We had the good fortune of connecting with Natelle Gentile and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natelle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
“Risk brings reward” is a statement that holds so much truth. Personally, taking risks has gotten me to where I am today, and has made me who I am. Looking back on my life thus far, every milestone moment came after a risk was taken. Growing up as a gymnast was a daily “risk taking” lifestyle. Every jump, leap or flip on top of a four inch wide-four foot high beam required more risk than most people would enjoy presented to them, but the feelings that cultivate after you land that skill are what make the risk a reward. You experience growth, accomplishment, pride and a new level of strength you didn’t know you had before. A strength you would have never found without taking a risk. Even when you fall, the risk remains worth it. You learn in the attempts that you can do hard things and that you can continue to take that leap of faith until your strength grows strong enough to take on another level. This is how I was able to compete at the collegiate level as a D1 student-athlete; by habitually taking risk after risk, to increase the rewards that come with it. Risk is a requirement for growth. In my career life, I began selling hats at a Spring Training facility and through the process of risk taking, I was able to find myself 4 years later producing a World Baseball Classic at Petco Park in San Diego, California while working for the Major League Baseball team, the San Diego Padres. Working there for three years, I took the biggest risk yet and left to work in my current role back at my alma mater, Arizona State University, producing for Sun Devil Athletics. Leaving what you know for something new is the biggest risk of all. But without taking risks, you will never move from where you are. What if you took that risk? What if you leaped? You could fall, and simply get back up with the a new sense of strength to try again, or you could fly. Eventually, you will soar.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When it comes to the path that I took to get to where I am now in my career, I started by doing whatever it took to get my foot in the door. I began selling hats and memorabilia at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale Arizona, spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. After a season of this, I joined their promotional team where I brought my gymnastics skills back to the forefront when asked to do back-hand-springs down the dugout top during each games’ 7th inning stretch. This led to managing the promotional team and venturing into the Operations department where I got to learn all things “control room.” I dove in headfirst and absorbed as much as I could so that when graduation came around, I immediately looked into the world of Major League Baseball. I applied for a job in California, for the San Diego Padres. As if it was divinely mapped out, this is where the real world began for me. There is where my career learned new heights and my heart for creating an enjoyable atmosphere that would leave thousands of people with happy memories for the rest of their lives formed. This is where I found my “producer” role. The sense of unknown pitching changes, and poor umpire calls was a feeling I will always thrive in and will always chase. I had the opportunity to create a show for fans to experience that would be a memory of a lifetime in one sitting. I would work with sponsorships, group sales, entertainment groups, and agencies to script out the game. Writing the PA announcer script, programing which music would be played when and understanding that at any moment, with one swing, I would have to change my entire script mid-game to do anything I could to keep the fans engaged. Following this, I felt that my heart needed more and I was ready to acquire more knowledge through a new chapter. This is where I have now landed; working for my alma mater, Arizona State University producing for Sun Devil Athletics. My story is one of a girl who doesn’t give up, who takes challenges as opportunities for growth and does this all while with a smile on her face. I maintain my moxie, I encourage others along the way and am always striving to do and be better. I want the world to know that when you don’t give up, when you take chances and risk it all, you grow.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This is why I love Arizona. Living here is an endless find of places that bring joy. The weather is always great, even when it is over 100 degrees, there are still plenty of things to do. My favorite places are either related to working out or eating, an interesting combination, but one that makes me happy. For fitness studios, you can find me every morning either spinning at The Madison Improvement Club, taking HIIT classes at Bodi or hiking the beautiful mountains of Arizona. One of my favorite things about Arizona are the restaurants. There are fewer chains than unique, cute-specialty eateries to enjoy. Being Italian, I believe food is love so my list of places to do so are endless. In terms of brunch, a few favorites are Breakfast Club, OHSO, Berry Devine, and SumoMaya. For dinner, all of the Fox Concept restaurants, Mauntak, Isabella’s Kitchen, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and so many others I have come to love. I am a sucker for a view and Arizona has some of the best. I would suggest every sunrise is accompanied with a workout and every sunset brings, delicious beverages and even better food with loved ones.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people and resources behind who I am and what I have done in my life thus far. First and foremost, I have the most encouraging and loving family. My parents have supported my dreams since I was born while pouring into my personal strengths and educating me on where I can improve. They lead me in love which has always given me soft heart when helping others. They embraced my moxie and cheered me on, regardless if I fell or struggled along the way. They are and have always been my best friends and biggest cheerleaders who I can always rely on. My sister, Skye, has always been my biggest role model. She paved the way for me in all avenues of life, gymnastics and career, and gracefully allowed me to follow in her footsteps, but in my own unique way. In my career, I have so many amazing people to thank along the way. My first bosses who took a chance on me and helped mold me, Michael Bouscher and Wally Goodline. My mentor today, Matt Coy, who taught me what it means to be a light in the sports world and to never give up on my dreams. My Faith in God and knowing that He has a plan for my life and that I can be a light for those in darkness will always ground me to who I was created to be. Lastly, I was lucky enough to create genuine, authentic friendships along the way that encouraged me, molded me, helped me grow and still continue to do so with so much love. It’s a blessing that there are too many to name, but you all know who you are and I am so grateful for each and every one of you.