As a team of problem-solvers, we are constantly looking to identify painpoints and develop solutions for our partner brands. Through creativity and innovation, we accomplish our goals by supporting our clients in accomplishing their goals. So it’s always great to find another company with a similar mission and a shared passion for taking clients to the next level.
Last year, a friend and colleague introduced us to a company that is taking a creative and innovative approach to overcoming the challenges and limitations of traditional presentation software. This company, Sportsdigita, developed a product that streamlines the process of creating customizable, visually engaging presentations that shorten sales cycles and tells a brand’s story with rich multimedia. We were intrigued when we heard about this product, called the Digideck, and we were blown away when we saw its capabilities. Naturally we had to meet the people behind the scenes and were not shocked to learn the Sportsdigita team is as impressive as the products they offer. Run by some of the busiest and most driven professionals we’ve come across, this company is taking off within the sports industry with a client list of over 350+ teams and shows no signs of slowing down.
We are fortunate to have caught up with one of the Sportsdigita leaders and she agreed to be our Thought Leader for this month. It’s our pleasure to introduce one of the hardest working women in business and an all-around great person, the Executive Vice President of Business Development for Sportsdigita – Christy Grady.
Was a career in sports always a goal of yours? Or was it a path that revealed itself along the way?
I knew I wanted to work in the sports space. While pursuing my undergraduate degree in business I was lucky enough to work in the Athletic Department at the University of Notre Dame as a Student-Manager. That is where my inspiration to pursue a career in sports started.
What life experience(s), either personal or professional, do you feel best prepared you for a leadership position?
I was raised in a driven household as one of four siblings and definitely am the talker of the bunch. From family gatherings to neighborhood parties to greeting guests as they arrived, I always jumped at the opportunity to lead the charge. My parents have always been involved as leaders in so many activities both personally and professionally. I certainly have embraced leadership roles as a result of the example they set.
Who had the biggest impact on you throughout your professional development?
This is a tough question. I have had an opportunity to work with some amazing people in this industry who have impacted my professional development in different ways. If I had to narrow it down to one I would say Steve Rosner, Co-Founder of 16W Marketing. Steve is a no- nonsense type of leader who truly values loyalty, hard work, paying attention to details and giving people the opportunity to lead.
From 2005 to 2013 you achieved impressive career progress within the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Sounders (MLS) organizations. Looking back on your rise from Sr. Account Executive to Director of Partnership Development, what were some of the keys to earning these growth opportunities?
1. Speak up and be honest about your career goals.
2. Raise your hand to take on more responsibilities.
3. Establish relationships with co-workers in other departments. Learn more about what they do, how they do it and how your departments might work better together.
4. Right place, right time – then it is what you make of the opportunity.
5. Work hard, pay attention to the details, maintain strong relationships with colleagues both at your organization, in the community and at other teams and Leagues.
In your current position you have the opportunity to travel the country representing an exciting and innovative sports agency, Sportsdigita. How are you able to stay focused and organized with such a demanding – and at times hectic – schedule?
I am definitely always willing to get on an airplane whether it is for an existing partner, prospective partner or to simply catch up with contacts in the industry. Case and point I am already Platinum this year and it is only April. This is what happens when you are an owner in a business. It is hard to stay organized and I certainly couldn’t do it without a supportive family and great team back in Minneapolis always willing to jump in and help when asked. I am crazy about managing work and personal checklists….one fun little tidbit, I am getting married in three weeks and this is the first time I have given up control of my checklist to my wedding planner. Sometimes outsourcing is the best solution.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I sometimes need to pinch myself to confirm that I really am working in the sports and technology space with some of the biggest brands in the industry. Jumping on a quick call with the Yankees, Lakers, Madison Square Garden, the Seahawks….no day is ever dull.
Based on your sports business experience, do you see consumer insights and fan engagement data playing an increasingly important role within the industry? If so, how?
Absolutely. The more teams can leverage technology to learn about their fans the better they will be able to serve them with relevant content and access to unique experiences that resonate with them. If you truly know your customers and engage with them on a more personal level they will feel more connected with the team/organization. That makes it much more difficult for them to choose to spend their discretionary income elsewhere.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to land an entry level position in the world of professional sports?
Be willing to move, be humble, be open to learning new things, build and maintain strong relationships and lastly, LISTEN with the intent to understand!
What is your favorite quote?
“Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude”
P.S. This quote is actually on the wall in my office!