College of Business

An Athlete's Take on the SSP

“Healthy competition only pushes us to better ourselves and the people around us. Everyone involved in this program has done an amazing job creating an environment that supports forward growth and always strives for more.”

Kelli's headshot

Meet Kelli Litchfield! Kelli is a Business Administration major with a Marketing option. Kelli chose Chico State to continue her soccer career where she has played with the Women’s Soccer team for three years now. Kelli has learned so much from the Chico State athletic department but wanted to find ways to get involved in something more specific to her career aspirations.

When Kelli heard about the Seufferlein Sales program, in Dr. Timothy Heinze class, she thought it was a perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience in her field of study. Kelli says that joining the SSP staff was one of the best decisions that she has made in her time at Chico State. Since joining the team, Kelli mentioned how supportive everyone is of her soccer responsibilities and the crazy schedules that come along with being a student athlete. A perfect example of this is when the SSP’s executive director Tom Villa brought his family out to watch one of Kelli’s games for the first opportunity he could. 

Kelli appreciates how the Seufferlein Sales Program gives opportunities to build relationships with members and corporations. Building relationships with corporate partners helps students get a head start when job searching, where they can seamlessly transition into jobs after college. Countless students have gained the networking experience to effectively communicate with future employers by being a part of the sales program. Kelli was personally able to get a summer internship with one of our very generous corporate sponsors, which she believes would not have been possible without the relationships built through this program.Being involved in sports her whole life has ingrained a competitive mentality in her that aligns with the SSP. 

Kelli also speaks about how she believes the most valuable thing you can gain is knowledge, and how the Seufferlein Sales Program has provided her with many opportunities to gain knowledge. With the help of the SSP staff and her mentor Ana Flores, Kelli felt confident to hit the ground running. Being a part of the decision making within the Seufferlein Sales Program, has already provided Kelli with so much real-world experience. Everything the SSP team does is directly applicable to the workforce and sets students for success in their future endeavors.

Kelli is thankful that this program has provided her with the opportunities to learn by doing. Getting hands-on experience, while building relationships with her peers has been incredible. Kelli’s advice to anyone is to get involved. Whether it’s sports, clubs, or work opportunities, it's never too early to start. You can only better yourself by pushing your limits and getting outside your comfort zone. "Thank you to the Seufferlein Sales Program for everything!" She exclaims.

“One of the best experiences of my life aside from being a student athlete. It’s given me more than I could have imagined. One of the best decisions by far I’ve made.”

Headshot of Makaela Keeve.

Meet Makaela Keeve! Makaela is a current SSP student pursuing her Professional Sales, Analytical Leadership, and Communicative Leadership Certificates while also competing in sales competitions like the Sweet 16 Sales Challenge, California State University Sales Competition, and Arizona Collegiate Sales Competition. Makaela also plays on the Chico State volleyball team and has been a part of the #wildcatfam since her freshman year. She has seamlessly blended her sports life and professional life, and we are excited to share a little bit more about her today.

Makaela has always been competitive, and it’s what drew her to Chico State to play sports---when Professor Tim Heinze spoke about the Seufferlein Sales Program, she saw it as the perfect way for her to demonstrate her competitive spirit in a business setting. She believes that healthy competition is important both within sports, and in the sales environment. Makaela spoke about how many athletes are happy with sports being their main priorities at school, but that she believes it’s possible to develop a more well-rounded identity at Chico State. She believes that it is important for student athletes to create opportunities for themselves outside of sports. She accomplished this by joining the Seufferlein Sales Program per Dr. Heinze’s recommendation.

When asked about her favorite memories in the program, Makaela was quick to answer. “Beating Tom’s team,” was her answer; Tom Villa is our Executive Director and is notorious for constantly encouraging healthy competition (AKA talking a lot of smack), so when Makaela had the chance to join one of the two Chico State teams competing in the California State University Sales Competition, she was quick to accept. She joined the team coached by our very own Ryan Brumfield, while Tom coached the other team. In the end, Makaela’s team came out on top, and she is glad to remind Tom of his defeat every time she sees him. This speaks directly to the comradery and competitive spirit within our program.

Overall, Makaela has valued her time in our program. She continues to emphasize that she feels far more prepared to adventure out into the professional world not only with the skills that the SSP has provided her, but also with the connections she has gained; she spoke fondly of being able to go to class and recognize her peers from the program as well as communicate professionally with corporate partners.

Student athletes contain different characteristics than normal individuals; they are competitive and proficient at time management, which carries directly over into other areas of life. Student athletes can translate these valuable skills into other areas of their lives, like the Seufferlein Sales Program. Seufferlein Sales Program students are excellent communicators and great at prioritization, which can also carry over into other areas of their lives, such as sports. Our program prepares students for networking which is something that everyone will do, and opens you up to career opportunities while learning to market yourself.

Makaela, we are so proud to have you in our program. You are an incredible SSP student and athlete!

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usca, University Sales Center Alliance


For assistance filling out your application, please visit our office in Glenn 206 or email  


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Glenn Hall Room 206


Thomas Villa
Executive Director 

Kristen Chatham
Program Manager

Finn Blacker
Operations Assistant  

Natalie Bourn
Corporate Relations Assistant 

Ashley Gay
Corporate Relations Assistant

Chad Haller
Marketing Assistant

Hannah Taft
Marketing Assistant

Tyler Shaw
Operations Assistant

Ian Howes
Operations Assistant

Lia Vansoest
Competition Coach 

David Gross
Competition Coach

Annie Belter
Operations Assistant

Leah Swaigen
Operations Assistant

Letter from the Executive Director

"The Seufferlein Sales Program (SSP) finished the 2022/2023 academic school year with 544 students enrolled in our program representing 64 different majors! Whether you are an engineering, IT, communications, liberal arts, computer science, really any major,  we want you to come check out our 21 unit sales certificate." Read the whole letter for our Executive Director here.

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A Student Athlete's Take on the SSP

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