First in Future: Tryon International Equestrian Center COO Sharon Decker

Summary: What does one do after leaving the job of top salesperson for an entire state? For Sharon Decker, that doesn’t mean retirement. After serving as Secretary of Commerce under Gov. Pat McCrory, Decker moved back to rural North Carolina, where she is helping build a business and rebuild a region’s hopes and dreams. As COO of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Decker is building a dream that could someday be comparable to golf, or to NASCAR. This week, Decker discusses her career change and shares her book recommendations, and we get the first answer on this podcast to the age-old question, If you were a horse, what kind would you be?

Excerpt: “Here I find myself, at 60, learning an entire new industry, and (I’m) excited about that because it’s totally different, though it builds on everything I’ve done. I think we’ll have to be doing that for a lifetime in this kind of economy. It’ll be much more fluid than the economy you and I grew up in, and we’ve got to be a lot more resilient and a lot more flexible.”

Book recommendation: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance

North Carolinian to watch: Her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, who is pursuing a nontraditional education and working in a discipline she’s truly passionate about, demonstrating that learning isn’t limited to the classroom.

Images courtesy of USEA and the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Listen to the podcast: