🌟 Rising Stars Spotlight: Christal Peterson  🌟

Christal Peterson is in her first year as the Coordinator of Student-Athlete Success, Inclusion, and Leadership at Wheaton College. Prior to Wheaton College, Peterson earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Science Pre-Clinical at the University of Central Florida and was a 2x Second Team All-American sprinter on the track and field team. She went on to earn a dual master’s degree in Business Administration and Sports Business Management from the University of Central Florida, while working with Student-Athlete Welfare and Development.

Why did you join Women Leaders in College Sports? 

I joined Women Leaders because my best friend, the membership intern at the time, Briana Vaughn, kept telling me about this great organization of women who are beating the odds, breaking the glass ceiling stigma and lifting as they rise to encourage the next generation like myself to do the same.

What advice would you give to aspiring Rising Stars? 

That what you do in this world matters, no matter where you are in life or whatever walks of life you come from. Your experiences are valid. Your contribution to this world is valid. You do not have to do anything spectacular to matter because you do. It is your resiliency and motivation to succeed, not only for yourself, but for those you impact that is what sets you a part.

What is the most significant goal you have yet to achieve?

My role at Wheaton College is to create a sustainable Leadership and Life Skills program for the four years that our students are here at Wheaton. Through what I learned from the NCAA Leadership Academy Workshop, my goal is to create a program that transforms our students from the inside out by equipping them with the necessary tools/skills that will empower them to challenge and change the world around them in a positive way.

What is the last book you finished? 

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Stephen R. Covey (Foreword)

How do you empower yourself?

By being authentic and taking ownership in the things I do have control over. I believe that to be empowered you must authentically step into who are as a person underneath all the doubts, fear, and insecurities.

The most fascinating trivia on Wheaton College is…

Our synchronized swimming team was featured in the Julia Roberts’s movie, Mona Lisa Smile!

Bucket list items:

  • To see The Lion King on Broadway in New York! I am calling it now!
  • To visit Knoxville, Tennessee- Don’t ask me why, for some reason I am just drawn to that city!

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

The quote “it takes a village to raise a child” is one that I would use when thinking back on the many people who have poured into me over the years, but I would like to highlight three people who have helped me become the person I am today. First, my former track and field coach Caryl Gilbert Smith because she was my first introduction into what it meant to be a woman in sports. She was tough yet sassy, pretty yet power, strong yet vulnerable, and showed a level of humility like no other when it came to her philosophy on mentoring young women like myself. Finally, Cori Pinkett and Marcus Sedberry for being the catalyst to what it is I do today. It is because of these two that took me in at a very challenging time of my collegiate career and let me know that I could be and WILL be somebody outside of my sport. Because of them, I wanted to be able to recreate that same feeling for my students that I felt many years ago.

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!

Joining is easy: First, follow the Rising Stars community. Click here, then select "Follow Community" on the right-hand side. (You must be logged into your Women Leaders account).



Once you've joined, you're automatically opted in to receive the Rising Stars monthly newsletter, you'll be invited to Rising Stars Circle calls, you can join our closed Facebook group, and you'll hear from past Rising Stars Award recipients about how they kicked glass and exceeded all expectations!

If you have questions or problems logging in, contact Megan Cairns.