We sat down with Stockton native and Public Relations and Community Impact Manager for the Stockton Kings, Sabrena Hernandez.
Tell us a little bit about what your role consists of as the PR and Community Impact Manager for the Stockton Kings.
On the PR side, I do all of our press releases, media relations, and anything that has to do with our players. And then on the Community Impact side, it’s handling all of our community events, going to other people’s community events that we get invited to, taking our mascot places, setting up events that our players and staff can volunteer for, managing community programs, and so on.
I’m the only one [in these roles] so there’s no part-time people. The Kings have a whole Community team and PR team, whereas for Stockton, those two teams are just rolled into one person. And that’s me!
How does your work differ during the regular season as opposed to offseason?
Obviously, during the season we have a team. So, it’s a lot of stuff revolving around the players. Right now, we don’t have a team – we won’t get a team until October. So, when the team does come, then I’ll get really busy and spend more time with them at the practice facility, doing post-game interviews, and things like that.
Right now, I’m in Stockton focusing on what we’re going to do in terms of Community Impact and mapping out the year. So, during the season [my job] is really focused on basketball, while the offseason is more about focusing on community and planning and getting ready for next year.
What is your favorite part about your job? Most challenging?
My favorite part about my job is getting to make an impact on the city of Stockton. I was born and raised there, so it means a lot to me to be able to make a difference and use our platform to make a positive impact on the city.
A lot of times, people have negative things to say about Stockton, but I’m able to use this platform to create change and bring positivity. In general, basketball is an exciting sport. But, having the power to create community programs and figure out where we want to donate things and put our time is a really exciting thing as well. Also, I just really like basketball, so it works out well.
The hardest part about the job is just balancing all the different roles I play at work with the different titles that I have while also balancing being a mom at the same time. But, my daughter is used to it at this point and comes to work with me a lot.
Do you have any advice for recent college grads trying to get their foot in the PR door?
I would say to get as much experience as possible and reach out to people. One time I emailed every single person that worked at [University of the Pacific’s] athletic department asking if I could get a job there or if they had anything for me to do. I ended up doing the scorebook for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
It’s really important to be willing to reach out to people and willing to do anything. Getting experience before you graduate college is also super important.
It’s even better if you can start looking for what you want to do in high school. In high school, I did a final project on female sports reporting where I shadowed a news reporter. Sometimes it’s not going to be fun and you’re not going to get paid, but it’s going to be worth it. Now that I’m on the other side of things hiring people, there’s people who have really good grades and all the best intentions, but they didn’t have the experience.
How are the Stockton Kings bringing the people of Stockton together?
I think that people really gravitate towards the Stockton Kings because there are so many basketball fans in Stockton. Our “209” logo is everybody’s favorite and that shows the pride that the people in the city have.
Our mayor even said in a video that we made that there is no other G-League team that is making a bigger impact on their city than the Stockton Kings. I really agree with him there. We’re trying really hard and working with so many community organizations and they’re also supporting us and giving us work to do in turn. It’s really awesome and I think we’re making a big impact.
What word would you use to describe the atmosphere at a Stockton Kings game?
So, our first game in the playoffs was the best of the season. I literally cried. It was so magical. So, “magical” is the word that I would choose.
It was so cool because the crowd starting chanting, “Let’s go Stockton!” We made a comeback at the end of the game. We didn’t end up winning, but when they started doing that chant we were like, “What?!” Because we had been trying to get [the crowd] to do that chant all season.
I was standing in the tunnel because I was just freaking out too much to sit down and do stats. So, they were chanting and Dustin [Toms], our VP, came and stood with me and we were both just freaking out. That was magical.