Sarah Garrity is the Membership Development Manager for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from Simmons with a Master of Sport Management in 2018.
What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?
I work with business leaders and community partners across Fort Worth to create and maintain sustainable growth and drive our community to be the most thriving, inviting community for all.
The most rewarding part of my job is getting to see, experience, and assist businesses with their current challenges and triumphs. As we have all seen over the past few years, businesses have felt major economic effects, from supply chain issues to workforce attraction and retention. The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce (FWC) works very closely with area colleges, universities, and ISDs to facilitate programs and initiatives that connect the business community to students. Connections are our biggest value, and I have a true passion for connection and problem-solving.
The single most rewarding project I’ve worked on was North Texas Cares, which was a collaboration of local grantmaking organizations, including United Way, that awarded emergency relief grants starting in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world went into lockdown, I was part of a core team that implemented the entire effort. North Texas Cares resulted in $63 million being invested in our North Texas Community to support organizations doing incredible work addressing crucial needs due to the pandemic.
What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?
The professional and personal relationships I have built with classmates, faculty, and staff have proved to be of the greatest value. The guidance, advice, and mentorship provided by Simmons faculty have led me to where I am today. I have been a part of weddings, attended sporting events, and worked alongside many of my classmates, and I continue to stay in touch with many faculty that taught me throughout my time at SMU.
How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?
Simmons provided me with professional insights I wouldn't have otherwise. Although I am not currently working in the world of sports, the principles taught are still relevant and applicable to my current role. My supervisor and many of my coworkers at FWC are former sports professionals, and we have all applied that experience and knowledge to what we do at the FWC.
What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?
My time at SMU was exciting! Growing up in a small town, attending a university within my home state, and then moving to Texas was intimidating. But as a student at SMU, I was immediately welcomed with open arms. I had the opportunity to work in the athletics department, compete in the National Sports Forum Case Study Competition, get behind-the-scenes access to the Rangers, Stars, Mavs, and Cowboys organizations, meet many sports professionals from across the world, and so much more. It was truly a year of enlightenment!
Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?
Simmons provides an incredible education experience and carries a great reputation, especially across North Texas. I remember at orientation, Peter Carton spoke to the challenge that an education at Simmons would provide. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but as I went through my coursework, I realized why he said that.
Although the curriculum was intensive and difficult at times, Simmons' faculty and staff were guiding us along the way and pushing us to go above the standard of educational success. Simmons' focus on students and alumni is intentional and allows for meaningful connections across many disciplines.