Traveling over 600 miles away from their home of Nowata, Okl., Anderson University alums Susie (Hendrickson) Peters and Debbie (Hendrickson) Finn found themselves at a familiar place. Their father Kendall Hendrickson graduated in 1967 while their mother Donna (Vaught) Hendrickson attended AU for two years. Finn remembers how excited she was to graduate high school and go to the same college as her sister, Susie, and brothers Andy ('88) and Jon ('92).
But even after graduation, both sisters would not have predicted they would be working in Indiana for the Colts organization immediately out of college, together.
Peters commented it was not far-fetched to settle into a career in the sports industry. “It was definitely something I was interested in because, as a family, we watched a lot of football, went to the NFL Hall of Fame for a vacation, so I grew up around the sport.” [Left to right: Debbie (Hendrickson) Finn and Susie (Hendrickson) Peters.]
Peters graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and Associate of Arts degree in secretarial sciences. While working for various coaches and athletic trainers while attending Anderson University in 1990, the Colts coaching staff and athletic trainers were looking for an assistant while at camp. “The rest is history,” added Peters.
Peters started working with the Colts in 1990 for the coaches and athletic trainers until the 1999 season. Peters then moved to the Sponsorship Sales Department and has been working as the assistant to the vice president of sponsorship sales. This department is in charge of selling radio, television, print and website advertising to potential sponsors.
“My experience at AU, along with the education I received, helped me learn how to be successful in managing my time and working with different personalities which made the transition to a work environment easier after graduation,” said Peters.
Graduating in 1994 with plans to become an elementary teacher, Debbie (Hendrickson) Finn received the opportunity to work for the Indianapolis Colts after graduation as well. Finn decided to change her career direction and credits the athletic department at Anderson University for the sudden career change.
Finn worked for the men’s baseball team as former Coach Don Brandon’s secretary for all four years of college.
“I really enjoyed being a secretary for Coach Brandon and loved being involved with the baseball team,” said Finn. “When the opportunity became available to work for the Colts and with my sister, I decided it was what I wanted to do.”
While working for Brandon’s summer baseball camps, the Colts would be in town for training camp. Finn never imagined she would be working for the Colts as the assistant to the director in the player personnel department which handles all the scouting for pro and college. Finn’s department tracks current NFL players in case there is a need to fill a vacant roster spot due to injury, performance or various other reasons. On the college side, their department works with the scouts who go out into all the colleges and evaluate players for the upcoming NFL draft.
“Working for the coaches and athletic trainers at AU definitely helped me through all four years of school,” said Peters of her time at AU. “My family didn’t live close so the coaches became my ‘adopted father-figures’, especially Coach Brandon.”
Finn also credits Brandon as being a “very influential person during my college years” as she was adjusting to college life as the youngest of her siblings to attend.
Both Peters and Finn recalled many college memories and influences that helped fuel their decision to work for the Colts at a time the team was forming relationships in Indiana. Neither regrets their decision to join the organization.
“I cannot think of a better company or organization to work for,” said Finn. “Our owner, Jim Irsay, is one of the most caring and generous people I know and makes it a pleasure to come to work every day. I love being able to work for the same company as my sister. We have always been very close, and working together makes it even better.”
— Stefanie Leiter is the Web Content Manager at Anderson University in the Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.