Everyone has a story.
The people who work behind the scenes in the Blue Jackets organization are, by and large, just like you: they love the Blue Jackets through thick and thin, through good times and bad.
This is the story of Kathryn Dobbs, a passionate and hockey-loving Canadian who has impacted the lives of children in many different cities - and that passion is now part of the Blue Jackets.
Kathryn Dobbs was speechless when she got the phone call from the Blue Jackets.
They asked if she would be interested in leading the organization’s Foundation and community relations efforts, a position she envisioned as a dream job. After a year-plus in the organization, she can confidently say it is just that.
“Shortly after I started working in the non-profit sector I learned that the Blue Jackets had a Foundation with a non-profit arm,” Dobbs said. “That completely excited me. I never had a ‘dream job’ until I learned that this job existed.”
Dobbs grew up in northern Ontario in a family that, unsurprisingly, was hockey-crazy. Both her brother and sister played and her father coached – but despite hockey being so prevalent, she never grew up truly loving a specific NHL team.
She moved to Mansfield, Ohio to work for the YMCA during the Blue Jackets’ inaugural season in 2000, and that void was quickly filled.
“This was my team,” she said, and even when her career took her to other cities and states, her heart remained in Columbus.
When Dobbs started working for the Columbus YMCA, the first call she placed was to the Blue Jackets.
“I got up from a desk and walked down to the arena,” she recalled. “I gave this big pitch that I had been holding on to for years; I wanted to get more hockey sticks in more hands, and I knew that Columbus was the place to do it.”
The Blue Jackets presented the YMCA with $20,000 that went to youth hockey development for children who might not have the resources to play. Two months later, the Blue Jackets assisted the YMCA in promoting summer literacy by purchasing books for low-income childcare sites in Columbus.
The partnership between the YMCA and Blue Jackets is entering its third season, and remains close to Dobbs’ heart.
And in early 2015, just as the Blue Jackets and city of Columbus were preparing to host the hockey world for the NHL All-Star Weekend, Dobbs officially became a Blue Jacket. In her role as VP of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Blue Jackets Foundation, Dobbs looks at the team’s assets and figures out how to allot resources to the appropriate organizations in order to help the most people.
“When I first heard about my current position, I thought to myself, ‘someday I would love to do that job,’” Dobbs said. “Looking back, I didn’t have the experience and did not know what the position would entail.
“I was pleasantly surprised that so much of the experience I had previously gained was able to be transferred over to the Jackets. We have people who have been at the Blue Jackets and in the sports industry for a long time. My background in non-profit is unique. I bring an entirely different perspective to the table, and I think my background complements the expertise that already exists on our executive staff.”
For Dobbs, the most gratifying part of her role with the Blue Jackets is the spirit of giving that she witnesses every day.
“It’s a tough world that we’re living in. When people have the opportunity to help others, it’s not only doing good for the people who are being helped, it’s also doing incredible things for the people who are doing the helping,” she said. “That’s the magic – connecting those dots and helping people discover what they care about is just awesome.”
She counts herself in that group of people, fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in an industry she’s passionate about and for causes she believes in. Working for the Blue Jackets also gives an advantage over her siblings.
“Coming from a hockey family, we always hoped someone was going to make it to the NHL,” Dobbs said. “We just didn’t think that person would be me.”
To learn more about the Blue Jackets Foundation and its initiatives in central Ohio, click here.