Sports, Entertainment, and Events Industry Interview with Sharyl Morrison

Sharyl is a Colorado native who has lived on the Eastern plains and then the Western slope before settling down in Denver. She has been working in the Sports, Entertainment, and Event industry for about 12 years. In those 12 years, she has worked for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE), Entercom Communications (Alice 105.9, KS 107.5 & KQMT 99.5), the Colorado Rockies, and now the Denver Broncos. Sharyl enjoys attending hard rock concerts, hockey games, hiking with her pup, Colt, and traveling to see family in Nebraska and Texas.

Sharyl Morrison headshot Photo by Sharyl Morrison

Her Campus CU Boulder: “What is your educational background and how did it prepare you for your work in this industry?”

Sharyl Morrison: “I went to Johnson & Wales University first for Culinary Arts for my associate degree, then transitioned to Sports, Entertainment and Event Management (SEE) for my bachelor's degree. The SEE program opened my eyes to what goes into working in sports. It's not all glamour but a lot of work on the back end that nobody sees during an event. It showed me that I wanted to be a part of this world no matter what I was doing in it. But there is only so much you can learn from sitting in a classroom. I learned and prepared for my career through the jobs that I have had since starting the SEE program, and since finishing. I worked as a security guard for KSE for two years while attending classes full time and doing an internship with KSE. Then I got a position with the Colorado Rockies as an usher then as an operations assistant. I also was an usher for the Broncos before I was hired full-time. All those jobs helped me get to where I am now. Without that experience, I would probably be doing some job that I would not enjoy as much.”

mets baseball game Photo by Tomas Eidsvold from Unsplash HCCU: “Since learning never stops, what kinds of ongoing professional development is available to you?”

SM: “I recently joined the Denver Women’s Sport Collective to connect with women in sports, marketing, and event planning in Denver. I was elected as the Event Chair not long after joining. This has helped me meet new people and work more, setting up events I have always been interested in. Not only have I been connecting with women in Denver sports, but this Collective has a wide range of networks all around the country. I am being introduced to podcasts, books, articles, and many other resources to help develop professionally outside of my job. I have also joined a group called IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers), which has helped me connect nationally with other professionals and other great resources to continue my professional development.”

 

HCCU: “Can you describe an average event you worked at Entercom Communications?”

SM: “Due to the recent pandemic, I have been laid off from my position with Entercom Communications. Still, I know that I have a job to go back to with them when this is all over. Events vary within the radio industry. You have remotes, concerts, radio-a-thons, and many different events within the promotions world of radio. Remotes are the most common events. They are typically two hours at a specific location where you are set up with a tent, table, give-away items, and radio personality. Usually, you are promoting a particular client or brand with a radio personality. You are giving away things, talking to fans who come up, taking pictures, and then tearing down your equipment at the end of an event. Concerts and radio-a-thons are more about setting up and doing grunt work. You are just there to help get things started and then to tear down at the end.”

 

HCCU: “I know the Broncos position you are working in is more involved than just on Sundays. Can you describe your day-to-day in the Broncos office?”

SM: “A typical day today in the office is spent on a computer going over emails, working in spreadsheets, scheduling staff, answering phone calls, and going to meetings. It's like a typical desk job, except I do it in a stadium instead of an office building. I have weekly meetings to attend, ranging from staff meetings to event production meetings, depending on what is taking place that week or in upcoming weeks. The one cool part is if I am tired of sitting at my desk too long, I can walk a few laps around the field. Most people don't have that kind of office environment.”

a football Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur from Pexels

HCCU: “So then what is Broncos game day like for you?”

SM: “It’s a very long day, usually between 12 and 14 hours at the stadium. I show up around seven A.M. and then leave whenever everything is completed for the day. The first couple of hours are spent at my desk, checking emails, making and answering phone calls, updating staffing lists, printing notes and deployment sheets. Then I spend time making sure all of our check-in areas are set and ready before our staff starts arriving. Once the team begins showing up, I am usually greeting them, answering questions, catching up with their lives, giving directions, and just being a presence for them to see when they come in the door. As I run the gates, I brief the supervisors for eight of our gates, letting them know vital information for the game. Once we get ready for gates to open, I am checking with supervisors making sure they are fully staffed and, if not, moving staff around to fill all spots. Then I am available to deal with problems that could arise during ingress. While we have ingress, I am checking with our usher supervisors to redeploy staff after gates have finished. Once gates are done and employees are redeployed to their new spots, I typically walk around and check on the team. If I am called to a location for a problem, I handle those, but mostly I am checking and talking to our staff. I try to be available for any needs that could come up. At the end of the game, I am at the checkout, saying goodbye to the staff. Then I help with the sweep of the building to make sure all of our fans have left. We then have a debrief meeting with our captains to go over issues or concerns from the game. Then when they leave, I have a debrief with my manager and director about the game. I then go home and crash because I usually put in about 30,000 steps for a game.”

 

HCCU: “I know it can be hard to relax and have fun when you are working but, do you have a favorite or most fun event you've ever worked?”

SM: “I am a concert person so 90% of the concerts I work, for me, are a lot of fun. A lot of that is because every concert is different, unlike football games. There is a different crowd, tickets are different, and procedures. You never know what is going to happen and I enjoy being able to take a few minutes to watch the show and see how the crowd reacts. Watching people who are attending a favorite show is like watching people open Christmas presents. There is awe and wonder on their faces and it makes me happy that I helped them with that experience. Taylor Swift, Metallica, Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, and Guns N Roses have been my favorite shows so far. I really enjoy all of their music and they all put on an amazing show!”

 

HCCU: “It sounds like there’s a lot of staff management in your current role. From your experience in hiring new employees, can you tell us what things you look for either as a green or red light?”

SM: “I look for experience. I want to see someone who has had a fair amount of experience, like two jobs where you were there for three or more years. Five jobs in one year is a big red flag for me. Having relevant experience isn’t always needed for what I hire for. And then, when I am interviewing, I want to see your personality. I know that it is nerve-racking to interview, but don’t let that take over. I want to know who you are and how you respond to people.”

 

HCCU: “Many people think the Sports Industry is a “man's world”. What is your perspective on this?”

SM: “For the longest time yes, it was a ‘man’s world’ but I think we are finally working towards it not being so male-dominated. I believe this was because men were always the face, always in the media. Now that women’s rights have been thrown into the spotlight you are seeing the women who have been in the background for so long come out into the light. Women are now stepping forward and putting themselves in positions that were male-dominated before, so I think that the industry is changing and evolving.” 

Jess Bhamra Bend It Gif 20th Century Fox via Giphy HCCU: “Last question, what is an event experience you haven't had yet but you want to?”

SM: “An event like the Democratic National Convention in 2008. I have heard so many stories and I think that would have been an awesome event to work. Not just because it was a historical event, but it is one type of event that I have not seen before. The logistics and security that were involved in the event were insane and just to be part of something like that, I could get some great experience.” 

Thank you to Sharyl for taking the time to respond to these questions for us! Working in a pandemic is challenging for all, but we’re glad Sharyl has found a way to network with professional women in the Sports, Entertainment, and Event industry. If you are interested in this industry, it sounds like you will find the work rewarding, in addition to getting your steps in.