Category - Checking In With

Checking In With: Zoe Wilson, PGA TOUR

Adapting to the digital age: Advice from Zoe Wilson

By: Megan Meisse, Prodigy Sports

Candidate placed: July 2015

When you are working with the largest golf organization in the world, growing and maintaining various digital platforms can be one of the most difficult jobs. HeadshotIn looking to expand their greater New York City media sales efforts, the PGA TOUR sought the assistance of Prodigy Sports, in order to find a creative, interactive sales professional, responsible for working with their clients to develop PGA TOUR media partnerships and campaigns.

In July of 2015, a Texas native found her new home in New York with the PGA TOUR. Zoe Wilson now holds the title of Director of Media Sales for the TOUR. Having moved to New York in 2007 not knowing a single person, she quickly got involved with her alma mater, the University of Texas, with their New York chapter. Currently sitting on three boards for the Alumni Association with Texas, Wilson built her network and now pays it forward to her university by volunteering with undergrads, sharing her experiences in New York and offering career advice.

After graduating from the University of Texas with a Sports Management degree, Wilson began her internship with the Paralympics in Colorado, being tasked with hosting the Paralympics Charity Golf Tournament. Ironically enough, this was her first time around golf and being on a golf course. Shortly after her internship with the United States Olympic Committee, Wilson made the move to New York, with the United States Golf Association. After an interesting industry transition to work for Vogue and TIME in publishing, both in marketing and sales, Wilson reconnected with her USGA network and felt the desire to get back into sports.

After stepping off the plane her first night in December of 2007, there was snow falling, her possessions were on a truck from Colorado, and that is when she realized, “this is thpgatoure rest of my life.”

In her first year with the PGA TOUR, Wilson focused her efforts on business development; however during the summer of 2016, she transitioned into a new role, to run sales for a sub-media brand called Skratch. Skratch is owned by the PGA and engages a younger demographic through digital content that covers the world of golf beyond the PGA TOUR and their competitions. Wilson describes Skratch as “social first media branding towards millennial golf fans.”

“Skratch covers the fun side and now with so many younger participants in the sport and active on social media, we are able to grow the PGA footprint” says Wilson. In her role, she focuses about 70% of her time with Skratch and 30% on the PGA TOUR, selling across different portfolios and sharing resources between the two.  When asked about her greatest challenge she has worked on so far with the TOUR, Wilson explains “it’s about creating good content at the end of the day and figuring out their brand into Skratch content.” Having a small office in New York, with the PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, there is a strong sense of family within the department. “Culture is so important to the life and DNA of the PGA TOUR. There aren’t a lot of jobs in digital media, in New York, in golf, but I have it.”

WSkratchilson explains there are a lot of great initiatives coming down the pike for the PGA TOUR and she is excited for all the opportunities coming in 2017 and beyond for her, as well as golf in general in a good place.

“One thing about the sports industry, it is very difficult to break in, but once you do, you are family,” says Wilson. Now that she has broken in, she offers two key pieces of advice: “talk to everyone you possibly can because the opportunities are communicated within the sports circle” and “do as much research as you can and get into sports for the right reasons.”

Prodigy Sports is proud to have placed Zoe Wilson into her role with the PGA TOUR and look forward to continued growth for Zoe, the PGA TOUR, and Skratch.

Checking In With: Josh Brickman, Boston Bruins & TD Garden

Enhancement and Measurement through a World-Renowned Franchise: Advice from Placement Josh Brickman

By: Megan Meisse, Prodigy Sports

Candidate placed: October 2016

Home of the NHL’s Boston Bruins and the NBA’s Boston Celtics, TD Garden hosts over 3.5 million people a year, between its 19,600-seat arena, top-notch premium areas and award-winning technology. With two professional sports teams and a record breaking concert season the energy around the building has been buzzing.

Josh Brickman

Imagine, your first day of work at New England’s largest sports and entertainment arena happens to also be the home opener for the Boston Bruins. From his very first day of his new job with TD Garden, Josh Brickman experienced what it’s like to be a part of a 90+ year old franchise and become part of one of the most passionate fan bases in the country.

Prodigy Sports was pleased to place Brickman in his role as Vice President of Business Strategy for the Boston Bruins and TD Garden.  In this role, Brickman reports directly to Glen Thornborough, Chief Revenue Officer for TD Garden and Boston Bruins, and is responsible for the newly created digital team, which includes digital marketing, data solutions and analytics. As the Vice President of Business Strategy, Brickman works to streamline Boston Bruins and TD Garden research and strategy efforts in conjunction and collaboration with marketing, ticket sales, corporate partnerships, premium, retail, and other business lines.

Brickman and his team provide direction on consumer marketing, customer analytics, retention and sales strategy, retail operations, CRM and sales planning, in addition to, general market research to keep TD Garden as an industry leader in digital trends and maximization.

“It’s been a really incredible experience getting familiar with everything. The transition worked well and I was able to bring in some of my own flavor to the organization,” Brickman stated.

Many of the projects he is currently working on started before he came in, but Brickman’s role helped to get them these initiatives off the ground. One major task is the launch of SAS, which uses data collection from a variety of sources to help better serve fans in the future. Brickman explained that his responsibility is to lead the SAS project from start to finish, including TD Garden website and mobile application integration.

