This season, BYSO is celebrating 20 years with Federico Cortese. Krista Olson, ’02, Viola, joined BYSO the same year that Fed first joined as the Music Director. Krista is currently the Senior Director of Marketing for the Washington Wizards, NBA Basketball Team. Prior to this, other Sports Business roles Krista has held includes an internship at NESN, the Boston Blazers, and the San Francisco 49ers. Krista is proof that a foundation in music can take you anywhere!
Krista’s dual interest in both music and sports started from a young age. “I remember coming to chamber and orchestra rehearsals every Sunday from Connecticut, dressed in jerseys or ballet outfits, doing schoolwork in the car. It was definitely a balancing act, but I’m very appreciative of all the programs I participated in as a kid. It made me a well-rounded person, and I’m always meeting new people in my job and cultivating professional relationships, and I have lots of things to talk about.”
The practice of sports and the art of music actually have quite a bit in common, and Krista attributes much of the skills she honed at BYSO to be integral to the work she does now. “Music participation gives you a different perspective, and makes you practice to excel. Being part of an orchestra taught me to work well with others. The experience actually helped me learn to handle myself in a more mature way, and helped me grow up – there was a certain level of professionalism required, and I hold myself to that kind of standard even now.”
Krista, at Superbowl 50 and Superbowl 51
“My current role requires creativity as well – fan engagement programs, giveaways, branding, and retail concepts all have to appeal to a wide audience. It’s exciting to take something that we do and think creatively in order to put a unique or interesting twist on it.”
“Music itself is a huge part of what we do – we use music in videos, during games, and it’s all part of the overall experience!”
Krista is no stranger to being part of a field where women are underrepresented. Her biggest advice to other women who are facing this is to “be your own biggest advocate! You have to work extra hard to build your own brand, and to put yourself out there. Take any opportunities where you can, whether it be volunteering, networking, speaking engagements, or even shadowing senior leaders. No opportunity is too small for you to learn something that you can build upon later.”
Krista at the NBA Game in London at the 02 Arena in January 2019
Some of Krista’s favorite memories during her time at BYSO include going on tour. “We went to France, and it was my first time out of the country. I recall playing at an outdoor garden in Provence, and it was such a magical moment. It has inspired me to travel and to see how other people live. I’m so appreciative of these experiences!”
Krista also has very fond memories of her time with Fed. “He was so incredibly passionate. It resonated with us every time he conducted; anytime he was present with us. I loved his enthusiasm, and it was clear that he enjoyed being around us, working together, and how much he loves BYSO. I can see how much BYSO has grown because of his dedication to the organization, and I’m sure it will continue to expand even more.”
Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alum with a cool or interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jessica Chen, Development & Alumni Relations Associate!