How a young alum landed her dream career in sports PR

Carly Ebisuya poses for a portrait in front of a shiny silver background while tossing a basketball in the air
Carly Ebisuya ’21 is director of public relations for the Chicago Sky. Pictured here during 2023 Chicago Sky media day, Ebisuya also oversees the Sky PR intern program. Photos courtesy of Carly Ebisuya.

Carly Ebisuya ’21 grew up watching trailblazing female athletes like Lisa Leslie, Candice Parker, Billie Jean King and Serena Williams. And she knew from a young age that she wanted to work in women’s sports.

Only two years after graduating from the UO School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), Ebisuya has already landed her dream job in sports PR as director of public relations for the WNBA team the Chicago Sky.

Forging an academic path to sports PR

Undecided about her major at first, Ebisuya found her direction in J100: Media Professions, a class that introduced her to the SOJC. The course features different media professionals as guest speakers each class period and exposed Ebisuya to a multitude of career paths and possible future opportunities. She eventually settled on a double-major in journalism and public relations plus a double-minor in business administration and sports business, combining her passion for athletics with her writing skills to zero in on a career path in sports PR.

As an SOJC student, Ebisuya took advantage of many of the school’s abundant extracurriculars, including Allen Hall PR, The Daily Emerald and Duck TV. The Allen Hall PR team gave her an inside look at day-to-day agency life, and Duck TV introduced her to broadcast journalism and taught her how to write a script, interview on camera and shoot A-roll and B-roll. While working as a sports reporter for The Daily Emerald, she learned how to be a true beat reporter.

“I got to learn the ins and outs of press-box etiquette, covering a game, reporting, using media availabilities to your advantage, resourcing, etc., which are skills you should have in real life working for The Oregonian or something like that as a beat reporter for women’s basketball,” she said.

Before Ebisuya graduated, her professor and mentor Lori Shontz kickstarted her career in sports communication and media by encouraging her to apply for an internship with the Sports Journalism Institute. That position led to her first post-grad job in sports journalism, covering women’s sports and female athletes for The Denver Post.

“[Shontz] changed my whole perspective on not only writing, but [also] reporting techniques like how to be a great reporter, how to write a good story, and anything from writing leads to how to format a quote to how to find a piece of evidence or reporting,” Ebisuya said. “She changed my whole mindset on sports journalism. I wouldn’t have the tools or skills I have today without her, 100 percent. She was really a catalyst propelling me into sports journalism.”

Kahlea Copper and Carly Ebisuya walk side by side in an arena hallway
Carly Ebisuya ’21 has a pregame chat with Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper. Ebisuya travels with the team on the road to execute all PR-related needs and accompanies coaches and players to offsite community events.

From sports journalism to sports PR

After working at The Denver Post, Ebisuya transitioned into the PR world to tell stories of female athletes in a different way. Before she found her way to the WNBA, she was a media associate for the Lakers and a communications intern for the LA Chargers, which shaped her career trajectory in sports PR and basketball communications. She used her connections at the NBA to navigate her way to the WNBA.

As the director of PR for the Chicago Sky, Ebisuya’s job is to “not only present the organization of the Sky in a manner that we want to, but also be able to tell stories of our players, our staff and front office executives,” she said. “Every single female athlete has a story, and whether they think it’s important or not, it’s important! And that’s a way for them to connect to their fans, connect to their fanbase and connect to the viewers or audience.”

If an athlete doesn’t know how to tell their story or share their background, that’s where Ebisuya can step in as a PR professional, providing the players with a platform and connecting them to their fanbase. The Chicago Sky was the perfect opportunity for Ebisuya to combine her love for writing and her journalism background with her passion for telling the stories of female athletes.

“I oversee all PR/basketball communications for the Sky,” Ebisuya said. “Everything from media availability to setting up interviews to accompanying those to community events to working on game notes and day-to-day operations in the PR sector. I’m the liaison from the players and our front office staff to the media. Anything that involves that connection between them, that’s me.

Just a couple years out of school, Ebisuya said she already has her dream career.

“As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to work in sports, specifically female sports,” she said. “I didn’t know the capacity at the time, but seeing where I was in school and looking where I am now, this is where I wanted to be. Working for a sports team, specifically at the highest level of basketball in the world right now in the WNBA, is nothing I could have drawn up, but I am eternally grateful to be in this position.”

Carly Ebisuya holds a clipboard while standing in the middle of a basketball court
Carly Ebisuya ’21 coordinates PR operations at Chicago Sky home games. Her favorite part of her job is connecting the players to the Sky’s fanbase and attracting more fans who might not be as familiar with the Sky.

How the SOJC paved the way

Ebisuya credits her experience at the SOJC — the professors, courses, majors and extracurriculars — for laying the perfect foundation to get her to her dream career.

“The SOJC was a big family. Everyone knew the same professors, and everyone took the same classes, so you get to know so many people. It felt like there was always someone, whether that’s a peer or a professor, that I could turn to for guidance or help career-wise,” she said. “I would not be where I am today without the SOJC — I just want to make that abundantly clear. I have so much love for the SOJC to this day. It sounds super cheesy, but that’s the truth. You can hear from other alumni too. The SOJC is just really special.”

The best piece of advice Ebisuya has received was from a guest speaker she met at the school. “She said, ‘It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.’ That sentiment has stuck with me to this day. Yes, the connections that you make are important, but it’s also the impression you make on those connections and who knows you,” Ebisuya said.

To SOJC students, Ebisuya offers this advice: “Try everything. Try every single thing. All of your opportunities and experiences start in college. Being able to have real-life [experiences] outside of the classroom is what’s going to help you get those internships, which will turn into jobs. Try all the clubs. Even if you think you might not like it, you never know until you try. That’s definitely made me realize what I like and don’t like, where I don’t want to go and where I do. You might regret down the road not trying it. Take advantage of everything the SOJC has to offer: the professors, the clubs, the extracurricular opportunities.”

As Ebisuya prepares to promote the Sky during the next WNBA season and the upcoming Olympics, she is grateful she followed her own advice — and used all the resources the SOJC had to offer — to land her dream job.

—By Sydney Seymour, class of ’25

Sydney Seymour '25 (she/her/hers) is a media studies major minoring in ethics. She is a writing intern for the SOJC and the executive writing editor for Align Magazine. Connect with her on LinkedIn.