Story by Elaina Dove, reprinted from InterCom
When Colvin Hedgepeth captained the USC equestrian team, she was preparing herself for a job that would take her to the 2016 Olympic Games. But it was her public relations degree that got her the job in Rio.
Hedgepeth, a 2012 University of South Carolina graduate, serves as the meeting and event services coordinator for the United States Olympic Committee, planning and executing flagship events year round. Her most notable event: the 2016 Olympic Games.
After college, Hedgepeth worked for a health care public relations agency before obtaining her dream job as a communications intern for the USOC.
“I wanted to work with the USOC based on the organization’s mission of pushing athletes to competitive excellence and thereby inspiring Americans,” said Hedgepeth.
Five months into her six-month internship, an opportunity opened up for a full-time position. Hedgepeth’s equestrian skills helped her stand out in her fight for the job. In 2012, she captained her team to a Southern Equestrian Championship. Today, she often applies that knowledge of teamwork, time management and adapting to pressure to her professional role.
“Colvin has done what so many of us knew she would do and that is land her dream job pretty quickly after graduating,” said Boo Major, who served as Hedgepeth’s equestrian coach and is also an SJMC alumna. “I can’t help but think her time on our team as a student-athlete and as a captain helped prepare her a little more for this awesome opportunity.”
In every Olympics, USA House is Team USA’s business and hospitality center. Hedgepeth managed the guest registration and was the volunteer coordinator.
“I’d never been to the Games and I’d never been to the USA House, so for me, preparation involved a lot of conceptualizing what things would look like and trying to think strategically,” said Hedgepeth. In her free time, she played tourist and took breaks on the beach, hiked over Two Brothers Peaks, visited the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, rode a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain and strolled through the artsy Santa Teresa neighborhood.
Because of the impact sports has had on her life, through equestrian activities and now her career, Hedgepeth hopes to continue working to spread its influence through building local sports participation in communities. She has realized she gets the most job fulfillment when she’s close to the impact and executing events on site.
Hedgepeth said, “Each experience I’ve had is teaching me a wide range of skills, what job functions I prefer, and how I want to move forward in my career. I’ve been able to learn not everyone’s career path is linear.”