Let me give you a quick bio of DeAnna. Ms. Holland was born and raised in Seattle then attended Arizona State University (Go Devils!). After finishing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to San Fran to attend graduate school at the University of San Francisco. While completing USF’s sport management grad program, she interned for numerous organizations’ marketing departments including Stanford University Athletic Department, The Raider Image, and the Oakland Raiders. After finishing her program, she continued on with the Oakland Raiders developing the Client Services, Marketing Sponsorships Department. Miss Holland is currently the community marketing manager for Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Los Angeles area, where she oversees marketing and partnership elements for her territory.
Here is what she had to say about her life as a woman in the sports world.
Hardwood Diva: So DeAnna, what made you decide to pursue a career in sports?
DeAnna Holland: My interest in sports begin at a very young age. my first sports love was initially baseball and I remember attending Seattle Mariners as well as Seattle Seahawks games with my dad. While attending the games I would find myself intrigued not just by the sporting event but also looking in amazement at all the advertising within the game. My sister is a professional track and field athlete and as I got older I began following her career in the sports industry much closer and it furthered my interest in the marketing side of sports.
HDiva: Oh okay. So marketing and sports are your passions. Cool. What do you like most about them?
DeAnna: What I enjoy most about marketing and sports is that no day is ever the same, and no program or campaign is ever the same either. Though the elements may stay the same, the way you choose to market and present them to the consumer and fan base is completely open to variation. I love the opportunity to be creative in an industry which I love. I was able to turn my passion for sports and my interest in client side marketing into my career.
HDiva: Interesting. So what is a typical day like for you at Dick’s Sporting Goods?
DeAnna: A typical day involves visiting approximately two or so of the stores within my marketing territory and working directly with the local communities to build youth sports partnerships and develop new and creative aspects to strengthen the current partnerships in place. In addition to the youth sports aspect, I work with the stores to implement corporate marketing elements/programs which span across our 440 Dick’s Sporting Goods store locations such as MLS Sponsorship, MVP Program, and ESPN The Weekend, etc.
HDiva: Now that sounds like a fun job. But naturally there are some not so fun aspects to the sports world. Have you noticed any discrimination as a woman working in the sports industry?
DeAnna: Being a woman in a typically male dominated profession such as the sporting industry comes with its share of discrimination and double takes. It’s always funny to see the look on someone’s face when they realize you actually know what you are talking about when you speak in relation to sports or when they see the creative marketing programs you’ve developed which align with and exceed their expectations. As a woman in the sports industry, you can definitely feel as if you are always working two times harder than the male individual next to you.
HDiva: What did you learn from your experience working in the NFL?
DeAnna: Working in the NFL taught me that it’s truly more than just a game. There are so many behind the scenes moving parts, and aspects to the NFL and an NFL game day. Working in the NFL allowed me to build self-confidence in my talents and my skills, while allowing me to see that when it comes to the sports marketing industry there is never just one answer or one way to accomplish any task or project placed in front of you. The opportunity to work in the NFL definitely strengthened my love for the game of football.
HDiva: What advice would you give to young girls wanting a career in sports marketing?
DeAnna: The advice i would give to young women interested in a career within the sports industry, is to prepare yourself ahead of time for any opportunity/expectation which may be thrown at you. I have found that the most successful people within the sports industry are not only experts at their position, but understand the sport as a business. The ability to understand the game on the field, to the marketing plan, to the details about the ticketing specials for that week allow you to be an expert in your field. I also highly suggest a variety of internships as well as expanding your professional circle of business contacts.