Kayla-Marie Williams: Views From The Professional Go-Getter
Kayla Marie-Williams is a millennial woman on the rise. From the Grambling State University, to the Championship season with the Foton Tornadoes (Philippines) Professional Volleyball team, and back home, where she is the go-to reporter for Canadian Football League's, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (also known as TiCats)- she is on the move.
Sistas In Sports caught up with Kayla-Marie as her team makes a push for the CFL Playoffs and continues to make the transition from professional athlete to sports broadcaster look effortless.
When did you start playing volleyball and how did you develop a passion for the sport?
Growing up I was really big on sports. I started playing volleyball when I was in elementary school. I also played other sports including, basketball, volleyball, tennis, track and field, softball. Once I started high school basketball and volleyball were my two favorites. I eventually realized I was natural volleyball player and truly fell in love with the game.
How did you transition from professional athlete to a reporter and what are your main duties and responsibilities as the Ticats Reporter?
I returned home from my professional season this past January and thought I would return for the 2016 season. Next thing I know, I was receiving an email from CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats saying they saw my reporter reel and were looking for a Ticats TV Reporter for the 2016 season. After deliberating and praying about which path to take, I chose to pursue the Ticats. At 27, I had accomplished my athletic goals by winning a championship in my rookie season in the Philippines, so I thought this was the perfect time to transition back to my professional career.
What is "a day in the life" look like as a TiCat Reporter?
My main duties consist of creating video content for our website. I coordinate 1-on-1 interviews with the players, recap stories, post-practice pressers with coaches and players; and post-editing the content. On game-day, I’m typically on the sidelines for pre-game, halftime interviews and post-game coverage. I attend just about every practice and follow the ups and downs of the team throughout the season.
What are biggest challenges that you face as a woman and minority reporter in the CFL?
I look around and I don’t see too many people that look like me. My biggest challenge besides learning a different style of football was finding someone I could relate to, whether it be a peer or mentor. But I was fortunate enough to meet other women in the sports media community during my time outside of the CFL that I’ve gained respect for and built friendships with.
What is your favorite part of being the TiCats Reporter?
I love storytelling. I really enjoy doing our 1-on-1 interviews and the features stories on players. It’s the best way for our fans get to know them on a personal level and not just the guy they see on the field. We all have a story right? I enjoy narrating their journey in addition to the football conversation.
Based on what you have learned throughout your career, what advice would you give your younger self as a new graduate of Grambling State University?
Remain resilient! You will have your fair share of rejection and moments where you doubt if this is where you should be. You have to keep putting in the work, the reps, keep networking, focusing on your craft and how to improve yourself. With this effort, the time and opportunity WILL come. You gotta keep the faith!
If you did not work in the sports industry, what else could you see yourself doing as a career?
Well as a broadcaster, I got my start on-air in news. I was an anchor/reporter for an NBC affiliate in West Monroe, Louisiana. if I wasn’t covering sports I would still love to return to news. If I wasn’t in broadcasting at all, I would return to coaching volleyball or perhaps pursue a career in counseling to make a positive impact in young pre-teen girls lives.
Three Fun Facts About Yourself:
“If you’re going to wait until you’re not fearful anymore, you’re going to be sitting on the sidelines for a long time.” –Robin Roberts
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." –Joshua 1:9
Favorite city that you have traveled?
Ahh.. that’s tough! But I would have to say Venice, Italy so far.
Favorite song that you have to listen to before a volleyball game?
Wipe Me Down remix- Lil’ Boosie (lol)
Thank You for joining the Sistas In Sports Community Kayla- Marie!
-Sistas In Sports Team