Meet Our Super Awesome Conference Keynote Speaker, Emily Austen!! 🏃‍♀️

Emily Austen was born in Tampa, FL to a Christian family that attended Grace Family Church in the area. Growing up, she was involved in a youth ministry called 180. Emily gave her life to Christ at a young age but learned later what it meant to fully devote her life to Him. More on that soon! Athletics have always been a huge part of Emily’s life, and she knew in 7th grade that she wanted to be a sports reporter when she grew up. Softball and track are her main sports, and she tried out for the softball team in 9th grade but ended up not making the team (even though Emily had grown up on a traveling team). However, this led her to run track in high school and college. In her senior year Emily decided to apply to the University of Florida. Unfortunately, she wasn’t accepted to UofF, which was devastating but it allowed her to become really good at running on the track team.

A theme of Emily’s life has involved God closing certain doors and opening much bigger and better ones later on. After experiencing rejection from UofF she was scouted by other schools and ended up being invited to run cross country and track at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). This led Emily to a broadcasting internship in Miami which opened the door for her to create a Sports Weekly show back at FAU.

In college, Emily ran 60 miles a week, practiced twice a day, participated in training and cross training exercises, including swimming, and all of this while working a full time job! At graduation, Emily basically expected ESPN to call her with a job offer, but she was humbled when they did not. The economic recession of 2007 and 2008 did not help her case either. While the job market wasn’t biting, she began making broadcasting videos and posting them on YouTube. This got her an opportunity in production with Golf Channel, where she learned a great deal about being behind the scenes.

Emily finally got her first break on camera when she was offered a job in local TV sports. This move brought her to Amarillo, TX to take a position as a reporter covering small town football. While there, Emily worked out the kinks in her style and was discovered by the Boston Celtics through her YouTube channel. This awesome step came after she was interviewed, nearly accepted, then turned down by the Tampa Bay Lightning – further proof that God was constantly preparing her, even through the closed doors! Soon afterward, Emily’s agent in got her a job with Fox Sports covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic. Through all of this success, God was part of her life but her priority was career pursuits at the time.

In 2015, Emily became less enthused with her position at Fox Sports and made a brief one-time appearance on a Barstool Sports podcast. Like quicksand, the devil attacked her and led her to say something that got her fired from Fox Sports. She was painted as a “monster” on the Internet but, in her words, she “gave it the paint”. The disappointment of her family was very difficult but God showed her through that time that human beings can never navigate the rough waters of life unless “He builds the boat”.

Almost immediately realized she needed to help others learn and hopefully avoid making similar mistakes, so she emailed every D1 athletic program in the country. Eventually, she was given the opportunity to speak at several major universities about the power of social media, how it can hurt you, how to recover, and how to use it well. In July of 2019, Emily was still sharing this speech around the U.S. but her life was not fully devoted to the Lord. Not long afterward, she hit rock bottom and felt like she had nothing to live for… This stirred the desire in her to speak with Christian mentors, one of whom suggested she listen to a song on repeat for 20 days and see if it could transform her perspective. She chose Sean Curran’s “All Praise”, and after those three weeks her focus was completely turned to Jesus. Immediately she surrendered her life to Him!!!

It wasn’t long after Emily accepted Christ that a new opportunity emerged. Earlier in 2019, she had become acquainted with Matt Doyle (Senior Athletic Director at Stanford University) who was later in charge of a Directors of Football Operations (DFO) conference. Her friendship with Matt opened the door for her to meet motivational speaker Damon West, who heard her speech and loved it. Damon spoke at to Liberty University in July 2019 and ended up telling the Liberty DFO about Emily. She then flew out to Virginia to interview and received a job offer on Labor Day Weekend 2019. Today, her career at Liberty allows her to report and share stories of Division 1 athletes and their walks with Jesus Christ.

Emily’s involvement with Christians in the Marketplace began when Liberty Athletic’s show ‘Game On’ (centered on Christianity and athletics and has now changed its name to ‘Flames Central’) was on local TV and our very own Tony Casas saw it. Tony then emailed Emily and invited her to be our 11th Annual Conference Keynote Speaker. She said yes and we are THRILLED to welcome her THIS WEEKEND! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Emily has a yellow lab named Stanley who goes everywhere with her! 🐕 Join us in welcoming Emily Austen this Friday, November 20th and Saturday the 21st at Triad Christian Center in High Point, NC.

Register here for the 11th Annual Christians in the Marketplace Conference: 😄

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