Megan Schmidt never does anything halfway, so she understood the sacrifices regardless of which path she took at the fork in her career. On one side lay coaching soccer. On the other were Mike and Matt Libber, two big and burly men running Elite Tournaments, who understood they needed a woman’s touch. “I have a philosophy of full development,” says Schmidt, Elite’s director of operations. “If I’m coaching but not there for the training, it wouldn’t be a good fit for me.”
That meant giving up coaching but not her attitude. A veritable force unafraid of mixing it up with her father, employers and other business associates, Schmidt is one of the driving forces in growing Elite from holding about 20 soccer events in Maryland to roughly 50 across the country. It will expand into lacrosse this fall.
Her determination gained from a lifetime of soccer has paid off, particularly proving herself as a young female in a male-dominated arena. “You have to have a sense of authority; you have to bring your A game,” says Schmidt, who says the Libbers’ confidence in her has sparked the confidence to grow into her management role.
Mentors: Schmidt is a daddy’s girl (“don’t tell my mom!”) going back to the days her father had her playing soccer at 4. Mike and Matt are her other role models.
Growing Up: One of Schmidt’s biggest lessons is learning to deal with people as a manager, which relies on teambuilding skills she attained on the soccer field.
Evolving Role: She’s gone from handling the logistics of events to running the whole shebang, which plays right into her determined mindset. In the office, she brings attention to detail and professionalism allowing Elite to live up to its name. The company’s growth is a sense of pride for Schmidt. “Because we grew externally, we’ve been able to grow internally.”