Q&A with Tori Bilas ’17 (United States Hunter Jumper Association)

Major at Duke: Visual Art and Visual Media Studies Minor: Spanish

In this interview, Tori Bilas ’17, Digital Marketing Manager at the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, discusses her experience navigating different career paths before landing a job she loves in equestrian sports and shares advice for current Duke students.

Q: What are 2-3 ways your Duke experience helped prepare you for your current career role and/or previous roles?

A: Duke prepared me to handle any difficult task and to go after what I want. Duke also taught me much of the artistic skill I now use as my side business.

Q: How did you make the transition from Duke to your career? What are a few helpful takeaways from your first years out of Duke?

A: I wish I had taken a year before deciding what I wanted to do. I dove right into a job that wasn’t my dream job post-grad, then decided to go to business school. Know that your path can easily change once you’re on it.

Q: How did you decide what you wanted to do after Duke? And how did you make transition(s) to different fields?

A: I worked for ESPN for two years then went to grad school. During grad school, I decided I wanted to work in equestrian sports, so I went for every opportunity I could. It was hard, but I made it work!

Q: What is your favorite thing about working in your profession? Most challenging?

A: My favorite is getting to cover competitions all over the nation and be around horses all the time. The hardest has to be spending long hours in the office when I’d rather be working a competition.

Q: What are 2-3 pieces of advice you would offer to a student interested in your field(s)?

A: I would advise students to network as much as they can early in their career. It’s also important to always be nice! Being a pleasant and dedicated worker goes a very long way in any industry.