How CC Carnie Built A Career In Both The Sports And Entertainment Industries
Those who read our site regularly know how difficult it is to break in to the sports business industry. If you’re a woman, multiply that difficulty by 100. One woman, CC Carnie, has been able to defy those odds and build a career in both sports and music.
While attending Plymouth State University, part of The University of NH system, CC began to get involved in the music industry. “In my sophomore year, I got heavily involved at the college radio station, became an on-air personality/DJ, then Music and Program Director. That started me on the road to my first career journey in the music business before I went into the Sports Industry in 2008,” said CC.
“While in college, I was always attending industry conferences and communicating with the record labels on a weekly basis, Bad Boy, Def Jam, Interscope and the like. I ended up becoming close friends with many of the staff at those labels, many of whom are still close friends to this day. One friend in particular, MC Serch, who was VP of Promotions at Def Jam at the time, became my mentor and helped me navigate getting my foot in the door post-graduation. So many of the things I learned early in my career with the labels, artists, and in the music industry in general have carried over to my career in the sports industry.”
“Most importantly I would say is to always be authentic, honest, transparent and don’t bulls**t people. Yes, at times it will be to your detriment. But I have always found that people respond to authenticity and in an industry where so much is smoke and mirrors, to the ones that matter and who share your sensibilities, you will be a breath of fresh air,” continued CC.
CC eventually helped build up the company Serchlite and became a partner there. While she had built a successful name and career in the music business, she felt she was ready for something new. “At the time, in 2007-08, I was a partner at Serchlite, which was a company I helped build from the ground-up. There was so much that went into building the company—fostering and managing relationships, breaking artists, managing budgets and payroll—I understood that building a brand was an all-encompassing job, so I gave it everything I had. I was in the meetings, I went on tour, I did everything across the board. Whatever needed to get done, I did it,” said CC.
“By 2008, I had been in the music industry for 9 years, where I got to work with some of the biggest acts in the world and sit in meetings with some of the most genius marketing minds in the world, but I was getting restless. I was ready for a change. I look back at my time in the music industry and see it as a huge blessing and an amazing journey that provided me the experience, the relationships and confidence I needed to step out on my own and start my own business.” continued CC.
It was then that CC decided to launch Conversion Sports & Entertainment. Conversion is a Marketing/PR firm with clients in both sports and music. One of CC’s first major deals was a licensing deal with ESPN The Magazine.
“Roxanne Jones was one of the founding editors of ESPN The Magazine at the time and a Senior VP. She was also a close friend and a terrific support system. She encouraged me to start Conversion. She not only did this over dinners and many late night conversations, but also supported me with real business. During my transition, she brought me into the Magazine and helped to close a deal for the Magazine to license our first big annual NFL Draft event. I really took her mentorship to heart and always try to do the same for other new, young up and coming women in the sports industry,” said CC.
In discussing her day to day life currently, CC said “A typical day for me begins around 7am, I try and hit the gym early and get in a positive mind-set, grab the Wall Street Journal or NY Times to read over breakfast, log-on to social media, make sure there’s nothing breaking that I may need to address, then start my day.”
“The first half of my day, I review all upcoming client commitments and media pitches, editorial calendars and deadlines, brands were working with and event schedules. Next, I start my East Coast calls to brands and media, pitching clients for inclusion or engagement. I usually schedule my meetings for the 2nd half of the day. Finally, I’ll get back to the office around 4 or 5 and do all West Coast business and calls. (The NFL Networks, Fox, TV and Film pitches etc.) Wrap up around 8 or 9 and then head out to support my friend’s events or network over dinner,” continued CC.
CC was clearly passionate about her work and the industry itself. When asked what it’s like to be a woman in the sports industry, CC said “To quote Jay-Z, it’s the gift & the curse. I won’t lie, it definitely helps getting your foot in the door at places or a return phone call but that’s often where it ends if you don’t make a positive impression. I would say, know your business and make it your business to know your business. Do your homework and never sell out to the lowest common denominator and by that I mean using sex or your sexuality to get a job, a client, an opportunity, or a gig. That’s a very short-lived game and you will never be respected.”
CC also offered some advice to those looking to break into the business stating, “Stay passionate, stay authentic, stay consistent, and always be honest.”
There are many different careers and paths within the sports industry and CC Carnie is yet another example that there’s no “right way” to break in.