Words of WISdom from Jessica Smith VP of Sponsorship - San Jose Earthquakes
Wednesday, October 11 2017 12:00am
OHIO Women in Sports Committee is back with this week's Words of WISdom featuring Jessica Smith (PMSA '15), the vice president of sponsorship at San Jose Earthquakes Soccer.
Jessica Smith (PMSA '15)
Vice President of Sponsorship, San Jose Earthquakes Soccer
Why did you decide to pursue a career in sports?
I have always been drawn to sports. As an athlete and sports fan growing up I worked to find a career choice that would allow me to incorporate my passion. For my undergraduate degree at SUNY Oswego I was a journalism major, where I focused on covering sports. While I enjoyed some aspects of this, I knew journalism did not fit my personality or outside motivations. Between my junior and senior year, I was an intern at a minor league baseball team, the Auburn Doubledays. That summer is where I fell in love with working in the front office of a team.
You’ve worked in three different professional sport leagues. What are the differences, if any, between how business is conducted amongst the leagues?
There are many differences in each league, mainly based on the goals of each league and demographics they are speaking to. Each league streamlines teams in a unique way, fostering communication between teams for the betterment of the league. MLB, and now the NHL, have MLBAM controlling their digital and social spaces with the goal of monetizing it to its full potential. From a sponsorship perspective, this creates an additional layer of constant communication and boundaries to work within from a sales perspective. Being a part of Major League Soccer has been incredibly rewarding. The league provides a lot of support through data they have compiled and transparency in both league deals and team deals. It allows each team to sell in a more intelligent way and truly understand each category’s potential.
What has been the highlight of your professional career?
Having the opportunity to join the Earthquakes as Vice President of Sponsorship is the highlight of my career. It was always a goal of mine to continually improve, increase my skill set and eventually be in a position of leadership. Working to manage the talented staff in place and be a small part of our plan for growth makes every day exciting.
What are the most important skills/experiences for young professionals starting a career in sports to have?
The most important skill to have is a positive attitude. When I am hiring, I always look for attitude over skill because with the right attitude any skill can be learned. It’s imperative to always work in a way that places the company’s goals over those of your department and the department goals over your personal goals. Company > Department > Self.
If you could give a shout out to a fellow Bobcat, who would it be and why?
It’s impossible to give a shout out to one Bobcat! David King, who oversees sponsorship at the Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx, is the reason I am a Bobcat. He was in the process of completing his MSA and was adamant that I should do the same. He and I worked together for over five years while at the Oakland A’s and still text/call weekly to connect for personal or professional reasons. Secondly, Emily Fuller. Emily is a Senior Manager, Brands at Wasserman. Through our two years in the program we became best friends and still connect weekly while planning our next visits to Athens.