2013-02-07 / News

Jamestowner on the short list to be the next Rev Girl

Sara Leonard hopes to be one of three girls picked

SARA LEONARD SARA LEONARD Jamestown’s Sara Leonard says she never had a bad day on the job when she worked as a brand ambassador at the Newport Yachting Center.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, she hopes to turn her past experiences chatting up the local tourists into a dream job connecting with sports fans by becoming the newest member of the New England Revolution’s promotional team, the Rev Girls.

Leonard, 23, has made it to the final round of the Providence-area search for Rev Girls. She will audition in front of a crowd at the Ri Ra Irish Pub at 50 Exchange St. in Providence.

The judges will pick three winners from the field of 10 finalists, and everybody will find out their names that night.

Leonard found out about the tryouts when she was checking out the New England Patriots website.

“I was actually just kind of cruising around the Internet figuring out what my next big thing was going to be,” she said. “I had been working at Newport Yachting Center as a brand ambassador, doing promotions and getting to know the public, whether they go to the events or not.”

Leonard said the job depends on getting people to “remember you and the company,” adding that she has become an expert at “getting to know people quickly and find out what they like.”

When she saw that Robert Kraft’s organization was seeking a brand ambassador, she gave it a try.

“I sent in a resume and crossed my fingers to see if they’d say ‘hi’ back,” she said. The Revolution called her for an interview and then told her she had passed the initial round and made it to the finals.

She was elated, she said.

Leonard, daughter of David and April Leonard, is a lifelong Jamestowner. She attended the Jamestown schools and Rocky Hill before going on to Ithaca College.

She majored in social studies. Although she does not plan to teach, she figures she uses her education every day on the job. Social studies is the study of people, she said, through history, anthropology and economics.

“I actually know very little about soccer,” she confessed, but hopes that won’t hurt her chances too much. ”It’s one of those things you get to learn on the job.”

Leonard figures she will pick up the information as she goes to games and meets the players.

She will have to survive a lighting trivia round about sports and the Revolution to win the job.

“It’s hard to call it a contest because it is such a people-person job,” Leonard said. “They want to see how you work with strangers.”

According to Danielle Rimes, marketing coordinator for the New England Revolution, there will be celebrity judges.

Rimes said Kelsey Fournier, 2012 Miss Rhode Island, Will Gilbert, host of WPRI’s “The Rhode Show,” Jessica Schiano, 92 PRO-FM on-air personality, and Jena Pelletier, Providence Journal reporter, will rate the finalists in three events: the trivia game, a giveaway with the crowd, and a “funny” question-and-answer interview.

Revolution players Bobby Shuttleworth, Kalifa Cisse, Ryan Guy, Saer Sene and Dimitry Imbongo are scheduled to appear with the Rev Girls.

The event runs from 9 to 11 p.m. and coincides with the team’s pub tour, which is a bus trip to a bar.

The Rev Girls started about four years ago as “the faces of the organization,” Rimes said.

“We needed a team to help promote the team,” she said.

Leonard said organizations are realizing they need the human face in an era when people are being bombarded with social media.

“It is on the new side of things,” she said. In spite of technology, people want to see a “real person” to make the experience human. According to Rimes, professional soccer teams do not hire cheerleaders, and the Rev Girls fit better with the fan culture.

The Rev Girls attend all the home games in Foxboro. They wear a uniform consisting of yoga pants, a jersey and a team scarf. They represent the team at charity and community events throughout New England, and they also go to photo shoots and do other promotions for the team. The work can be difficult, but Leonard is not fazed.

“This is not a cold run for me,” she said. “I’m self-described as a people person. I’ve had so many different experiences working with people. I worked at the East Ferry Deli for years and years, and at McQuade’s and the ’Ganny.”

In college, she took a job serving beer.

“I’ve had experience working with drunk people and keeping a rein on people,” she said. “It can be a little bit of a game of figuring out how to make fun of the situation while working with it.”

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