Third year journalism student Sailor Betts has dreamed of working with organizations like ESPN and NBCU ever since she was little. Now, she is making those dreams a reality, working as a spring 2023 ambassador for On Her Turf (NBC Sports) and as a freelance utility/parab for ESPN. Throughout her time at Grady, Betts has been able to connect with and draw inspiration from peers, alumni and mentors.
What does “tenacity” mean to you?
I think there’s a misconception that tenacity is achieved in solitude. But, we learn how to approach adversity best when we collaborate with those who have backgrounds and experiences that differ from our own. To me, tenacity means approaching situations of adversity with energy, empathy, and inclusivity. The people who inspire me most radiate those three values. I’m beyond blessed to work, learn, and laugh with the people of Grady who do just that.
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?
Beyond the classroom, I could not be more grateful for the people I’ve met through my involvement with Grady Newsource, DiGamma Kappa, and UGA Miracle. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Harper Blankenship, Sydney Hood, Michael Doti, and Julianna Washburn. During my time in Grady, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside these four on the DiGamma Kappa executive board and within several other Grady organizations. All four of them are graduating this May (don’t remind me) and they will truly be so missed. I’m so proud of their continued growth and I have no doubt that their professional journeys beyond Athens will exceed every one of their expectations. I also could not be more excited for DGK’s group trip to New York City later this month!
Who is your professional hero?
Overall, it’s 100 percent my Mom. She changes lives for the better every day through her work as a physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. From day one, she has shown me what it means to lead by example. She also taught me that female representation in the professional world shouldn’t be an act of charity. Rather, it should be all I ever know. I aspire to be half as cool as her one day or, as my Boston-rooted family may like to call it, “wicked smaht.”
Within broadcasting specifically, Grady alum and Today show producer Kevin Schatell has truly been an incredible mentor and role model ever since my emails closed with “Pre-Journalism Major.” I’ll never be able to thank him enough for his support of my journey from those initial emails to now fulfilling my lifelong dream of working with the NBCU family.
In a broader sense, this may seem like an unusual answer but Jimmy Fallon is one of the first people that comes to mind. I grew up spending countless hours watching those Studio 6B curtains swing open. I’ve held a lifelong admiration for how Fallon and the Tonight Show team have created a down-to-earth and often humorous platform for both guests and fans to share stories that they may not have shared otherwise.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
I’m a firm believer that no workplace is complete without laughter. Know your role and responsibility, but don’t take yourself too seriously to where you limit your ability to connect with Grady’s extraordinary students, mentors, and educators.
Why did you choose your major?
I have been incredibly blessed with the opportunity to travel with my Mom and little sister to 6 continents, over 35 countries, and all 50 U.S. states. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from our experiences while traveling, it’s that everyone has an incredible story. Regardless of background, financial status, age, social circle, or hometown, everyone has at least one of those stories that can make your jaw hit the floor. But, not everyone has access to a platform to share that story. With a career in broadcast journalism, every day is a new opportunity to create those platforms for stories that may not have been shared otherwise.
What are you planning to do after you graduate?
After I graduate, I hope to be working in an on-camera reporting or hosting role for a broadcast and/or digital platform. More importantly, I hope to be part of a workplace founded upon those three core values of energy, empathy, and inclusivity.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The golden rule to treat others as you would want to be treated can often sound like a broken record. A re-phrasing I’ve grown to appreciate is to treat everyone as if they may be going through something privately. People can be terrifyingly good at hiding what they’re going through. In other words, changes in someone’s mental health are not always reflected in their physical appearance. It’s important to check on all of our loved ones, regardless of how their mental health may appear at the surface. Approaching every interaction with courtesy and empathy under those assumptions can mean more than you know.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?
Those full-circle moments are my absolute favorites. This is still so surreal to say. But, in the past year, I’ve spent a summer working in a Cincinnati newsroom that first inspired my pursuit of a career in broadcasting, worked with ESPN on the sidelines of top college football and NFL matchups, and received an email invitation to join the NBCU family during a secret santa party with hometown friends. That email is up there in the greatest Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. Growing up, those kinds of opportunities were among my wildest professional dreams. I’m forever indebted to the people of Grady who have made those moments possible at such an early stage in my career. I could not be more excited for what’s next!
Where is your favorite study spot?
Right here in Grady College, of course! I especially love working alongside fellow Grady students in the Newsource newsroom/studio and on the fourth floor near the sports media department offices.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I sometimes prefer to go by Captain.