Burning it Down: Cosmina Schulman, National Sales Manager at NESN

It is one thing to break down barriers as a woman by excelling in your career path.

It is another thing to help other women who are attempting to do the same.

Cosmina Schulman does both.

A National Sales Manager for the New England Sports Network (NESN), Schulman is also the Vice President of the Boston Chapter of Women in Sports and Events (WISE), which helps empower women in the business of sports.

“What’s so great [about WISE] is we do a lot of networking events but we also really focus on advancing women’s careers within the sports and events space in New England,” Schulman said. “It is just awesome to be a part of such a great network of women who are all really breaking boundaries within the New England area.”

WISE offers many different programs such as Women of Inspiration, Power Play, and Speed Mentoring Round Tables. Schulman said that the Boston Chapter which works throughout New England puts on about 8-10 events per year and that four different professional teams in the area, the Boston Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and now the Connecticut Sun are involved with the organization.

“It’s really like a family of women in the sense that when one of us has a tough decision to make at work or aren’t really sure how to approach a situation, we have such great relationships that we rely on a lot of the people to listen, give feedback and direction on how to approach different things that we see in our day-to-day work.”

Schulman began her career working with Home Team Sports, which is a division of Fox Sports media group, in New York.

“Within my first six months of working there I knew that I loved the sports side of what we were selling,” Schulman said. “I really focused on networking on the sports side.”

However, working in what she calls a “predominantly male industry” Schulman realized that she would need to jump at an opportunity to advance her career if it presented itself.

“Being a female in sports, you have to take whatever opportunity you can get to move up and to have continued success,” Schulman said. “There was an opportunity that came about in Chicago working on our largest account, which was the MillerCoors account. I jumped at the opportunity.”

After spending a little over a year in Chicago, Schulman would come back to the east coast to work as the National Sales Manager for NESN.

“The biggest obstacle is not having a lot of female role models in the sports industry,” Schulman said. “There’s a lot of entry-level females, there is some mid-level females, but there’s not a ton of executive management females. So not having anyone who’s blazed that trail for you previously, sometimes it’s hard to navigate how you get there. I have always taken that challenge on head first. I’ve been committed to being part of the group that breaks through the barriers. I started in the industry 10 years ago and have already noticed a change.”

Now, Schulman oversees a team of six account executives and two account coordinators. A typical day at NESN has her getting to work, or online, since she works remotely when traveling between New York and Boston, around 7 a.m.

During the day, Schulman is talking to clients and making sure that they’re liking the schedules that they’re running and seeing if there any new products that are coming out.

“I would say from about seven to five it’s a lot of interaction with clients, making sure everything is running properly, if there are any new product launches putting together ideas and concepts for that,” Schulman said. “Right now, with the Red Sox and Bruins both playing, every night it’s a game. Typically, one night per week or a couple of nights per week you’ll be at the games entertaining clients there as well.”

Schulman balances leading this team while also being a parent, which has forced her to have a more flexible work schedule.

“As someone who just had a baby two years ago, when you start to have a family it gets even more difficult because you really need to be working for a company that understands that flexibility and schedule which luckily, NESN does,” Schulman said. “I think sometimes because there aren’t females in those roles the company doesn’t know how to handle the flexible work schedules because they haven’t done it before.”

While she has continued to climb the ranks in her career, Schulman says that her path isn’t the only way. She recommends networking with people from all demographics and reaching out to those on LinkedIn who currently hold a position that you are pursuing.

“There isn’t a one size fits all,” Schulman says when it comes to success. “There are lots of different ways to get to the positon that you want.”