PM360 recently spoke to Natalie Cummins, SVP & Chief Commercial Officer at BioReference Laboratories, about a passion for sports and helping to bring them back during the pandemic.
PM360: Where did your love of sports originate?
Natalie Cummins: I grew up in Syracuse, NY where Syracuse University basketball is the end all be all. My uncle used to take my cousin and I to games in the Carrier Dome and it was the coolest thing to be a part of this large basketball community. Once I had kids, I would bring them to games and thought I had made them lifelong fans. But now my older son, Nicholas, goes to Virginia Tech, so he tells me we must all be VT fans, although I’m secretly still cheering for Syracuse.
So, do you now go to a lot of VT games?
My son is season ticket holder for VT football, so we attend some games. Actually, we went to the Syracuse vs. VT game, where for the very first time in my life, I was rooting against Syracuse. However, Syracuse did prevail, so I had a little happiness secretly in my heart.
In addition to watching sports, what kind of activities do you like to do together?
We go hiking both locally in New Jersey, including a trail in Morristown where George Washington once had a site, and have been to Utah where we hiked at Bridal Veil Falls and went up the mountain at Sundance. We also love to bike, including at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. Then at home, we have adopted ping pong as the family sport. Between the four of us, we play some very intense games, but my husband and older son generally prevail because they have a nasty serve.
At work, you also manage sports for BioReference, which has become the COVID tester for major leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, and MLB. Given that, what did it mean to see the NBA come back as the first major sport in 2020?
We were working from home and the NBA had become a huge part of my day. Then, I walked downstairs and my husband and sons were watching the Lakers vs. Clippers game, and it was one of those cool feelings to know you helped bring something back to life that was turning into joy right in my very own living room.
What are you most looking forward to about sports in 2022?
At BioReference, we have a very exciting January and February as we will be supporting the testing for the NHL Winter Classic, the NFL Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl, and the NBA All-Star game—all in the first six weeks of the year. So it will be a crazy but fun kickoff to the year. Then personally, I am looking forward to more VT football. Plus, my younger son who is a senior in high school is looking at VT, Northeastern, Cornell, and a few other schools, so I can’t wait to see if I may soon become either a Northeastern hockey fan or a Cornell lacrosse fan.
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