We love sports here at MacKenzie Corp, and as fans ourselves we especially love when teams place fan engagement as a top priority. Creating memorable on-site experiences doesn’t happen by accident. Each sport is different, each respective local market is different, and each individual fan carries with them unique preferences and expectations. Consistently delivering best-in-class experiences with a personal touch requires attention to detail, a genuine desire to develop strong relationships, and a deep understanding of who fans are beyond their transactions.
This month, our Spotlight shines on a Thought Leader who is making a significant impact the Sports Industry. She has built an exceptional team of all-star talent and they are setting the standard for fan engagement across all of sports and entertainment. It was our pleasure to discuss sports, leadership and professional development with the Senior Vice President, Premium Seating Sales and Service at AEG/STAPLES Center; Michele Kajiwara.
Was a career in sports always a goal of yours? Or was it a path that revealed itself along the way?
It was never a goal of mine but the energy, pace and culture were all driving factors in attracting me to the industry and keeping me engaged.
What life experience(s) do you feel best prepared you for a leadership position?
1. Working for a movie production company right out of college “cultivated” (read, challenged) my work stamina, my ability to problem solve, my attention to detail, and the art of covering my ass.
2. Living and working in New York made me a better negotiator and sales person, taught me the value of efficiency, speed and time management, and sharpened my BS barometer.
3. Backpacking alone through Southeast Asia and South America taught me self-reliance, the value of getting out of my comfort zone, and the ability to embrace and celebrate unique cultures and perspectives.
Who had the biggest impact on you throughout your professional development?
My parents – I saw my dad work tirelessly to build and run his company. Through him I saw the good and bad measures of success and have tried to make more informed choices for myself. While my dad led by example my mom was always the voice of reason and a constant support that gave me the courage to explore and the foundation to be confident in who I am and what I can do.
What do you consider to be your team’s strongest, most valuable asset?
Our ability to adapt. Change happens frequently and quickly for us but it is our ability to first try and anticipate what might be coming then mobilize our efforts to digest, inform, and capitalize on a positive outcome.
Are there any industry trends or team initiatives that have you particularly excited looking forward into 2018 and beyond?
I’m actually very excited to be working with MacKenzie! The tools that you are providing us to conduct meaningful surveys, gather critical information and analyze ways to better engage with our clients, understand their needs and amplify their experience is going to be crucial to our future success.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to land an entry level ticket sales position in the world of professional sports?
1. Always be building your personal brand and network.
2. Don’t wait for the perfect position to present itself, find an industry, company and culture that you can embrace and get in. Navigating the next opportunity will be much easier from within and the experience you gain will make you more valuable to the company and give you more perspective.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”