When asked what one of the most essential elements in using customer relationship management information systems is, Brickman stated, “it’s really two things; have a clear understanding of your goal and be able to clearly communicate the process.” He mentioned how important it is to be good at communicating what he and his staff are trying to achieve, both internally and externally.

In his prior experience at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Brickman served as Vice President, Strategy & Research, which was a very similar role to his now with the Bruins and TD Garden. One of the biggest differences in his current role is being more involved with the day to day operations with the arena. Brickman attributes much of his knowledge and understanding of certain processes from his education and earliest experience at his first job, where he could apply his economics background to his role.

Although many strategies have changed since his first job, Brickman is excited for emerging trends in the industry. Brickman states, “the opportunity to get away from ‘all to one is possible’. The ability to target an email campaign based on a fans actual behaviors and past interactions with the arena and team is a significant opportunity for us and a great benefit for fans. However, he also shared how it takes time and dedication to get to those next steps. “Anyone can do this work manually but once it is built in the system or in SAS, these tools allow you to build on that process,” stated Brickman.

Having grown up in Connecticut, he always enjoyed that market but admitted it is not easy to move a family. However, there is great benefit in utilizing your resources like family, friends and colleagues for someone looking for a career change. Brickman believes there is incredible value in sports management programs. Though it is not an easy industry to get into, if you leverage your early relationships and build you network, you are quickly reminded of why it is one of the best industries to be in.

For those looking for a career move or to get into the sports industry, Brickman emphasized the importance of understanding the pace of the game and the industry as a whole, something that someone with a sports background may understand at a higher level. However, he went on to state that there is room for every type of background in this industry, especially if you are willing to start in any role to get your foot in the door. “As companies try to keep up with their counterparts, there is deeper need for an individual with a mixed background. Sometimes those backgrounds see it from an outside view and do it better than us!” stated Brickman.

As the evolution of technology emerges, there are exciting new projects to come and look forward to the continued success of Brickman, TD Garden, and the Boston Bruins.


Checking In With: Meredith Scerba, World Rowing Championships

Learn how to prepare for a worldwide event: Advice from Meredith Scerba

By: Megan Meisse, Prodigy Sports

Candidate placed: August 2015

More than 1,700 Olympic-caliber athletes, from more than 60+ countries, and to be broadcasted to a worldwide television audience of nearly 130 million people. This 9-da308b409y period from September 23 to October 1, 2017 is estimated to have over 40,000 spectators. The 2017 World Rowing Championships mark the first time the International Federation of Rowing Associations, or FISA, has selected the United States to host the championship in more than two decades.

Prodigy Sports had the privilege to work with the 2017 World Rowing Championships and Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, better known as SANCA, along with Sarasota and Manatee Counties on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the competition will be hosted in Nathan Benderson Park (NBP). Leading up to this global competition, the Championship was seeking an Executive Director, in which Prodigy Sports placed Meredith Scerba into this role. Scerba brings a background with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When arriving at SANCA, Scerba started from scratch, taking what she’s done in Cleveland and applying that to something new, learning about the sport of rowing itself. Having been in one place for over 10 years in Cleveland, Scerba had to quickly learn the dynamics of working with a nonprofit with close government ties, for a county-owned park.

In her first three months, she was a “one-man shop” but shortly worked with a local organizing committee and staff workers, to bring all ideas to life through their key relationships nationwide. When building her staff, Scerba mentioned the over-arching principles in regards to hiring a proper event staff is fitting the mix culturally. “This is a family, our team is a family. We may not see eye-to-eye but we have to have each other’s backs” she said. Scerba explained how the philosophy is important as there are “lots of people with lots of skills and experience, but have to bring a passion to do so.”

When she came on board, her goal was to connect the local community to the event, by having all prior programs that are happening leading up have one purpose: The Championships. “99% of my job is managing my team and the success of the event – sponsorship calls, marketing plans, communicating with the counties and creating strategic planning to hit goals,” said Scerba. When putting on an event, her internal tagline is “what is their internal journey?” “Plan as if you are a visitor and that you don’t speak English. Step out of your typical mindset and you can better plan as an outsider and think through an event,” said Scerba.logo-wrch2017

Scerba loves the spirit of working in nonprofits because of the sense of passion and commitment to a cause. She now enjoys educating the community, bringing something new to Sarasota, getting them excited but also eliminate any fears of something new. Scerba described Sarasota as a very artsy community, in which she used to her advantage, involving local live art projects, film festivals, and amazing companies to show them why NBP is the only Grade-A course in the United States, and now it is their chance to shine not only locally, but attract new business to these chambers and counties.

When asked about the steps in preparation for the Championship, a chuckled “where do I began” was the reply. Most teams arrive 13 days prior to the event in Florida, training, adapting to time change and weather. The full buildout of grandstands and tents, teams take over the facility by the weekend of the Championship, Scerba defines it as “one big puzzle made up of pieces but that’s what makes it fun.”

Scerba’s advice for those looking to get into a role within the sports industry was to never step away from an opportunity and volunteer. “Be engaged. Different types of events help expand knowledge and make you more marketable.” Scerba suggests “that if it doesn’t come right away, don’t send out resumes sitting home. Get out there and volunteer in events and seek out people on the staff to learn from.”

Prodigy Sports is proud to have placed Meredith Scerba into her role with the World Rowing Championships and look forward to an incredible event in 2017!