. I'm getting old. If you can keep up with high school hooligans at the age of 30, then you're sure to hold onto your youth. A reporter once asked me a question for a preseason article, "How do you know that what you're doing to change the culture of this program (Gahanna Lincoln High School) will work?" I laughed while I threw a ball at a player running by me and said, "Find me in 10 to 20 years when my former players have careers, families, and are contributing members of their communities - that will give you your answer. For now, we're just having fun.
TRC: "I'm getting old," said the 30 year old. You may have just offended 20% of my readers, according to my data. How do you balance being a HS head varsity coach, managing Momentum Lacrosse AND working full-time?
CR: Uh…Let’s add in taking occasional Master’s courses, playing (attempting to) lacrosse, my German shepherd monster, and trying to be a young person in a world full of distractions. I cannot lie and say it’s easy, or that I don’t have mental break downs when shit gets too heavy to carry. For me (don’t tell my boss), working full-time brings in the money that I can use to support myself while I live out my passions in other ways. If it weren’t for the opportunity to give back and bring value to others, I don’t think I would have any drive in my personal life. It’s not so much about dragging my ass out of bed every damn day at 5 a.m. to start putting checkmarks in the boxes of my To Do list. The purpose I serve for those who rely on me, and the opportunity to give back, is motivation in itself to believe that what I do matters – to someone. If you can believe in what you do, then you can make anything work. The balance comes from centering myself, daily, whether that be through quiet times early in the morning or not having that 5th shot of Fireball on a Friday night. Hey, we all have our own thing right? What I’m learning more is to not hide behind what I know I can do by letting other things get in the way.
TRC: (Take back his bonus). Morning person or night owl?
CR: I drink way too much coffee to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and if I don’t wake up early to walk the dog then I’m just waiting for a pile of shit to start my day. The early bird gets the worm, but the night owl is wise (whatever that means).
TRC: How did you secure a job with The Wendy’s Company (name-dropped, career fair, application via job board, etc) and/or can you share any advice for those seeking a career with a Fortune 500-1000 company?
CR: I’m a marketable person and have the talent every company desires – kidding. I have what I like to call geographical and professional ADD. We millennials all have it. When I was getting burnt out of teaching I applied via LinkedIn, and then 4 months later I got a call offering an interview. My application was sent (with many other applications to other companies) so long before the call that I said, “New phone, who dis?” I really didn’t remember applying for it, but everything happens for a reason. The Universe is weird like that.
TRC: I'll try "new phone, who dis" the next time a recruiter calls me. Speaking of bad advice (ha!), what is the worst advice someone ever gave you?
CR: Every once and awhile we’ll get a blue bird day in Columbus during the winter months. I was feeling this day for what it was, sunny and 55. Some ‘adult’ saw me skipping in the Short North on my way to brunch with friends and said, “Act your age!” I wanted to stop and say, “If I did just that I would be more like you, boring, and less like myself” but I’m not that big of a jerk so I refrained. I just moseyed on loving the day. I’m almost 30, but let’s face it – 30 is 30, and 30 isn’t boring. In return, the best advice I was ever given was from my 4th grade teacher, “If you’re bored, you’re boring, and you’ll think others are too. How do you like them apples?”
TRC: Noted. What (or who) are some things (or people) that get you through a typical week?
CR: Eros Leonidas is my everything. He’s a 1 ½ year old German Shepherd who loves his tail more than me, but that’s okay because he brings me joy when he slobbers all over my face. Don’t forget the occasional texts from mom or trying to decipher the code of my father’s texting skills. Reading and writing is vital to my existence. I’m always trying to learn more about others and myself by listening to and telling stories. I believe if you can change just one life by sharing yours, then you’ve lived a purpose filled one. I’m a wannabe writer, and I too have a blog (crobbinsdavis.wordpress.com), and this is a good reason why I get up early every morning – to read, write, and meditate. Yes, I said meditate. I recently went through some major life changes that were a result of my own faults, and I fell into yoga. I’m by no means a Yogi and don’t plan on eating tofu anytime soon, but I do attempt to work that inner chi in the mornings; while hitting up the yoga studio to center myself and forget aboutmy daily tasks. Add in being an idiot and running marathons and lifting heaving objects and putting them back down again, on repeat. Sometimes you have to let your responsibilities just sit for a moment, and just be where you are.
TRC: --It seems like more and more millennials are moving to big(ger) cities after graduating from college. Did or do you ever feel the social pressure to move away from home and experience a new city?
CR: Actually, I moved to a place where there were more cattle (per capita) than humans – the entire state of Montana has one area code. I lived there for a year before moving to Denver for the next year. So I guess you could say I did the opposite, which isn’t something I always do. People move to Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, you name it- just to land that money making job or a position that will propel your ‘career.’ However, I needed to get away, so I guess I did feel that pressure to experience a new place that allowed me to do something (different) that would open up my ability to embrace a cultural difference over a big city. I wanted more experiences than I did a fat pay check, and to this day I feel the same way. We only have the rest of our lives to make money to pay bills, but we also only have this life to gain new experiences through the people we meet or the places we go.