Courtney Steele was busy reading a typical email from her boss until she realized the message contained her biggest professional achievement to date.
On Wednesday, Steele was named to the Front Office Sports Rising 25 Class of 2020. The award goes to nominated individuals under the age of 25 who excel in their respected roles in front office jobs.
“It’s not something I ever thought I’d win,” Steele, an FCC senior account executive, said. “I’m of the mindset to just keep your head down and your results will speak for themselves. I’m not someone who goes after awards like this, so it’s was really cool.”
As a senior account executive, she handles more than 1,000 season ticket accounts. It’s a role that includes interacting with fans and getting their feedback to help create the best possible experience at an FC Cincinnati match. She also oversees corporate outings on Sheakley Lawn on matchdays.
While the 2020 season is suspended, her attention has shifted to speaking with fans about opportunities at West End Stadium. The process to place deposits for 2021 premium seats started Tuesday.
“If it was a normal year, we’d be balancing all of this 2021 deposit information on top of selling group tickets and making sure season ticket members are having good experiences at games,” Steele said. “It’s been really fun to start talking about West End Stadium for the first time for a majority of people and seeing their reactions.”
Steele attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated in August 2017. She started at FC Cincinnati the same month – just as the Orange and Blue were concluding their history Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run.
She said it was an exciting time, especially with all the speculation about FCC possibly earning an MLS expansion bid.
“It doesn’t feel that long ago, but it really is,” she said.
While she’s working with the sales and ticketing department, she said she enjoys planning events and corporate outings for groups.
“As the company continues to grow, I personally would find a lot of fulfillment if I got to work on the private events side,” Steele said.
This could include planning events at West End Stadium on non-matchdays, which might include a wedding reception, a high school prom or a sorority formal, she said.
“That really interests me and I have a lot of desire to transition into a role where I get to focus more on outside events rather than gameday,” she added. “I love gameday and it’s so much fun, but I really enjoy planning events and being super detailed. That’s something I’m really passionate about and I hope I get to do with the team.”