Rising Stars Spotlight: Carrie Shearer

Carrie Shearer, a native of State College, Pennsylvania, spent her childhood as a classically trained dancer with a passion for collegiate athletics. While attending school at Duquesne University, she took those passions and turned them into experience. Shearer spent most of her college career interning for the Duquesne women’s rowing team and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, serving as a founding member of the Duquesne Honors College Student Advisory Council, and a commissioned photographer for other Duquesne sports teams and organizations on campus. Shearer graduated in May 2019 with a degree in sports marketing, as well as a minor in sports information and media. 

During the 2019-20 academic year, Shearer worked for NCAA Leadership Development in Marketing and Branding, where she provided content creation, external communications, and brand strategy support as a postgraduate intern to 13 department programs. Her role aided in the planning and execution of the following NCAA programs, in addition to others on the Leadership Development program calendar: Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball and Football, Emerging Leaders Seminar, NCAA | NFL Football Coaches Academy, Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute, Champion Forum – Football, Career in Sports Forum and Pathway Program. 

What brought you to Women Leaders and how has the organization been most beneficial?

My first encounter with Women Leaders was at the 2019 National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. The best part about that journey was that I continued to run into and meet their staff throughout the rest of that year at various industry functions. So when the opportunity presented itself, I could not pass up the chance to work with Team Awesome. They use passion, expertise, and care to always leave others better than they found them. All of that centers around our common belief that sports is a game changer for the people and the places that we care about. That inspires me to bring my best self to my work! I am also a proponent of life-long learning, and every encounter I have with Women Leaders makes me a better human being because of how they value sharing their expertise with others.

As you reflect on your time as an NCAA Postgrad Intern, what was your favorite part about working at the National Office?

What I really appreciate about my time working at the NCAA National Office is that I had the opportunity to collaborate with professionals in every department and at almost every level of the industry; high school, professional, college, national governing bodies, conference offices and more. I was given a rare chance to learn from subject matter experts with a vast array of personal and professional experiences - consistently. That constant exposure changed my idea about the relationship in sports between fandom and passion-driven work – which I think can be a really meaningful distinction for anyone looking to make an impact in this industry. Working in sports is no longer just a part of my life’s past experience or a hope for my future, my heart is in it now to use my skills to help improve the environment of college sports.

What do you hope to gain from your experience as a Women Leaders intern?

I am looking forward to expanding my understanding of organizational strategy and process improvement at Women Leaders; how those things contribute to the quality of learning experiences for our membership. I am passionate about using sports-centered events as an avenue to improve people’s access and desire to engage in community. Because of this, I am excited to learn about how the expertise of an entire team contributes to creating the magic that inspires hearts and empowers today’s sports leaders. 

How do you want to be remembered as a leader in college sports?  

There are three characteristics that I hope will describe my legacy in the college sports industry. My spirit: to have been kind and welcoming to every person that I impact in my career, because I believe community is the most important opportunity we have in sports. My intentions: to have been someone who cares about athletes for more than just their talent and helps empower them to impact the industry as a whole-person, because I know individuals do their best work when they bring an amalgamation of their experiences and lenses with which they see the world to what they do. And finally, my resilience: to have been committed to using my creativity and skills to improve other’s experiences through thick and thin. I think everything that I care about doing in my career can be connected to one of those three things. 

If you could only choose one Women Leaders leadership offering which would it be and why?

 It would be my sincere wish for every Women Leader to attend National Convention. Exposure can often be a catalyst for growth and I think the environment that is so thoughtfully created by the team at Women Leaders for Convention provides an opportunity to have both an intimate learning experience and a meaningful encounter with the big picture of sports and society. This was my personal experience via the people, the content, the conversations, and the passion - reigniting every hope and dream I have for this work. 

What’s on your summer reading list? 

  • Own the Moment (Carl Lentz)
  • It Takes What it Takes (Trevor Moawad)
  • Dare to Lead (Brené Brown)
  • The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life (Jim Tressel)

What are you most looking forward to exploring when you move to Kansas City? 

I am a foodie through and through. Every year I make a list of 30 new restaurants or coffee shops to visit so that I push myself to explore different areas of the city I live in and get to know my way around. So needless to say, I am looking forward to adding all of the Kansas City bests to that list! 

Who is your #BecauseOf? Who helped you become the rock-star leader you are today? 

I am grateful that when I saw this question there were quite a few people that came to mind. In this work I have come to know more people than I ever thought possible, truly a couple thousand in one year. I have worked very intentionally to get to this place of trying my best to learn something significant from every one of those individuals I meet - in this industry and otherwise. I think that mindset has made me the leader that I am because it has reminded me that I can always have more to learn and a place to grow. That being said, I would be remised if I did not credit the NCAA Leadership Development staff for inspiring my leadership style and the values I hold close within that style.

What is one way that you’ve been able to work on your professional development in the summer?

This summer, I have spent a lot of my time relearning my Adobe Suite training and continuing to study new photography techniques. Capturing life’s beautiful moments through photography has always been a creative outlet for me and so it has been important for me to use the free time I have to constantly self-improve and master that skill.

What is one piece of advice you wish to share with fellow Rising Stars?

I recently set a daily reminder on my phone that prompts me with: “Did you see the gold in someone today?” (credit to Carl Lentz for the idea). I would encourage anyone to do this because the scale of our work in the sports industry and its impact is, more times than not, bigger than we comprehend. So, this is one easy action that brings my perspective into focus. 

Rising Stars is a members-only program designed to assist emerging professionals in developing, connecting, and advancing in their careers. If you're a student, intern, graduate assistant, or young professional with less than three years of full-time experience, this is the program for you!

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