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Meet #TeamTEGNA’s First-Ever Sales in Residence Program Participants

We’re invested in bringing in a new group of young, diverse talent looking to jump-start their careers in the media industry and have launched the first-ever Sales in Residence program! Join us in welcoming this impressive and extraordinary group to Team TEGNA: KARE11’s Shrutee Narayanan, Sophia Sexton, 11Alive’s Taylor Ayers, WUSA9’s Taylor Riller, WGRZ’s Matt Castro, and News Center Maine’s Sam Chipman.

Meredith Cunningham Published: August 11, 2022

Amid an ever-changing media landscape, Team TEGNA needed to invest in bringing in a new group of young, diverse talent looking to jump-start their careers in the media industry. In a partnership with TEGNA sales leadership, The NAB, and the Media Sales Academy, the TEGNA talent acquisition team created TEGNA’s first-ever Sales in Residence program, launched in June 2022.

TEGNA is proud to introduce this impressive, diverse, and extraordinary group of young professionals as the newest additions to #TeamTEGNA. We’d like you to meet Taylor Ayers, Matt Castro, Sam Chipman, Shrutee Narayanan, Taylor Riller, and Sophia Sexton. 

We’d like you to meet:  

Taylor Ayers, 11Alive in Atlanta

What advice would you give someone looking to work in media/sales/marketing?
The biggest piece of advice that has worked for many others is to build on yourself. Every individual within TEGNA brings something unique to the table with their personality, experiences, and perspective. Use that to your advantage. Really hone in on who you are and build on that by being brave enough to speak up about your ideas and what you are seeing. This translates across any industry and is one of the key factors that makes you valuable to the team. It also allows you to excel while being comfortable and confident in your own unique shoes. 

What does being in good company mean to you?
Being in good company means that with TEGNA, you’re not just a number. One of the biggest reasons I am proud to be an employee of TEGNA is that I enjoy and respect the individuals I work with. These individuals are the true definition of being in good company as they take the time to get to know you and help you grow. This translates into the way that we do business, where we don’t just make transactions. We build relationships with our clients and focus on helping them and our communities grow. 

What’s your secret talent?
My secret talent is that I can play 11 instruments and counting. I have a knack for picking up instruments and learning them easily by ear. I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember.

What TV show/movie are you sorry/not sorry to admit you love?
I love the show Heartland! It has been my comfort show for the past year, and it was my inspiration to start horseback riding. It’s the reason I am an equestrian today.

Matt Castro, WGRZ in Buffalo, NY

Good Company: What does being in good company mean to you?
Being in good company to me means working at a company like TEGNA. It means working in an inclusive & interactive workplace and working collectively as a unit for the benefit of the team. On the client side, this means achieving the most optimal results and providing outlets for business growth. We serve the greater good of our communities by helping businesses and brands grow!

Why is the Sales in Residence program important to you?                                     
The “SIR” program entails active listening and learning through virtual and in-person company training sessions and activities with some of the best representatives at TEGNA. Not only has this opportunity provided us with professional business growth, but through the use of mentorships and time spent with upper-level management, the program has stunted individual growth as human beings. This has enhanced our professional portfolios as young adults.

Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?
As an avid skier and native Chilean, my dream vacation would be a multi-day ski trip exploring the Chilean Andes Mountains! Fun fact, its highest peak reaches over 22,000 ft. This is known as Aconcagua.

What is on your bucket list?
In good time, I would one day hope to explore various famous ski locations. These include Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Japan, Chile & British Columbia! 

Motto or personal mantra?
“To be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

 

Sam Chipman, News Center Maine in Portland, Maine

What is your current role at TEGNA? What are you most looking forward to?
My name is Sam Chipman, and I am a Mainer and a recent college graduate. I am part of the Sales in Residence program, a brand new TEGNA program dedicated to growing young business people’s skills and knowledge in the TV and digital advertising space. I am proud to be a part of this program and work alongside such great individuals. I am most looking forward to creating long-lasting and meaningful relationships with future business partners, as well as making a positive difference in their companies while getting to see the growth that I was able to help with.

