Carla Williams has always been my role model. Her schedule as the University of Georgia Deputy Director of Athletics is demanding. I can’t even imagine the challenges that come along with being a top decision maker for a Division 1-A athletic association and a mother of 3 wonderful kids but somehow Carla Williams always manages to make each encounter that I have with her feel like a welcomed interruption to her mounting obligations.
When I brought Dr. Williams up to speed on The Winning Edge Leadership Academy during one of my summer Georgia visits, I could see the wheels turning in her head. Her vision for what The Winning Edge could be in year one far exceeded anything that my co-founder Corinne Milien and I could have ever imagined. I immediately took out a pen and pad and started jotting down notes on how we could expand our reach and touch as many lives as possible. Carla envisioned The Winning Edge supporting students who earned internships in the sports industry in addition to offering enrichment trips for students to attend networking events. She also made a suggestion that would forever change the course of The Winning Edge. She recommended that UGA partner with The Winning Edge to create an internship position for an individual involved in our leadership academy.
Enter Erin Hendricks. The name Erin Hendricks was constant in my conversations with staff at the University of Georgia Athletic Association. Everyone told the story of a recent graduate from Georgia Southern that was bold and brave enough to cold call a university and ask for an opportunity to learn. In fact, his determination intrigued the UGAA staff and Erin was offered the opportunity that he was seeking. After proving his worth and potential during only a summer internship, Mr. Hendricks was asked to return to Athens for the fall. Here is how Erin describes his current journey at the University of Georgia:
“Within my short time with The University of Georgia I’ve dedicated each day to learning more about the functioning components of a Division 1-A athletic program. Whether it is in Academic Services, Compliance, or Student Services, I’ve literally acted as a sponge soaking up knowledge. Currently, I aspire to work at the college level with student-athletes in any capacity that involves building meaningful relationships and inspiring students to reach their potential in all aspects of life.
In this way I will continue to leave a positive footprint in every organization I step foot in.”
Erin represents everything that The Winning Edge hopes to instill in its students. He displays a willingness to step outside of his comfort zone and create his own opportunity. Since getting his foot in the door he has done nothing but earn a positive reputation as a hard worker and a young man with a brilliant future.
We are beyond thankful to the University of Georgia for being the first, of what we hope will be many, Winning Edge Internship Partner. It is our pleasure to welcome Erin Hendricks into The Winning Edge Leadership Academy family. We are looking forward to providing support to this future sports industry leader.
Words cannot describe the way that our organization has been blessed by individuals who believe in our mission and personally, I am incredibly grateful to have the support of my Alma Mater as this incredible journey takes fight.