Kyle Ragsdale was on his honeymoon when – as if his life weren’t about to change enough already – he had an “a-ha” moment. Gazing out at the beautiful French Riviera with his new wife, he made another pledge to his future.
“I decided I would never do a job again unless I loved it,” he told a crowd of local business leaders this week at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center. “Career is too important to not love what you do.”
The College of Business’ Executive-in-Residence, Ragsdale paired his love of golf with his mind for business to build a sports-marketing career that’s on par with the industry’s best. Now chief marketing officer of Billy Casper Golf (BCG), the largest domestic owner-operator of golf courses, country clubs and resorts, he spent a day on campus sharing his wisdom with the UMW community, including students and members of Mary Washington’s new men’s golf team.
Ragsdale also is managing director of BCG’s marketing firm, Buffalo.Agency, which focuses on golf, sport and lifestyle brands. Previously, he served as top revenue and finance officer at Vox Media, publisher SB Nation, The Verge, Racked and others. Before that, he was associate athletic director for external affairs at Georgetown University, where he teaches sports marketing as an adjunct faculty member. He also is UMW President Troy Paino’s brother-in-law.
With a handicap of 5.1, Ragsdale describes himself as an “OK” golfer but said his love really lies in marketing the sport. He weaved finance and strategy into the talks he delivered throughout the day. But he also urged students to use their college experience to build “A Brand Called You,” developing writing skills and collecting a portfolio of experience, such as internships and social media presence, that appeal to potential employers.
More than that, though, Ragsdale asked that they hone in on their interests and pursue a career that will make them happy. Indulge your passions, and the money will follow. He knows, he said, because it happened for him.
“I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”