How Sports Made Me a Successful Businesswoman By Carly DeMarco & Amanda Kennedy

You never know where the lessons you learned on the field will lead you. Meet the Co-Founders of  Independently Driven; Carly DeMarco and Amanda Kennedy. Their experiences playing softball have turned them into successful businesswomen.

Amanda decided to create Independently Driven when she realized that she needed to be creative to find success in her career. Similar to the lesson she learned playing softball, she knew she had to think outside the lines to make her dreams a reality. Amanda shares her success story below:

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Make Your Own Position 

Out of all of the sports I played, softball was closest to my heart. It made me realize that no matter what I felt I was good at, I had to push myself to be better.  I was a pitcher, and I loved every second I was in the game. However, on my high school team there was another pitcher, and she was fast! There was no way I could pitch faster than her, so I had to find another strategy to be a starter.  I took private lessons to learn how to be a “junk” pitcher, and I practiced improving my hitting.  This allowed me to be the go-to pitcher when teams could hit fast balls and slotted me in as a designated hitter when I wasn’t scheduled to pitch. 

To this day I have taken that lesson with me; I never give up even if I have to find another way to make my skills relevant, or differentiate my skill set to support my team. Never give up on making yourself better and realizing the role that you are meant to play.

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Carly is a competitor who never quits. When Amanda came to her with the idea for Independently Driven, Carly was ready to join the team. She believes in taking control of your own destiny and doesn’t allow failure or set-backs to stop her.  Carly shares her path to success below:

Take the Wheel 

The sport I was most passionate about growing-up was softball, hands down.  I grew up on the field, and learned countless lessons about the sport and life itself.  I learned that practice is important, and if you want something, you have to work hard to get it. Nothing was going to be handed to me; it needed to be earned.

I was a utility player, meaning I could play multiple positions, which allowed me to almost always have a starting position. In college, we traveled a lot. We would leave Chicago on Thursday and play four to five games throughout the weekend before heading home.  

One weekend my junior year, we were traveling to Las Vegas where my family planned to meet us. Unfortunately, they missed the first game, which happened to be the only game I played in that weekend.  I wasn’t hurt; physically, there was nothing wrong with me, but I was not performing so my coach sat me on the bench.  That was a very humbling feeling, especially with my family there to watch me.  I felt like I had let them down. 

Through my 15+ years of playing sports, nothing made me more determined to improve than that weekend.  I went back to practice the following week and was more driven than ever to improve my skills. I wanted my spot back. Life will always give you moments that remind you to never stop improving or take things for granted.    

When I look back on my experience on the field and compare it to my corporate job, I see how I am a starter every day.  I am constantly encouraging myself to be better and learn as much as possible.  I want to be the best team player that I can, and always stand out as a leader to my colleagues.  We support Girls in the Game because it is an amazing organization that teaches girls these values from a young age.  

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Life is a journey full of trials and growth, challenges and lessons. Girls in the Game works with girls every single day to help them find their voice and confidence. Each of us posseses the ability to get back up and to create an opportunity for ourselves. We hope that every girl in our program learns how to harness her own confidence through sports, and has the courage to stand up for herself in any circumstance.

Thank you Carly and Amanda for being courageous. You can shop their athletic products in time for the holidays. (Perfect stocking stuffers!) A portion of their proceeds goes directly to Girls in the Game.

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