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Event planning a slam dunk for organizational leadership grad

Roles with Phoenix Suns, ASU Student Alumni Association equip Kailin Kentigian for future

Kailin Kentigian

Kailin Kentigian held leadership roles with the Student Alumni Association, where she served as special events director during her sophomore year, chief of staff during her junior year and finally president during her senior year. She is graduating with a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership (project management) and minoring in music. Courtesy photo

April 22, 2024

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Kailin Kentigian made an impactful mark during her years at Arizona State University, serving in leadership roles with the Student Alumni Association and even starting an organization on campus.

But her involvement reached beyond the scope of campus, too: She began a position with the Phoenix Suns in March 2023 as an events and booking intern. Through her position, she gained hands-on experience with the production of Suns games, Mercury games, concerts, shows and small events.

“Getting the call that I got the job was the best day of my life,” says Kentigian, graduating with a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership (project management) from the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and minoring in music. “It felt like all my hard work in college paid off at that moment.”

While at ASU, Kentigian started a new student club demonstrating her strong entrepreneurial and leadership qualities. She’s the lead for the ASU chapter of a music-focused nonprofit called Beats By Girlz, which educates and empowers women and gender-expansive people through music and technology. In her role, she oversees projects and events for the ASU chapter of Beats By Girlz.

When she decided to start an organization on campus, she says, “It made me realize how many tools ASU provided me with that I could take advantage of.”

Kentigian also held leadership roles with the Student Alumni Association, where she served as special events director during her sophomore year, chief of staff during her junior year and finally president during her senior year.

“I will definitely utilize all three positions in my future career and could not be more thankful for what SAA has taught me,” she says.

Kentigian says ASU has been the best four years yet, and she looks forward to pursuing a career in event management working for a large-scale sports and concert events organization here in the Valley.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I changed majors four times, so there were a few "aha" moments for me, but my final "aha" moment was my sophomore year of college after being unsatisfied with the futures of my previous majors. I was scrolling through different majors on the ASU website and found organizational leadership. I thought, “This has me written all over it,” as I had always held leadership positions in organizations I've been a part of and truly felt like leading was one of my purposes in life.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something I have learned is to be more open-minded. There's lots of different kinds of people at ASU with different backgrounds, and it's important to have difficult discussions and to continue learning about each other and the world around us.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because it was close to my hometown, and graduating during COVID was difficult. Many people didn't want to move far from home at the time because there was a chance everyone might have to move back. ASU was the best option for me in the context of in-state schools.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: There are two professors in particular who have influenced me the most throughout my time at ASU in the organizational leadership program: Professor Marie Wallace and Professor David Corlett. Their teaching styles really resonated with me, as they were straightforward and interactive. Professor Wallace led (the class) Diversity in Organizations, and we had a lot of tough discussions in her class that needed to be had in order for us to grow as leaders. Professor Corlett always was here to help me, even if I wasn't taking one of his courses. If I ever had a question, he was more than willing to help out.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Say yes to everything. Say yes to study sessions, outings, meeting new people, taking different classes, going to football games. You never know what situation is going to change your life for the better, and you're never going to regret doing the most.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I loved Old Main because of my involvement with the Student Alumni Association. Old Main is our home base. I love the rich history of the building. We have spent lots of late nights and early mornings there, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: The housing crisis. Unfortunately there are plenty of unhoused men and women in Tempe. Affordable housing and livable homeless shelters would be the first thing I take care of with $40 million.

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