Having grown up in Orlando, as a senior Sherry Magee was known as the “friendliest person” at Colonial High School. Her infectious, high-energy personality would be a driving force in her flourishing career. With a genuine love of meeting people, a passion for building relationships and impacting the community, she is most proud of the long-term relationships she has made in and around Central Florida.
After graduating from the University of Central Florida with a business degree in marketing, Magee knew she wanted to go on and work for a community-based organization. Her first professional role was working for Bishop Moore High School in their development office. There, she learned the basics of fundraising — the importance of articulating a clear message, developing genuine relationships, compiling robust databases and how to listen to donors. These are skills which she continues to use today.
When she began to work for United Medical Corporation in 2002, she was an effective company spokesperson. And while working with David Dizney, UMC’s president and CEO, she became an effective businessperson. “Where most people say, ‘It’s not worth it,’ an entrepreneur sees the possibility and then challenges his team to make it happen. He taught me to look at projects in terms of ‘under what circumstances would this plan work’ instead of immediately outlining all of the reasons it won’t,” Magee said.
Today, Magee is vice president of communications and public affairs at CNL Financial Group, a privately held investment company specializing in real estate and alternative investments. In her role, she oversees media relations, internal communications, community relations and public affairs initiatives, where she is involved in a wide array of activities including developing strategic alliances around important community endeavors.
Inspired by the mentors in her life and the entrepreneurial spirit at CNL, Magee gave this sage advice to women starting off their careers. “I would tell them whatever role they are in to learn absolutely everything they can about their business. Find out how it makes money, and think about what you can do each and every day to affect the bottom line. I would also say to value people, not titles. You never know who will be the one to help you when you need it most and you can always learn something from everyone. And realize that you are not your title. There is a big difference.”