Alumna Profile: Ashley Lyles BA ‘13

Ashley Lyles (BA ‘13) is a Southern California native, born and raised in Los Angeles. She fell in love with the game of basketball at an early age, playing on numerous club teams before deciding to come play at Saint Mary’s. She credits a former teammate for helping introduce her to the school and for helping convince her to apply. She actually knew nothing about Saint Mary’s before applying, but felt the size of the campus suited her well. She stated “I came from a small all-girls private high school, so the size of Saint Mary’s was good as I think I would have been overwhelmed on a larger campus.”

Ashley majored in Kinesiology, citing an interest in the human body. She thought working within sports would fit well for her as an athlete, and loved her classes in sport and recreation management as they were interesting and engaging. A main highlight from the Kinesiology program came when she had the opportunity to work as a Marketing and Promotions Intern with SMC’s Department of Athletics, initially as part of her Introduction to Sport & Recreation Management course. This was Ashley’s first exposure to the behind the scenes components of holding events, and helped jumpstart her resume. She cites Drs. Deane Lamont, Steve Miller, and Claire Williams as influential professors that helped peak her interest in Kinesiology.

Following graduation from Saint Mary’s, Ashley took a job back in Southern California as an assistant athletic director at her former high school, the Marlborough School. This was a good first job for her as the head Athletic Director trusted Ashley, allowing her to make decisions when he was not around. Her early years following graduation were a grind, as she often held a part-time job in addition to the position she held at the Marlborough School. For example, during the basketball season, she simultaneously interned in community relations with the Los Angeles Clippers and during the baseball season she simultaneously interned in marketing and promotions with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During this time, she was even included in a LA Dodgers promotional video. She says the advice she would give current Kinesiology students is to enjoy your free time today when you have it, because nowadays she “wishes for a week off to do nothing.”

While with the Dodgers in 2016, Ashley started graduate school at the Marshall School of Business at USC. Upon doing so, she took a position with Rapport, an ad agency, and concluded her time working in interscholastic athletics. Her time at Rapport only lasted a few months, but it landed her an interview with Nike, where she was eventually hired as an Entertainment Marketing Coordinator. She interacted with celebrities, actors, models, etc., sending them Nike products, working on campaigns, and performing other similar projects. Ashley now works as a Partnership Marketing Manager with the Los Angeles Clippers. Her day-to-day operations have her working closely with a variety of brands in planning, tracking, and executing contractual elements with her partners. Because of this, her day can range widely from completing clerical work in her office to organizing and attending a player charity event at a hospital.

COVID, like with many others, has affected the way Ashley works. With the uncertainty surrounding COVID and the NBA Bubble, Ashley had to figure out how her sponsors would be accommodated. With a limited amount of staff available, it was all hands on deck in terms of setting up sponsorship signage and equipment within the bubble. While difficult, she saw this as a good learning experience for not only her, but all of her colleagues as well. Ashley remains busy even in the NBA’s offseason, working with sponsorship partners on plans for next year, and even getting ready for the Clippers new arena, scheduled to open in 2024. She relates how the Kinesiology program at Saint Mary’s was a great experience for her, and she is glad current and future students are able to similarly benefit from its curriculum and opportunities.

Ashley is pleased to report that as of November 2020, three other Gaels work for the LA Clippers as well: Fellow Kinesiology alum Beau Levesque, Player Development Coordinator/Assistant Video Coordinator, and rookie players Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts.