When Light Breaks Through
Shelby Clayton is a ray of light. She illuminates every room she enters. Her disposition exudes optimism and this Atlanta native has decided to take this light to the world of sports.
A loyal Georgia Bulldog, Shelby has developed an established career at the intersection of sports, technology, and media and currently works for Twitter as a Sports Partnerships Manager.
Her career began at ESPN, working in digital sales and strategy and landed where I am today at Twitter as a Sports Partnerships Manager. Each day, she connects brands with sports content.
And this is where our post-live cast interview with Shelby starts.
During our Live Cast, you discussed your career and how your world view has evolved. As a member of the mini-generation caught between millennials and Gen Z, what advice would you give to young people about how to successfully start a career in 2020?
My first piece of advice would be to find highly competitive opportunities to stand out. It’s important to say yes to new and unfamiliar opportunities that have the potential to lead you to a better future that you might not have originally thought of for yourself. There is a key framework that hasn’t changed over the last few generations: networking, gaining experience, etc. But now in 2020, we have access to creative tools and resources to assist us in starting our careers. While starting a career isn’t easy, it’s important to take advantage of the tools available (LinkedIn, having a digital presence, etc.) that can assist you in building a fulfilling career.
It’s important to say yes to new and unfamiliar opportunities that have the potential to lead you to a better future that you might not have originally thought of for yourself. – Shelby Clayton
The work culture in the tech world has been a hot topic throughout 2020. Without being specific about your workplace, how does working in the tech field differ from your experiences working in media?
Working in tech is an entirely different culture from the world of media. Tech companies are newer to the workforce and I’ve had the opportunity to adopt a new culture of free expression and coming to work as you are, which steers away from the traditional corporate setting. In tech, there are more areas to innovate quicker or make an impact on a product and things are constantly changing and fast paced.
In your current position, you serve as a partner to Fortune 500 advertisers, striving to understand their objectives, recommend best practices, and develop effective campaigns. What is the most relevant piece of advice you would give to someone in the world of corporate sales?
One piece of advice would be to know your client’s business just as much as your own. Coming to the table knowing your client or partner’s challenges before they tell you lets them know there is a genuine interest in wanting them to succeed when it comes to providing relevant and effective solutions.
You worked as a Programmatic Analyst at ESPN and now work in the tech industry. Please discuss your experiences as a female working in a male-dominated industry. What insight can you provide for other women faced with the same situation?
When working in a male-dominated industry, it’s important to stay confident in your ability to do the job you were hired for. Your value does not depend on being male or female. It’s your skill set, experience, and work ethic that are the most important qualities to achieve success. I always affirm to myself that I earned and deserved my seat at the table. I also advocate for myself when necessary.
Your value does not depend on being male or female. It’s your skill set, experience, and work ethic that are the most important qualities to achieve success. – Shelby Clayton
You served as a Generation Y (millennial) panelist on CNN. What did you learn from that experience? As a panelist, you discussed race relations. What is your current stance on race relations in the United States?
I learned that no matter my age, we all have the power to use our voice and influence change. While we have come a long way, we are still faced with institutionalized and systemic racism that continues to plague the Black community. Until we solve the root causes of racism in America, we will continue to have injustice, inequity, and inequality. With recent protests across America and in the professional sports community, I am hopeful that meaningful change will take place and move the needle towards a more just society. I am proud to work for a platform that is continuing to amplify Black voices, including Black athletes’ voices to propel the movement.
I learned that no matter my age, we all have the power to use our voice and influence change. – Shelby Clayton
You attended the University of Georgia. How did UGA advance your career and should Black women aspiring for a career in the business industry consider an undergraduate education from UGA? Explain your stance.
UGA advanced my career by affording me a first-class learning experience at the School of Communications and Mass Journalism where I studied advertising. I was given hands-on experience to work on real campaigns for corporate clients and was selected to join a new certificate program with Google AdWords and that opportunity alone allowed me to stand out from my peers when interviewing for my first job at ESPN. I would encourage Black women to consider an undergraduate education from UGA because of the robust opportunities provided inside and outside of the classroom. Not only are there many majors to choose from, UGA has a wide array of student-led organizations that provides incredible networking opportunities and leadership experience.
When reflecting on your personal journey. What is one life lesson that you can share with our audience?
Two words that stuck with me during our UGA commencement speech from our speaker, Good Morning America’s Amy Robach, were “Say yes!” Throughout my personal journey, there have been many moments of hesitation and uncertainty as new adventures awaited. Every decision post-graduation can feel daunting and the wrong decision can have a lasting impact on your career. But instead of letting fear and doubt determine my path, I said yes to opportunities that got me to where I am today. Let your curiosity, ambition, drive, and belief in yourself drive you to saying yes to your ideas, plans, and goals.
When Demon Sperm, COVID-19, and Ignorance Flow Freely