Katie Congdon, Associate Athletic Director of Development/ Co-SWA
Women Leaders: Think back to five years ago, did you envision this is where you would be in your career?
KC: Not even close. Five years ago I was pretty sure I would be on the sports information side of a DIII department in the Northeast, so my vision for my career has definitely changed.
Women Leaders: What do you wish you would’ve known back when you first started your career in athletics?
KC: I wish I knew when I started, that I had no idea where my career would take me. When I started, I had a very clear vision of where I saw my career going and how I wanted to get there, but I am glad I have been open to learning more about the industry as a whole and adapting my goals as I go.
Women Leaders: What has been your most rewarding career accomplishment to date?
KC: The relationships I have built at each institution with both my colleagues and the student-athletes has been the most rewarding part of my career to date. Working with student-athletes is why I love my job, and my colleagues along the way have been pretty incredible. I am so appreciative of their comradery and willingness to help even after we are no longer at the same institution. I feel very fortunate for the network of friends and mentors I have built.
Women Leaders: If you could do your career over again, what would you do differently?
KC: Right after college I worked in publishing for five years, so when I initially made the transition I really wished I had started working in intercollegiate athletics right out of the gate. As I move forward in my career though, I am really grateful for my time outside of athletics and for the things I learned in that role that I was able to bring with me into this industry. If I were to begin again, I would have become more involved in professional development opportunities and networking right away. It is remarkable how much we can learn from each other, and how willing people in our industry are to help each other.
Women Leaders: What advice can you offer someone who wants to progress in their career?
KC: I would pass along some of the same advice I received, which was to be really good in your current role and to volunteer to help others in the department if you have the chance. When you work hard to be really good at your job it doesn’t go unnoticed, and volunteering to help others when you can is always a good thing. Volunteering helped me to get to know my colleagues better, to build friendships throughout the department, to learn more about different aspects of athletics, and it helps to bank those good karma points for times when I need help from others. The athletic department is a team sport, and it helps to be a good team player.
Women Leaders: What books and/or podcast are you currently listening to or reading?
KC: Good to Great, Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins, and I can’t wait for Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy. I was extremely inspired by her talk at the Women Leaders Convention this fall.
Women Leaders: Do you have a favorite quote that you live by?
KC: This is always changing! Currently I would say Lily Tomlin’s quote “The road to success is always under construction” has been ringing true, and of course John Wooden is constantly in the rotation.
Women Leaders: What is the most significant goal you have yet to achieve?
KC: My ultimate goal is to be an Athletic Director, and to be a really good in that role. I believe each step I have taken has given me important experience and insight regarding what the position entails so that when I do step into the role I will be prepared. I have been lucky enough to work under fantastic and diverse leaders who have taught me a lot about how to run a successful department.