We have been on a little hiatus due to the NBA Playoffs (RIP Magic) taking our attention but we are back with a BANG! Today we are featuring Lauren Shehadi with CBS as CBSSports.com/CBS College Sports Network Anchor and Reporter.
How long have you been in the sports industry? 6 years
Please give us a little background on how you got to your current role: I work daily as an anchor for CBSSports.com. I also cover college football and action sports for The CBS College Sports Network. I remember when I stopped playing sports, there was a void to fill. At the time, I was a freshman at the University of Florida and thought I could keep sports a part of my life by majoring in sports journalism. My first interview was Steve Spurrier, I was shaking in my boots.
How did you learn you wanted to get into the sports industry? Lazy Sundays on the couch watching the Washington Redskins play with my dad, all I could think about was that I wanted to be at that game...the crowd, the music, the energy…it’s fantastic. Still to this day, whether I’m at a tee-ball game or the Super Bowl, when that National Anthem plays, I get goose bumps. Sports are a sweet escape and lately we as a people have needed something to take our mind off things for a minute.
What was the first step you took to get into the sports industry? I was an overnight editor at a local tv station. Ever watch the news and see the lotto numbers flash on the screen? That was my job! I worked from 3 AM to noon every day for 2 years. I felt like I was earning an opportunity at something greater…
Was there a time or situation that made you second-guess your path? Sure. Everytime I mess up, I think “Am I cut out for this?” I’ll be honest…I’m afraid to fail…and that drives me.
Please let us know whom your mentor(s) were/are on your journey. Lesley Visser is THE pioneer, the first woman to be recognized by the pro football Hall of Fame. She’s also a wonderful friend and mentor…if you ask her the batting order of the Red Sox 20 years ago, she can rattle it off, she’s the real deal. Sam Ryan is fantastic…she knows how to balance family and career and she makes it look effortless. I also work with a broadcast coach Alex Wilson, she’s tough and tells it to me straight and in this business, that’s what you need. She worked as a broadcaster for years and she’s lived it, she just gets it.
Do you think there is a negative ring that automatically lies around females within the sports industry since it’s a male dominated industry? Get that stuff out of your head! Does you no good.
What tips or advice would you give to a female wanting to enter the sports industry? If you waiver for even one minute when someone asks you what you want to do or whether or not you are willing to move to the ends of the earth to get your first job, I would say, stay away. You have to want it, because if you don’t, then working Christmas Day and New Years Eve, and traveling on 6 planes in a week or doing a stand-up in -50 degree weather may be too much. If you’re willing though and you work hard, it will pay off. My first job was at KXMC-TV in Minot, North Dakota…at the time, the move seemed daunting, having lived my whole life in Washington, DC. I now look at North Dakota as my second home but if I never took the leap of faith, I wouldn’t be here. I remember landing in North Dakota, having never been there with all my stuff packed and thinking, this is my home for the next two years, make it the best and most productive two years of your life, and it was. I have lifelong friends there and I love to visit. It’s a wonderful place.
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? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can only worry about me and how prepared I am. There is going to be someone who doesn’t like your work or doesn’t want you to have the job you have…it’s just negative energy.
Have you had a personal experience where someone doubted you and you proved to him or her that they should support you? My first news director in Florida…I was editing and working the overnight shift and I desperately wanted to become a journalist. After my shift was over, I would follow our sports director on his shoots. Whatever he said on his broadcast, I would do my own separate version and afterwards, I would watch the tape and see what I could improve upon. Athletes aren’t the only ones who can watch film. ☺ After two years of begging her to put me on air for “just one shot” and after she declined, I gave her my two week notice. I haven’t talked to her since but I hope she gave the girl after me a chance. She’s a great lady and I hope I changed her thinking even just a little. I don’t even think she knows I’m working in the business, should we send her this interview?!!:)
If there were one thing you could change about the sports industry, what would it be? The sensationalism. Report the facts, let’s stop speculating just because it sounds more extreme.
What is your favorite sports moment? When Cal Ripken Junior broke Lou Gehrigs streak of consecutive games played…I’ll never forget it, I was about 12, it felt like I was clapping for a lifetime. The O’s were playing the Angels at Camden Yards…and I remember thinking even at that young age, I’m watching something really special.
What is your favorite sport quote? I was about to go live on the air for the very first time and there was a sticky note on my desk that said “Appear like a duck, calm and controlled on the outside, struggling like hell underneath.” I can relate.
What is your biggest accomplishment to-date in terms of your experience in the sports world? Being able to give young girls advice is a wonderful feeling. I was and am still in their shoes…trying to make a mark. We are all in this together.
Do you have a favorite player/team? When I first started at CBS, one of my very first interviews was Derek Fisher of the LA Lakers. I was 25 years old and figured he was going to try to finish the interview as soon as possible because who was I, right? WRONG…what a class act. He was grateful and insightful and everything I want to be. He didn’t make me feel like I was a rookie…and I’ve never forgotten that.
Any advice for female fans or female sports professionals? Go for it! Start now! Full steam ahead. When you go on auditions, even if you don’t get the first one…make them a fan of yours. I sent out 100 resume tapes to get my first job. I got only 1 call back. That’s all I needed.
Check out our previous Female Sports Professional interviews as well:
Alana Glass: Founder & Owner of http://www.iwanttobeanowner.com/
Claire Wright: Previously with the Orlando Magic and now Events Manager with Central Florida Sports Commission.
Mahogany Ratcliffe: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Jennifer Taglione: Founder and 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 and covers high school 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!