Today we are kicking off the week with out feature: Female Sports Professionals featuring Claire Wright. She has three years experience in the sports industry including working for Orlando Magic ticket sales, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) and currently is the Volusia County Marketing and Events Manager with Central Florida Sports Commission. Check out her experiences and advice.
Please give us a little background on how you got to your current role: I love sports, I played basketball, ran cross-country, and did 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x100 relay, long jump, triple jump and discus in high school…yes I stayed pretty busy. I knew I always wanted to work in sports but just never knew where or how to get there. I received my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from USF and was hired on full time as a personal trainer at the RDV Sportsplex. Knowing that wasn’t something I wanted to do forever, I went for my Masters in Sports Management and as a position became open with the Orlando Magic in Ticket Sales I applied and got the job. About 4 months in, with a huge heart for non-profit and the experience to match, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation created a Coordinator position in which I was blessed to receive. Two years later I was looking for more in the sports industry, I needed more responsibilities and to grow which brings me to where I am now with the Central Florida Sports Commission. It’s the challenge I’ve been looking for as I seek events to come into Central Florida to help advance the economic development of our community through sports.
How did you learn you wanted to get into the sports industry? This was something I knew I always wanted to do…I’ve just been blessed to have the opportunity to work different facets of the sports industry. I’m able to utilize my degree and I’m constantly being challenged to learn new things.
Was there a time or situation that made you second-guess your path? Absolutely. It’s never easy to leave a job you love…but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Fortunately for me, every decision I’ve made has been a good one and brought me to higher places in life I’ve wanted to achieve. Nevertheless, I’m always looking to take myself to the next level.
Please let us know who your mentors were/are on your journey. My mentors start back from when I was in High School; Mrs. Deborah Ziebart was my AP Biology teach and also my cross country coach who always pushed me to work harder and do more. While in college Mr. Marcus Kilpatrick was my Exercise Physiology professor who encouraged me to run my first marathon…it was an unbelievable experience. As I graduated and trained at the RDV Sportsplex I met Lorisse Garcia, who worked in Human Resources for the Orlando Magic who taught me anything I want to go for to do it...and I’ll always succeed. Finally, throughout my journey with the Orlando Magic I was constantly motivated and uplifted by Pat Williams. Whether it was having lunch together or just a simple stopping by each other’s desk to chat..there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t intrigued by his leadership.
Do you think there is a negative ring that automatically lies around females within the sports industry since it’s a male dominated industry? I think for most females in the sports industry we have this bubble over our head that says “ I don’t know anything about sports”…it’s always surprising when I’m the one creating a fantasy football league or joining in conversations with the guys about this morning’s ESPN review. Just goes to show you that the sports industry is changing.
What tips or advice would you give to a female wanting to enter the sports industry? You may have to start off doing something you don’t particularly like, but just to get your foot in the door is step one. Map out your 5 year plan and stick to it. Start with weekly goals and you’ll see yourself progressing in no time. The journey may not be easy but it’s definitely doable if you put in the time and effort.
What would you say to the men who don’t see women as being on the same level when it comes to the sports industry? Rachel Nichols, Linda Cohn, Hannah Storm, Erin Andrews Shannon Spake, Lisa Salters ….oh I’m sorry, these are just a few of the ESPN female reporters and dare I mention Danica Patrick?
Have you had a personal experience where someone doubted you and you proved to him or her that they should support you? I feel like I’ve constantly battled with this. There have definitely been times when I’ve proved someone wrong…and others where even if given the chance to admit they were wrong…they didn’t. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and people like that motivate me even more.
If there were one thing you could change about the sports industry, what would it be? Politics.
What is your favorite sports moment? The Orlando Magic going to the Finals and the company flying everyone there for the first game in L.A. It was the experience of a lifetime!
What is your biggest accomplishment to-date in terms of your experience in the sports world? The impact I’ve made on so many non-profit organizations while working for the Orlando Magic and the impact I’m currently making through economic development for Central Florida.
What are your favorite sport sites online? http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/
Do you have a favorite player/team? Orlando Magic
Favorite sports quote?
"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." -William Arthur Ward
Any advice for the Lady Ballers? Keep up the great work in supporting the sports industry from a female perspective…you are opening eyes and ears everywhere and people are definitely listening
Check out our previous Female Sports Professional interviews as well:
Mahogany Ratcliffe: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Jennifer Taglione: Founder & owner of Stiletto Sports
Jennifer Rodriguez: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Justine Brown: Production-Assistant with the NFL Network
Jessica Quiroli: Baseball blogger & covers HS sports for Ultimate Athlete Magazine
Melissa Miller: Assistant Brand Manager for the Orlando Magic
Amber Anderson: Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for the Orlando Magic
Kathryn Stuart: Course Director, Sports Management and Operations - Masters Program at FullSail University
Are you a female interested in sharing your Professional Sports experience or know a female who would be good to feature? Email us and let us know!