Why is the Sales in Residence program important to you?
The Sales in Residence program is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to help grow small businesses and create a real difference in people’s lives. It feels good to know that my work could cause generational impacts, like sending a small business owner’s grandson to college. This program is also very important to me because I get such a unique opportunity to learn from the people who have been in this industry the longest. The culture within TEGNA is a very inclusive one, it feels like I’m part of a huge, nationwide family. When we come together for our Monthly Confidence Builders, it feels like a really exciting and lively gathering of peers who all belong to the same ancestor and share their ideas, beliefs, and mantras. I’ve never been part of an organization that emphasizes building each other up and focusing on team building.

Motto or personal mantra?
 “Don’t take life too seriously. If you don’t stop and look up once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Hands down, Bill Murray. No questions asked. Bill is the man, and our humor/goofy nature is quite similar.

Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?
Touring the world by sea has been a lifelong dream of mine. I want to work hard enough that I can afford a big enough vessel to take my family on and hit all the best spots. From Maine to Florida, from Florida to Rio, from Rio to Africa, and around Cape Horn, all the way back to the West Coast.

What is on your bucket list?
Marrying a beautiful wife and having children together, getting to meet my grandson, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, seeing the Pyramids of Giza, rowing the English Channel, sailing around the world, and maybe even flying a plane!

 

Shrutee Narayanan, KARE 11 in Minneapolis

What does being in good company mean to you?
Being surrounded by people who help you achieve your goals, and better you to be the best version of yourself. 

Why is the Sales in Residence program important to you?
The Sales in Residence program is important to me because it shows that TEGNA is taking the initiative to develop future sales leaders throughout the country by giving us an opportunity to grow our skills from the ground up. 

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast you?
Mila Kunis!

What TV show/movie are your sorry/not sorry to admit you love?
The Notebook, it’s a classic.

Motto or personal mantra?
Treat people with kindness.

Taylor Riller, WUSA9 in Washington D.C. 

Good Company: What does being in good company mean to you?
Whenever you are in good company you are bound for success. Being around people who are enthusiastic about what they do and the growth of others makes you more motivated to share that passion and desire to positively impact people’s lives.

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in media/sales/marketing?
The most important advice I would give someone looking to work in sales is to be a sponge for new techniques and information and to not be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone to apply what they are learning. Among the best practices and resources, the only thing the industry is missing is you, so why not apply your unique approach to serving the greater good of our communities?

Why is the Sales in Residence program important to you?
The Sales in Residence program is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to pace myself and actually understand the impact we have on local communities and the lives of business owners, in addition to teaching me how to be a successful account executive. It feels amazing to be part of something that prepares me for success and changes how others enter the industry. The Sales in Residence program is incredibly innovative.

Motto or personal mantra?
My personal mantra is “ See it. Want it. Work for it.”

You’re happiest when…
I am happiest when I am in environments and situations where I can be creative and solution-oriented, whether creating advertising strategies or something as simple as giving my family a tutorial on how to use TikTok.

 

Sophia Sexton, KARE11 in Minneapolis

Talk about your career path. How did you get to where you are today at TEGNA?
Although I am freshly out of college, for the past three years, I knew I wanted to work for KARE 11/TEGNA after I did an informational interview. Ever since, I have kept in touch and kept the conversation going for any potential opportunities to figure out how to work here. Persistence paid off, and the SIR program came to fruition right after I graduated from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management, majoring in International Business and Entrepreneurial Management. I am beyond thrilled to be here. 

What is your current role at TEGNA? What are you most looking forward to?
I am currently a part of the inaugural Sales in Residence program. I am most looking forward to the growth and every one I get to meet throughout the program, which will hopefully bring me to become a successful Account Executive.

Motto or personal mantra?
Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
I would love for Blake Lively to play me. She’s smart, gorgeous, and fun. What’s not to love?

What TV show/movie are you sorry/not sorry to admit you, love?
All the dating shows – Love Island UK is my favorite, but also a fan of Love is Blind, Love on the Spectrum, Bachelor/Bachelorette, and Sexy Beasts. 

What is on your bucket list?
I would love to visit every continent (and as many countries as possible)! I’m 3/7 so far.

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