Our track and field athletes got to learn last week from Amy Gravitt '91, one of the highest-ranking executives at HBO.
Ms. Gravitt is an Executive Vice President for the television channel, in charge of developing and overseeing the production of original comedy series. Her work includes hit programs VEEP, Insecure, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
She spoke as part of a popular endeavor this spring from NA's athletics department. Several alumni have addressed our sports programs, covering a wide range of topics. Other speakers included Olympic Gold Medalist Angela Hucles '96 and Brian Peccie '16, who won a national championship in golf for Washington and Lee University.
Ms. Gravitt spoke about her journey to her current job, and why she followed a path that she noted “doesn't make sense on paper."
A state champion in cross country at NA, she next attended Duke University. She became involved there in ROTC, and after graduation, served several years in the Navy, where she advanced to the rank of lieutenant and was deployed for a time to the Persian Gulf.
After her service to our country, she landed an internship that became a job with a production company associated with acting star George Clooney. With Clooney's company, Ms. Gravitt introduced herself to as many people as possible. Making valuable connections, she was able to join HBO in 2004.
She followed the same approach there. Through hard work and dedication, she advanced up the ranks, becoming executive vice president in 2016.
Having a diversified background set her apart from others trying to make their mark in the television industry. Also, while her move from the military to television might have been unusual, Ms. Gravitt thought out her plan.
“Every next step made sense," she said.
Ms. Gravitt encouraged students to explore different opportunities while in college, whether that be club sports or an organization. She ran track and did ROTC. Through them, she became more well-rounded, a definite benefit in the professional world. She also joined a team environment that made her newfound life in a school much larger than Academy much less overwhelming.
At this point in the presentation, some of Ms. Gravitt's friends and classmates from NA chimed in. Guy Beverly '90 told students that, if they'll be competing athletically in college, they need to realize those workouts will be time consuming and strenuous. “Be prepared for the fact that you'll have to be more intense," Dr. Beverly said.
Patrick Fernando '93, who ran track at Davidson College, told students to get used to college being different than high school. After having Coach Ken Lampert his entire time at NA, he needed to adjust to a new coach. That wasn't easy. Like Ms. Gravitt, he advised reaching out to the many different people and groups available on college campuses.
“Take advantage of the opportunities," Mr. Fernando said.
Ms. Gravitt also took time during her presentation to praise Coach Lampert '72, who passed away in April. He coached at NA for 44 years, guiding our Bulldogs to 86 Tidewater Conference championships and nine state titles.
Coach Lampert took Ms. Gravitt from someone who didn't belong on the track to someone who could lead the pack, she said. He did that by instilling discipline, teaching how to handle adversity, and encouraging her unfailingly. He made everyone on the team feel essential.
“I owe every ounce of dedication and discipline I have to him," Ms. Gravitt said. “I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing without him."
To learn more about our more than 70 teams, teacher-coaches, and facilities, please visit the athletics page on our website.