Alumni Spotlights are Q&A's with former Brandeis student-athletes, across a myriad of disciplines, as they reflect on their Brandeis experience and how it has shaped their lives today. Read more spotlight features here.
Name: Marissa (Rubin) Pick '07
Current job: Founder, Marissa Pick Consulting
Marissa Pick is the founder of Marissa Pick Consulting LLC. Marissa provides strategic consulting focused on Digital Transformation which includes executive thought leadership, content marketing, and social media strategy.
Prior to founding her own business, she was the Global Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing at the CFA Institute where she oversaw efforts to reach journalists, legislators, policymakers, and investment professionals who play essential roles in shaping the direction of the financial services industry.
Marissa holds a Master of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she graduated with Honors. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Brandeis University where she was a starter on the Brandeis University softball team from 2004-07. You can check out her website or connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
What drew you to Brandeis in the first place?
I fell in love with Brandeis in the Fall of 1996. My brother, Lee, was a freshman and I went with my parents for Visiting Day. It was a quintessential New England day as all the trees were at peak foliage. I remember falling head over heels in love with the campus. Both of my parents are from the Brookline area, and we had family on the north shore, so the location already felt like a second home to me. I looked at other schools and ultimately ended up applying early decision to Brandeis and I’ll never forget the minute the acceptance letter came in the mail. - I was ecstatic and it was time to celebrate!
Describe your overall experience as a student-athlete. What does it mean to you now/what did it mean to you while you were an undergraduate?
Being a student-athlete at Brandeis was a unique and rewarding experience. I loved every minute of playing softball as it provided some of the best memories of my life. My senior year was the first time in years that Brandeis Softball made it to the ECAC tournament. It was such an amazing experience for our team to come together and compete in the post-season. Every single person had a role on the team, and we all found unique ways to connect that drove our success. Our friends traveled to join us and cheer and it’s a memory I’ll cherish, despite the loss.
The most important lesson I learned was the importance of maintaining a balanced commitment between academics, athletics, and friendships. I enjoyed my time competing as a student-athlete at Brandeis, but I was very active within my sorority and other on-campus activities. College is what you make of it, and I dove head in to take advantage of as much as I could.
How did your time as a student and student-athlete at Brandeis prepare you for your career and life after college?
Student-athletes must find a balance between both academic responsibilities and athletic commitments. My time as a student-athlete forced me to stay organized, manage my time efficiently and ensure I was communicating with my professors and coaches to meet my obligations both as a student as well as an athlete. Athletes must develop strong time management skills to get everything done. Balancing academics, athletics, and other commitments can be demanding. As a student-athlete, I learned a valuable life lesson in prioritizing tasks, setting realistic goals, and creating a schedule that allowed me to effectively manage and maximize my time. I found this really helped me to stay on top of my responsibilities and reduce stress.
Brandeis gave me the foundation to succeed, and I’ve taken advantage of the networking availabilities provided through Hiatt as well as many affinity groups I’m involved with, such as Friends of Brandeis Athletics (FOBA). Network as much as you can as a student, and network without an agenda. After all, you never know who you’re going to meet during your time at school and how you may potentially work together years later!
Do you have any advice for current or future Brandeis Student-Athletes?
Enjoy every minute and remember to always be a team player. I encourage you to embrace the concept of teamwork both on and off the field. Foster a supportive and positive team environment, collaborate with your teammates, and be a reliable and accountable member of your team. It’s important to remember that your actions impact not only yourself but also your teammates' experiences. I can’t tell you how much I look back on my time and think about the little moments that make me smile. For example, our team used to shout, "Roll 'Deis Roll!" before every game, and our catcher would jump out of our high five circle and actually roll. She would make us laugh at the tensest moment ahead of an important game and we were able to take a deep breath and laugh.
Do you keep in touch with any of your former Brandeis teammates?
Yes, many of them in fact! I married my college sweetheart, Brandon Pick (Clas of 2008). When we got married our bridal party had seven Brandeis graduates four of whom were our teammates in college. My best friend to this day was my teammate, and incoming Hall of Famer, Kate (Streilein) McClelland (Class of 2008). She was the first person to meet both of our boys in the hospital after they were born, and our families spend a lot of time together making memories for the next generation!
Brandeis athletes quickly became my second family. When we were in season and competing often, I was unable to get home for holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations to celebrate with my family. However, my teammates would host many of us in their families' plans which was so special.
I’m looking forward to coming to Homecoming this fall and hopefully playing in our alumni game and catching up with more teammates and seeing friends I haven’t seen in years.
What personal or professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud of since you graduated?
Personally, I’m proud of the life Brandon and I have built. We currently reside in Short Hills, New Jersey, with our two amazing sons, Lucas and Reid, who are both enjoying being young “student-athletes” as they love school and sports. Both Brandon and I have gotten really involved within our community, Brandon serves on the board of our little league and is coaching Lucas’ team, and I have chaired or co-chaired a variety of events associated with our elementary school! The ability to give back to our community in different ways has been very special. I’m a member of two local softball teams and enjoy playing a few times a week.
Professionally, I operate my own business, Marissa Pick Consulting, which is focused on developing digital media strategies and executives through leadership. I’ve had a great career leading global social media teams within financial services and have been awarded a lot of honors throughout my various jobs, but I’m finally able to achieve a work-life balance I’ve craved for years as a business owner. It’s the best of both worlds and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What has motivated you to stay involved with Brandeis Athletics via FOBA?
Brandeis has been in my family for decades. My grandfather went to Middlesex Medical School, my father got his MFA at Brandeis and my brother graduated from Brandeis in 2000. I met my Brandon at Brandeis as well. I owe a lot to Brandeis and staying involved is a small way to do my part. We felt so indebted to the university that our first son’s middle name is Emet (truth in Hebrew) in large part because of Brandeis.
Brandon is the current FOBA co-chair currently and he works alongside athletic administration to assist with strategic planning for all alumni engagement and fundraising initiatives for Brandeis Athletics.
Brandon and I were active within Brandeisians Of the Last Decade (BOLD) for several years after we graduated, I’ve led the NYC chapter of Brandeis Alumni and been very involved within Brandeis Women. I stay active within Brandeis Athletics to give back to the University which made such a profound impact on my life.
I’ve spoken several times on alumni panels about the power of networking and taking advantage of personal branding and the power of smart social media. I’m always happy to connect with any student-athletes and provide guidance and support. Networking is so crucial for college students, and I am forever grateful to Brandeis for the education, memories, and support it’s given me.
-- lightly edited for clarity