CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Coming off a fifth-consecutive shutout win and with eight days until the next game, the North Carolina field hockey team took a morning to focus on life after sport with the program’s Career Symposium.
Organized by alumna Louise Hines, the event gives current Tar Heels an opportunity to network with former players who offer advice on their fields, but even more importantly on navigating careers and life after college. The fifth Carolina Field Hockey Career Symposium took place on Sept. 24 at Karen Shelton Stadium.
In addition to Hines, who is now Assistant VP for Sports Marketing/Hospitality at MassMutual, alums who participated were Leslie Lyness (neurosurgeon), Alison Stewart Cleveland (principal at Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C.), Riley Foster Gaines (nurse anesthetist at UNC Hospitals), and Casey Burns White (attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP).
“On behalf of the entire team, we really appreciated the opportunity to speak with different women from our alumni pipeline about their diverse career paths,” said senior Meredith Sholder, one of the Carolina team captains. “These women shared their stories and answered so many of our questions about our future potential career paths, leaving us completely inspired. We were able to connect with them on a personal level, as well as a professional level, and their willingness to give back and help us through this process truly means so much to us. It’s such a privilege to have this mentorship, and we are really lucky and grateful.”
The morning started with networking over breakfast before a panel discussion in the team’s film room. Each alum spoke about her own field but also offered general advice and ways that the experience of being a field hockey student-athlete at UNC continues to resonate with them and impact their lives.
To wrap up, each offered some parting advice, ranging from life lessons – many of which traced back to their time at UNC – to career thoughts:
• Follow your passions and choose a profession that you love, or continue to work toward that goal if you find yourself on a different path.
• It all matters … pay attention to details and the little things
• Tell the people you love that you love them, because life circumstances can change quickly
• Be flexible in your professional and personal lives
• Practice humility and own your mistakes
“I am so proud of our alums and the paths they’ve taken in life,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “The fact that they continue to come back and mentor our current Tar Heels means so much to all of us – they’ve chosen to give back in this important and meaningful manner that has such an impact on the culture of our program and the people in it. Our players understand that they’re part of something much larger than this year’s roster. We’re all incredibly grateful to these five for the success of this year’s event, and to all of the graduates who impact our program through their continued involvement. “