Rising Stars Spotlight: Chassidy Holloway

Chassidy Holloway currently serves as the Assistant Executive Director – External Operations at the Midwest Conference, where she first started in 2017 as the Director of Sports Administration, a position funded by the NCAA Division III Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant program. Chassidy graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a concentration in Exercise Science. She then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Sport & Wellness Leadership from Howard Payne University. In 2018, Chassidy attended the Women Leaders National Convention for the first time, which was an experience that changed her approach to her career. Participating in the Career Connect session and mock interviews really helped her focus in on what she wanted and needed professionally. It also allowed her a safe space to step out of her comfort zone. Chassidy said that she was so nervous that she almost walked out of the mock interview session, but the Women Leaders staff was so reassuring without her even having to say anything. 

Why did you join Women Leaders and how has the organization helped you in your career?

During undergrad and grad school, I heard so many great things about NACWA and what would eventually become Women Leaders. Discovering that so many of the women that I admire and look up to were active members made it more appealing. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to speak with Cori Pinkett at the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar that I knew joining was way past due. Women Leaders has been pivotal in the growth of my career. My network continues to grow through connections in the organization. The programming and resources are well crafted and have helped me with being intentional in my professional decision-making. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job working for the Midwest Conference?

The most rewarding part of my job at the Midwest Conference is interacting with our student-athletes and building relationships across our ten member institutions. I’m always looking for ways to connect deeper and find out what we can do as a league to make their experiences enjoyable. It’s about more than wins and losses. 

What has been the biggest difference in working on a campus vs. transitioning to a conference office?  

For me, the biggest difference in working on a campus vs. a conference office is the minimal face-to-face interactions with students. On campus, student-athletes were in and out of my office daily and it took some time getting used to that not happening. I’m fortunate that our office is near one of our campuses and I can find ways to make those interactions happen, whether it’s sitting in on a practice or watching a game. 

If you could only choose one conference championship event to work what would it be and why? 

I really want to say basketball, but I have the most fun at our women’s tennis individual tournament event. It’s the first one of the academic year and it really sets the pace for me. The days are long, but the athletes are always smiling, and they have the most fun. I always learn something new about our student-athletes during the three-day weekend and they don’t mind letting me in on the fun.

With the Spring typically filled with high volume of conference championship seasons, what have you done in the past to manage the ‘madness’ of March? 

In Division III it’s the madness of February that needs to be managed and the key for me is organization. Championship planning for me starts a year in advance and February is championship overload. I thrive off of making checklists and charts to track progress. My personal goal is to be in the follow-up phase three to four months leading up to each championship. Our institutions are also a huge help. A lot of our events are on campuses and their willingness to participate in my checklists makes my job easier. 

What keeps you motivated and focused when you work from home? 

I don’t typically work from home. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is now a thing but not much has changed with the structure of how I get work done. My workspace at home is set up fairly similar to my office space. I love quotes and I have them posted everywhere for motivation. I find that listening to podcasts, sermons or music while I work help keep me on task with just enough background noise to not be distracting. 

This or That? 

  • Twitter or Instagram?
    • Twitter
  • Introvert or extrovert?
    • Introvert
  • Coffee or tea?
    • This is a hard one… I’m from the South and sweet tea is a delicacy. Now, that I live in the Midwest I have become a mocha fanatic, so I guess that means coffee.  

What habit do you have now that you wish you started much earlier?

Within the last year, I’ve really focused more on protecting my mental peace as an act of self-care. Learning to set boundaries in all facets of my life has been really beneficial to my personal and professional development. As a lover of quotes, one of my favorites right now is from Joseph Abboud, “You can’t be all things to all people.” It serves as a great reminder that I am only human and have to make space for myself. I can’t always be superwoman. In order to be the best version of myself for those closest to me, I have to recognize my limitations, recharge, and reflect. In turn, that makes me a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, administrator, etc. 

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

The one piece of advice I’d like to share is one that was given to me and that is to be flexible. Being open and receptive to taking on tasks and opportunities that you haven’t previously considered or weren’t aware of will shape your path in a significant way. In athletics, no job is too small, and every job is important. 

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