Maya Kelnhofer is a Western Carolina University alumna who currently works as a ticket sales representative for the Milwaukee Brewers, a major league baseball team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Kelnhofer has a bachelor’s degreee in business administration with a focus in sport management. She is originally from Milwaukee, but grew up in Concord.
Kelnhofer has always had a passion for sports. She played collegiate volleyball at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, before transferring to WCU during the second semester of her first year.
“I grew up playing sports, watching sports, so that was the only thing I could really foresee myself putting my all into,” she said. “I played volleyball where you have to operate as a team. I also did swimming which is more individual. I like the team experience of working together, where everyone is rooting for each other. You win together, you lose together.”
Kelnhofer said that at WCU, she learned that sport management is an extension of that teamwork element in sports. Her favorite class was an event planning class with Charles Parrish, an associate professor and director for marketing, entrepreneurship, sport management, and hospitality and tourism.
“As a class, we put on and hosted the Mountain Heritage Day 5K. We all had a different part that went into it,” she said. “We had hands-on experience and got to see our work come to fruition.”
She also commended the College of Business for requiring management and finance classes that have been relevant to her role with the Brewers.
“Looking back on the classes that I took, any management or finance class that we had to take was definitely worthwhile. It really prepares you for the business world,” Kelnhofer said. “I developed skills I find myself using daily.”
The Brewers gave Kelnhofer the opportunity to show off her business ready skills.
“Our team of ticket sales representatives, account executives and the whole organization, we are all working together as a team towards our goals in the behind the scenes of the Milwaukee Brewers,” she said.
While at WCU, Kelnhofer also studied abroad in Ireland and subsequently became a study abroad ambassador and president of the club.
“Ireland was always a place I wanted to go, so when I had the opportunity, I went ahead and took it. I definitely enjoyed every second of it,” she said.
Kelnhofer was also in Phi Mu Sorority and played intramural sand volleyball. “My time there was amazing,” Kelnhofer said. “I got to meet a lot of different people, participate in a lot of events, meet my best friends and explore nature. It was everything I could have asked for in a college experience.”
Kelnhofer took a risk when she transferred to WCU, when she studied abroad in Ireland and most recently when she moved back to Milwaukee to work for the Brewers. She hopes other Catamounts will take the same risks.
“Taking that risk of actually putting yourself out there is absolutely worth it,” she said. “Take the risk in deciding to do something out of your comfort zone.”