Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DigiGirlz Writing Project

Several alumni of Microsoft's DigiGirlz camp visited the Seattle Storm's business headquarters Tuesday to work with the WIRED Department and learn about writing and editing, web production and photography and video.

The four bloggers in the group joined me to interview Storm employees Kelly and Laura about their jobs and how they got to this point in their careers. They'll share the blogs they wrote off of this interview.

Interview Video


By Allegra

Can you "play well with others"? Laura and Kelly, two of the women on the team behind the Storm, told us about some of the things their job entails. They do everything from getting "butts in seats" to performing as mascot when no one else is able to. Teamwork is the key to working behind the Storm.

"We face challenges everyday because our size,” said Kelly (at right).
The team behind the Storm has to deal with the issues of money and resources, but while dealing with those they have the chance for new personal experiences. I bet Kelly never thought she would serve as mascot for a Storm game.
"To work smarter," not harder is one of the goals this team is constantly trying to accomplish. Due to their size they do their best to work with what they have.

'Butts in Seats'

By Christine Chin

Two members of the Seattle Storm’s marketing team talked about the goals that apply to their job by getting “butts in seats”. That term is pretty self -explanatory: Their job is to market their product to get people to come to the Seattle Storm games. Marketing their product isn’t as easy as it seems. The Seattle Storm team has a very small staff behind the scenes, which can make it challenging. It takes a lot of effort between each group of their team to get the right marketing plan to get something that works to make a profit.

On a daily basis they use the basic skills that apply to marketing such as knowing their target market to advertising and promoting to the right people.

“It’s all about putting the product on the court”, said Kelly.

When they advertise they usually advertise to online local websites to try to partner with their sponsors to come up with a plan that will benefit both parties. As the two team members said, they want to get “butts in seats”.

Seattle Storm Employees: Contacts and Cooperation

By Tamara Makonnen

The Seattle Storm, a part of the rapidly growing sport of women’s basketball, is spotlighted mainly on the court. However, the work done off the court is just as complicated. Kelly and Laura (seen at right) work in the Storm’s marketing department. They spoke to some DigiGirl alumni today about trials and tribulation as well as success in their career.

“Games are great,” said Kelly. “When you see people who are coming because of you put the message out, it’s very fulfilling. It’s very gratifying”

They both are very experienced with working with the team but for Laura this wasn’t exactly her intended career path. Majoring in economics with a minor in government, Laura explained how contact with a friend who worked in the NBA really gave her her first break in the sports business, shining some light on the importance of networking and contacts inadvertently.

“I worked at an investment management company for two years and just kind of realized it wasn’t for me," Laura said. "I spoke with an assistant coach of mine from college who worked in the NBA and found out about opportunities there were in the NBA & WNBA and ended up getting a job there.”

Working In a Small Business

Both of them mentioned the impact in working with such a small group of people to get so much done.

“We are all very involved in everything. No matter what your title is, you’re often doing a lot of things that cross into other departments,” Laura said.

They have to learn the importance of being a team player because of how small the business is. They work very closely with everyone for a common goal, whether it is the business development department working with the WIRED department or an employee in the marketing group filling in as the Storm’s mascot.

Because of their size, the amount of funding they have to work with is not very large in comparison to other professional sports teams.

“[Laura] closely monitors and makes sure that we’re spending our [advertising] dollars efficiently because we don’t have a lot of them,” Kelly said.

Advertising to the public via the media costs a great deal of money that sometimes the team doesn’t have, so they work out “trades” with other corporations to give some advertising to get some advertising. So not only do they need to know how to cooperate with others, they also have to have great negotiation skills to do their job.

Though, at times, it can be difficult working with such a small staff, there are also advantages about it. When asked what her favorite thing about her job, Laura answered, “The people that I work with. I just love coming to work everyday because of the people that I work with.”

You get to know the people you work with very well. I would imagine most of them are good friends by now, which is not very common in large companies. Moreover, Kelly started working with the Storm after majoring in Sports Management in college. She started with an entry-level customer service job and rose to the ranks of senior coordinator of business operations.

On the whole, the people in the Seattle Storm’s business offices work a lot harder than perceived. They are dedicated to a sport they love and a job they enjoy. They deal with ups and downs together as a team much like the players and learn from each other every day.

The Storm Office

By Moya O'Grady

Having a job with the WNBA has some very unique challenges. In the Storm office, there is a long list of things to do. However, because the Storm has only been around for nine seasons, and the WNBA for 12, there is a smaller fan base, budget, and staff than there would be at a more established professional sports team. The smaller staff means that there must be a small list of things to do, and that means that tasks must frequently be prioritized, reprioritized, revised, and eliminated, because there just aren’t enough people to get everything done.

The relatively small consumer base of the WNBA and the Storm means that advertising budgets must be small and that the people in charge of advertising must be creative. The Storm staff tries to be creative by partnering with other organizations. The Storm will promote another organization in exchange for the other organization promoting them.