Mary Heath, a career sponsorship and events professional, was recently promoted to chief marketing officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. Heath previously served as the senior director of sales and partnership marketing for the hall of fame, securing long-term partnerships with companies such as Rolex, Kia Motors and Alex and Ani. She is a former vice president of IMG’s tennis division and has served as an ATP World Tour and Women’s Tennis Association tournament director. For more than a decade, Heath was the co-owner of Perennial events. Heath holds a B.A. in English from Denison University and is also an adjunct professor of sports marketing at Salve Regina University.
PBN: Tell us a little bit about the new responsibilities.
HEATH: I will work closely with the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s board of directors and CEO to develop new sponsorship assets for our existing partners and to forge relationships with local, national and international companies. In particular, I’ll be working with companies that are looking to align with our brand and to capitalize on the unique business-to-business opportunities we offer through the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Enshrinement Weekend and the Legends Ball in New York City.
PBN: What kind of personality traits do you think are essential for success in this type of work?
HEATH: You have to be empathetic, creative and optimistic. It’s critical that a prospective sponsor perceives you as someone on their team. You must empathize with a sponsor’s sales and marketing goals and objectives in order to develop a successful program. Creativity is essential. … The more creative you are, the more you will stand out from the crowd in the cluttered world of sports and entertainment.
PBN: In your spare time, you’re also an active tennis player. What do you love about the game?
HEATH: I played team sports from grade school through college, and what I love most about tennis is it has allowed me to still enjoy competitive sports for the last 30 years while spending time with my family and friends and staying fit. … Tennis has taught me to embrace the pressure, stay focused and to think about winning one point at a time. •
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