Women’s History Month: Celebrating Erin Wissing

ewissing spry women history month

Spry is thrilled to celebrate the many successful women in the sport industry. We are proud to work with many of these women and can’t wait to share their stories and successes with you.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Erin Wissing,  Senior Associate Athletics Director/Executive Director of Athletics Development.

Below is a summary of our conversation:

Please give me a brief history of your life/career:

When visiting colleges, Erin fell in love with Wake Forest.  As a member of the dance team, Erin participated in every football and basketball game.  Through her experience in the Athletic Department she got to know the administrators who helped shape her career.  Erin had several summer internships in the sports industry and upon graduation she landed in the development office at Wake Forest.  After several years Erin moved on to Kennesaw State where she launched the annual fund for athletics and helped build the ticketing and external operations for their new football program.  Erin then moved on to Furman where she started as the administrator of the external affairs team and has since shifted to overseeing all athletics fundraising.  Development and athletics are Erin’s passions. She is fulfilled when she connects donors’ passions with the mission of the institution.

What inspired you to want to pursue a career in intercollegiate athletics?

“I want to work where people are passionate about what they do.  College athletics offers that environment. From the athletes, to coaches, administrators, and fans, there is passion all around us.”

Were you a collegiate athlete? A high school athlete? 

Erin was on the dance team at Wake Forest and in high school she was an all-state pole vaulter.

Who were your role models growing up? In sports, in business?

“Ron Wellman, the long time AD at Wake Forest.  He made a big impact and encouraged me along the way.  Ron treated all athletes the same, including me as a dancer, and would take time to talk to me about my career and future. Even as the lowest on the totem pole while on staff, he took time to invest and taught me a lot about true leadership.”

If you could share one bit of advice with tomorrow’s future leaders, what would it be?

  • Speaking specifically to young women, when I started out the majority of women I encountered were not married or didn’t have families, so having the career and personal life I hoped for seemed unlikely.  While daunting, I still pursued a job and ultimately a career in collegiate sports.  
  • Don’t make decisions based on a life you don’t have yet. Work as hard as you can until you hit an obstacle, then evaluate your next move. If you put in the work and find the right culture and team, it is possible to have it all. 

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received was?

Don’t assume you need more degrees to have the career you want. Keep working as hard as you can until you hit a roadblock.  The roadblock may never come, but if it does, you will be ahead of your peers with experience.

Finish the sentence, The best part of my job is – 

The passion of college athletics, it’s woven between donors, student-athletes and coaches.  It is the one thing they all share that makes them great at their jobs.

What is your favorite Ice Cream?

Bruster’s – Key Lime Pie

 

Read the next article in Spry’s Women’s History Month series: Celebrating Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director at Taft College and CCCAA Board Member.