Rachel Zilka is a senior at Niagara University where she plays tennis for the Purple Eagles. Currently the President of her University’s CMAA student chapter, Zilka was a 2013 and 2014 recipient of the CMAA Joe Perdue Scholarship. She used the funds to attend World Conference in Orlando for the first time and again joined CMAA in San Antonio in 2015. She described the experience as amazing, saying that she felt reenergized about the industry and going into the field after graduation.
Zilka values the network that exists within CMAA, and loves being able to meet so many people who are willing to help their fellow managers learn and grow. CMAA is unique in this way, as there is so much emphasis on sharing ideas between managers and between chapters, ensuring a constant learning curve in the industry. Zilka’s experience at the World Conference exemplified this mentality in the industry. She wants to work in a field where the people are always willing to help others while still remaining hungry to learn more.
To Zilka, the most valuable aspect of the Foundation is the funding it provides to not just college students, but anyone looking to further their career in the club management industry. “It doesn’t matter if a manager is just entering a new club or has been the GM for over a decade; the Foundation will help anyone who wants to continue to learn and develop, especially those who pass on this mentality to their coworkers.”
Zilka also values the Student Conference and educational events that go along with it. She thanks Kate Scott in particular, manager, Student Development and Career Services, for the work she does for the student chapters across the country. The Foundation is very dedicated to its students, and Rachel sees CMAA as providing a huge opportunity to start building a career and connections early in college.
To her fellow students and future managers, Zilka says: “Use the Foundation more, and do not take it for granted. Apply for those grants and scholarships. The Foundation is here to help managers at all stages of their career, and I urge all members to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Zilka also says that she has never met another student with the network connections that she has made through CMAA, and has had an internship every summer in school through that network. She urges those students and young managers in the industry: “Put yourself and your goals out there and you will find a hand to help you out.”