By his own admission, Danny Quin ‘11 had no intention of going to college. The Ayer native was disillusioned by his high school experience and was more interested in following in his parents’ footsteps by enlisting in the military than continuing his education.
“My mom begged me to go to college, at least for two years, and if the military was what I wanted to do after that, she’d support it,” Quin recalled.
With an interest in media, Quin found Fitchburg State. “Needless to say, after two years, I couldn’t leave,” he said.
Quin credits Professor Rob Carr in the Communications Media Department for changing his life. One day, after turning in a paper for Carr’s class, the professor stopped him on his way out. “Rob put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You’re better than this. I want you to take this paper, I want you to take another week, and I want you to write it again. And I want you to put your heart into it.’ He said, ‘Don’t write with a word count, write with your heart.’ That was the turning point in my college life. He took me under his wing and asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I want to work in sports.’”
And so he would. Quin found an internship at Comcast SportsNet (later renamed NBC Sports Boston) that turned into a freelance position and, later, a full-time job. “I lived my dream for almost eight years,” Quin said. “I covered two Patriots Super Bowls, one Red Sox World Series, and two Olympic games.”
In 2016, Quin was helping to cover the Olympic games in Rio (though he was stationed in a newsroom in Connecticut), with his then 5-day-old son waiting at home. “We had the largest streaming operation ever for a singular event,” he said. While he was organizing the coverage, one of the weightlifters suffered a gruesome injury. While grim, the news quickly went viral. “We had millions of views on the website within the hour,” he said.
For their work that month, Quin's team won an Emmy in 2016.
Quin loved the rush of covering breaking news, whether it was the high of Malcolm Butler’s game-winning interception that won the Super Bowl for the Patriots in 2015, or the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing.
But it also took a toll on his work-life balance. He worked a lot of night shifts, and found himself missing milestones in his young children’s development. He decided it was time to move on to a new career chapter.
“When I left the industry, someone reminded me, ‘Don’t look at yourself as what industry you’re in; look at your life as a storyteller.’”
Four years ago, Quin put his storytelling skills to work at UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he is part of the marketing and communications teams. His ability to thrive under pressure was put to the test when, months after he started, the pandemic hit. He was again called upon to produce accurate, timely information, for an audience that was desperate for updates.
Quin successfully balanced high performance and high stress, but he still found his mental health struggling. “I was super depressed and super anxious, and I didn’t know it,” he said. “When I left NBC I was basically a shell of who I wanted to be. I was grouchy, I was stubborn. My wife called the doctor for me.”
The decision to focus on mental health has been another life-changing one for Quin. “I’ve made it my mission to talk about depression and anxiety so no man needs to suffer in silence,” he said. “I speak about the moment I went on medication, and how I didn’t want it to change who I was. But who I was wasn’t actually who I was.”
Quin founded the Mental Health Role Models Podcast to serve as his platform. “It’s brave discussions with people who are trying to break that stigma,” he said. “It’s OK to open that door and become someone who talks about it.”