'Women in Sports': PSU's Valerie Cleary

Monday, December 8, 2014

Latest in a series

The second annual “Women in Sports” career seminar, presented by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 in Portland, Ore.

Designed for college and high school females interested in pursuing sports-related careers, the seminar will take place in the Georgia Pacific Room at Memorial Coliseum.

The event will feature panelists from a broad cross-section of occupational paths, including coaching, administration, business, marketing, media, media relations, NCAA compliance, sports medicine, ticket sales, and officiating. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with -- and seek career advice from -- a slate of experienced sports professionals in a round-table format. In addition, the seminar will include a "professional development segment" and networking reception presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Below is a profile on a panelist who will be featured at this year's event.


Valerie Cleary, Associate AD/SWA
Portland State University 

Colleges attended:

  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University, Long Beach

College major: 

  • California State University, Chico - BS Social Science - Emphasis in Sociology and Multicultural and Gender Studies
  • California State University, Long Beach - MS Counseling - Student Development in Higher Education

Current position: Interim Athletics Director Senior Associate Athletics Director - Senior Woman Administrator

Years in current position: 1.5

Primary job responsibilities: Athletic Department Human Resources; Sport Supervision (Women's Basketball, Volleyball, Track & Field and Cross Country); Unit Supervision (Strength & Conditioning and Sports Medicine); Programmatic Responsibilities (CHAMPS/Life Skills and Student Athlete Advisory Committee)

Things I enjoy most about my job: The interaction with student-athletes -- being able to play a role in students achieving their academic, athletic and professional goals is the best part of what I do!

First job in the sports industry: Student-Athlete Academic Advisor at Boise State University

Previous jobs in the sports industry: Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement Programs at Boise State

A key mentor who helped me on my career path: Christina Van Tol, Associate Athletics Director/SWA at Boise State University

Most influential person in my early professional development: Chris Malone at California State University, Chico -- opened my eyes to a career in student-services at the university level.

How I got involved in my professional career: I loved being in college! I wanted to explore career possibilities to allow me to continue my involvement on a college campus. I specifically gained interest in athletics through my husband (college basketball coach).

Biggest hurdle I overcame breaking into the sports industry: Not being a former student-athlete. Many who work in the profession start as student-athletes. I came in to the field from the student-affairs side of the university.

Key attributes that have helped shape my career path: The willingness to work hard and take on new challenges.

Knowing what I know now, the one thing I would do differently in college to help me on my career path: INTERNSHIPS! And Study Abroad!