How a passion for sports and a UB MBA can drive business success
As an athlete, Jana Richtrova knows what it takes to be successful. Her competitive drive and passion for sports not only played a roll in her athletic achievements but in her personal pursuits as well. In 2005, she graduated from UB with an MBA and worked at New Era Cap Company in Buffalo as a product line manager.
From there, she moved to Reebok where she was the NHL product line manager, but worked with additional leagues as well—the NFL, NBA and NCAA. Today, she serves as category manager of lifestyle, headwear and hockey bags at Bauer Performance Sports Ltd., a leading developer and manufacturer of ice hockey, roller hockey, lacrosse equipment and related apparel.
At Bauer, Jana routinely uses the teamwork skills she honed at UB, both in the School of Management and as a member of the women’s basketball team. “I have a team of coworkers that I work with and rely on to put together the best apparel product line each season,” she says. “But without teamwork and an understanding of everyone’s expertise and different personalities, it would never come together.” Jana knows that dealing with different people, cultures and personalities can be very challenging, but it is an important piece to the overall success of any project she is working on.
Outside of work, Jana participates in triathlons. After qualifying in her first attempt, she achieved her ultimate goal of competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October 2012. Jana completed the entire race, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. She finished fifteenth in her age group and competed in the 2013 Ironman Cozumel, where she won the female amateur title, finished in the top 10 (including professionals), and qualified for another attempt at the Kona Ironman in 2014.
Jana believes that success comes from following dreams, and being committed to a lifetime of learning. “You know when you are asked to answer questions like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?’ Follow through on those goals,” she says. “Have a vision and work hard to get to where you want to be. Hard work pays off.”