San Diego Padres Sports Management Executive Andrea Smith
We have a new 10 question Q&A feature today and I am sticking with featuring women in sport. You may remember last week the senior vice president for Major League Baseball, Katy Feeney, was featured. Today, we return to the west coast and have zero’d in on Southern California and San Diego to visit with San Diego padres executive Andrea Smith.
1. Tell us about your company, your position and your responsibilities
I work for the San Diego Padres as the Manager of PETCO Park Suites. I am the main contact for all Leased Suite Holders and multi-game suite packages. One of my main responsibilities is developing value-added programs for servicing our premium seating customers at the highest level. In addition, I work closely with the Corporate Partnerships Department to capitalize on business opportunities and contribute to the marketing and advertising plan to increase suite sales. I also coordinate all of our premium seating client roads trips and special events.
2. Tell us what your average week is like, both in season and the off-season
I don’t like to reference “in season vs. off-season.” It’s more of a never-ending cycle of sales and renewals. My philosophy is that it even though it is an eight-month season it is still a 12-month relationship! While this actual “season” in play might be 2011 for the team, my focus has already shifted heavily to the 2012 season. While games are being played there is a lot of preparation going into each homestand and special event. When games are not being played it is still important for me to remain in touch with each customer so that when the Padres are out of sight they are never out of mind!
3. Can you talk about your career path, starting from your first job in sports until you arrived to your current position with the Padres today?
I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. I interned for the San Diego Chargers in public relations the summer before my senior year in college. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles for another internship with the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour in marketing, sponsorship activation, and player relations. After that I landed my first full time job in the Sports Industry as the Community Relations Coordinator with the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA. After two years I was promoted to Manager of Client Relations. In the summer of 2007, the opportunity to work for AEG, Staples Center and L.A. LIVE presented itself and I became an Account Manager in the Premium Seating Services Department. I spent three seasons at AEG before the next step in my career path was revealed. I headed down the 5 Freeway in January of 2010 to become the Manager of PETCO Park Suites for the San Diego Padres. I am now part of a new regime of likeminded individuals that have the same overall goal: To make the Padres the best organization in sports.
4. What is the Best Advice you have ever received?
“Character Is Who We Are When No One Is Watching” I was introduced to this quote as an athlete in college, still use it today as a business professional, and also apply it to my everyday life.
5. What are your top sports memories you are most fond of telling others.
There are too many to list. But, if I had to narrow it down to just three then I would say…
It’s 1993 and I’m at Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was another Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills, my hometown team. We were in the crowd and not only was my TV “crush” Kirk Cameron (from Growing Pains) sitting next to us, but Michael Jackson was the halftime show! Despite our loss in the game that day I will never forget that amazing halftime performance. Hearing “Heal the World” still gives me goosebumps to this day! That was when I fell in love with L.A.
Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championship Parade 2009
AVP Manhattan Beach Open – Karch and Lambo 2004
6. I hear many young professionals getting discouraged because they are not where they want to be after finishing their sports management degree and internships. What does it take for young people to be successful in this business?
Network and get involved with as many events as possible. Volunteer, show up, stand out. Be persistent and confident but yet open to new things (and that includes moving for a job). The sports industry is very small. Don’t burn any bridges. Just get after it!
7. What are some challenges you face in your current position?
We are still forming the Premium Seating and Suites Department so the main challenges come with staffing. Once we move into the 2012 season, some new positions to help with the volume of suite customers will be in place. This is to assure that each customer is still receiving the highest level of hospitality.
8. Name three mentors (at least) and why they’ve had an impact.
1) Parents – Hard working, loyal, loving, real
2) Lisa Leslie -The ultimate role model. Beauty, Brains, Grace, Faith, and Competiveness
3) Gabrielle Reece -Someone I have looked up to since 9th grade when I started playing volleyball
9. If you were not working in sports today, what would you be doing?
I would be playing on the beach volleyball circuit and working as a fitness coach.
10. Executives talk about being passionate in your job. What are you passionate about and why?
I am passionate about taking care of my suite holders and making sure they are getting the most return on their investment there is possible. We value their commitment to us as suite holder and in turn they should receive benefits and experiences that money can’t buy. I am passionate about these things because I truly believe in following through and keeping promises. Once a deal is done my job is to make sure they receive everything we agreed on in negotiations and more! The “and more” what’s fun, imaginative, and to be determined. The “and more” is what I am most passionate about…
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