Women’s History Month: The Diverse Life of Erin Sharoni
Added by Philip Mathew on March 25, 2013.
A lifelong lover of the arts, an investment banker, a model for a major athletic company and a co-host on two sports shows…this just scratches the surface of the life Erin Sharoni has lived and all of these things are driven by one aspect: passion.
Formerly a co-host on CNBC’s Sports Biz: Game On and the current host of the “Romeing the World” segment on Jim Rome on Showtime, Sharoni’s path to being a presenter started with her upbringing in Queens, N.Y.
“Since I was exposed to so much diversity…the entire globe was in my backyard, I was always interacting with kids of different cultures and languages,” Sharoni said. “You learn how to adapt to different cultures and how to handle so many different things and it helps me to interview people.”
For Sharoni, diversity and the ability to make every opportunity count comes from her parents, who are quite diverse themselves. Sharoni’s mother is Scotch-Irish and her father is Yemenite-Israeli. Sharoni credits her parents and her upbringing for the drive she has today. “I think to my parents’ credit, they really afforded me the space to learn how to be an individual [and] to grow,” said Sharoni.
“My dad always said you need to follow your passion…Don’t worry about the money — the money will come if you’re living from your heart and what you are truly meant to do. My parents are always supportive of what I do.”
Sharoni has always been interested in expressing herself creatively. Her endeavors in school, as a painter and sculptor, did not give her the opportunities she wanted. A chance meeting led to a stint as a U.S. Junior Olympic certified swim coach out of college but a personal trainer job across the street from Wall Street led to Sharoni’s next opportunity.
“I was training down in the Wall Street area and I knew nothing about how investment banking worked [due to where I went to school],” Sharoni said. “One of my personal training clients said, ‘You should go across the street to Goldman Sachs and become an equity trader because you would make [a lot of money].”
Sharoni’s next move showed her confidence in herself and her fearless nature as a 23-year-old at the time, against an obvious void in her resume. “So I went to every bank and interviewed but they said, ‘No offense Miss Sharoni, but your degree is in art and you have never taken an econ class…what are you doing?” Sharoni said. After being hired by Bear Stearns and working for the Bridgewater hedge fund for five years, the market crashed and Sharoni was not able to find work.
This was a sign to Sharoni that she needed to make a change. “Listen lady, you are going to wake up at 40 and be miserable if you continue down this path…this is not your true path,” said Sharoni. “I started auditioning for movie parts and television roles and I got casted for the modeling campaign for FILA and that is what kicked everything off. Through that, I ended up meeting [then CNBC, now ESPN sports business analyst] Darren Rovell.”
Rovell sent a picture of Sharoni out in Twitter, which led to Sharoni’s start on the social media site along with an opportunity with St. Johns University. “I was invited to a game by [St. Johns] and they had a need for a sideline reporter for RedStormSports.com,” Sharoni stated. “I started with them and when Darren got his own show, he called me up and that was it.”
For people interested in coming into the sports media industry, Sharoni has solid advice along with the hurdles women face in this field. “You cannot succeed in this industry or at life if you don’t know yourself, if you aren’t truly comfortable with who you are and if you aren’t living from your heart,” said Sharoni.
“This industry might be the most brutal for women…not only do you have to be smart, be savvy, [along with being] intellectually and socially adept but you also have to deal with the inevitable in on-air roles aesthetics play a part in it.”
Looking within oneself is where Sharoni sees the difference between the women that make it in the industry and the women that are ultimately unsuccessful. “Five years ago, I wasn’t confident enough to survive in this industry…confidence has nothing to do with how you look,” Sharoni stated.
“Confidence has everything to do with how you feel inside and how much you love yourself. The most successful women are the ones that are the most confident. [For men and women], you have to be smart, driven and be super passionate – if this is not what you want to commit every shred of your being to, you probably shouldn’t pursue it because there’s a small likelihood of succeeding.”
While Sharoni acknowledges her beauty playing a part in her current roles, her insight and intellect separate her from the average female sports presenter. “If I didn’t have the intellectual capacity, my looks wouldn’t matter as much. Content and personality matters more now due to social media,” Sharoni said. “People demand authenticity now…they are not going to be fooled by a façade because of the advent of social media and YouTube – people have a better access to athletes.”
Sharoni’s personality has fit the roles she has on television and she feels strongly about where media is going in general. “There’s a greater emphasis on content and personality – the old model of hiring people based on how they look to deliver information doesn’t really work anymore,” Sharoni said.
“Women and men have distinct personalities now and we are now allowed to show them more. I appreciate that the forum I have now, I am allowed to be myself – I can be smart but I can also have an opinion that some may not agree with. I feel strongly that is where media [both sports and regular] is moving.”
Both Rovell and Rome are strong personalities but they have taught Sharoni great lessons and are similar in their approach. “Both are really amazing people and I am really very fortunate to be working with them…I will forever be grateful to [Darren] for [helping me and my career],” Sharoni said.
“[Darren] thought and knew I had potential and he helped me. Jim and Darren are two of the most hardworking people in the industry…they really know their markets. Whether you like their on-air personalities or not, at least they have personalities.”
Part of building a personality in the media market is properly marketing oneself on social media. Sharoni has embraced social media to extend herself, but each person has to find their own avenue to get their name out there. “I think the best way to build a brand is to not to try to build a brand when it’s about yourself,” Sharoni said.
“It cannot be contrived…when I started on Twitter, I was trying to collect information and connect with other people. [On Twitter], I try to communicate in a believable and interesting way. Figure out how you want [social media] to serve you and how you want to use it to serve others…be authentic and be yourself.”
The authenticity of Sharoni comes out with her focus on health and fitness – specifically, her study and practicing of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Reiki which she has a passion for. “I would like to invest more time in Reiki and bring it to the sports world because it would be beneficial to athletes and I believe the next wave in medicine is energetic medicine,” Sharoni said.
“I am passionate about alternative healing and the mind-body connection. I am a big advocate of [TM] because it changed my life and body. They are really effective techniques and people are becoming more aware of them. I think it’s really relevant to athletes because your body is your most important tool…it really intrigues me.”
Erin Sharoni has quite a diverse life and interests and she is someone to look at currently as a positive source of sports information. Follow Erin on Twitter (@erinsharoni), Facebook (www.facebook.com/erinsharoni), and her personal website (www.erinsharoni.com).