Leaving Dell was a big decision for me. I loved working at Dell, have great respect for the company and have built strong relationships there and in the Austin community over the past 10 years. I continue to stay in touch with my Dell colleagues in Austin.
What drew me to San Diego was the unique and exciting role working for the Padres. When I was offered the position of SVP brand development working for Tom Garfinkel and Jeff Moorad, I knew this was an incredible opportunity and a great fit for me.
Senior vice president of brand development. The Padres haven't had this position before. Can you tell us a little about it?
The role is designed to ensure our fans have a great brand experience across all the touch points they encounter -- including the in-park experience, marketing communications, media, broadcasting, targeted programs and community affairs.
Everyone in the Padres organization is a brand steward. My goal is to work with folks across our organization to elevate the San Diego Padres brand and make the team stand out for our fans and for the community.
As this job was presented to you, what are some of the things that excited you most about it?
I am very excited about the opportunity to work in baseball and to work for a great organization. I look forward to moving from marketing consumer products to marketing the overall San Diego Padres experience. Having just started this week, I have already been greatly impressed with the high caliber of people across the organization.
Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel have talked about the need to "generate revenue" to positively impact the team on the field. What are your initial thoughts about going about doing that?
Often people think they must pick between selling tickets and marketing the brand. In reality, a great brand -- one that is relevant and engaging -- helps bring people to the ballpark. One key goal for us is to increase our messaging in the San Diego community -- doing so will remind people how much fun they have watching the Padres in PETCO Park.
What are your goals these first few weeks and months? What are the first things you're going to try to accomplish in this market?
I am focused on putting myself into our fans' shoes and experiencing Padres games as they do. I want to take in the feedback from our fans and from the community. At this time, I am most interested in listening and observing.
This is the first time you've worked for a professional sports team and in baseball. What was attractive about making that jump?
Sports and sports marketing have always been a great draw for me. In 1998, I spent a summer working for Nike in its strategic planning group. I loved working on projects associated with top athletes. Working at Dell reinforced my passion for consumer marketing. Joining the San Diego Padres organization allows me to marry my marketing background with my love of sports.
What kind of athletic background do you have? Did you play sports growing up? You grew up in Houston, were you an Astros fan?
I was a very big Astros fan. I remember being crushed by the Astros-Mets series in 1986. I was a huge fan of Billy Doran, Kevin Bass, Jose Cruz and Mike Scott. I was also a Phi Slamma Jamma fan. I remember when Hakeem and the team came to our middle school. I was also an avid Rockets fan. Growing up I swam for several years for a community team. I still swim regularly and in Austin played soccer for a co-ed league.
Dell is located in Round Rock, just outside Austin. Are you a music fan? Favorite shows you've seen on 6th Street?
I lived in central Austin and love to see shows. My favorite venue in Austin is Stubbs BBQ, which has a perfect backyard concert area. Ghostland Observatory was a great duo that I saw there this year. I also like the Parish on 6th street, which showcases acts like Ingrid Michaelson. I have gone to the ACL music festival for the last five years. Coldplay and Beck are two of my favorite bands that I have seen there.
Can I mention that I went to ACL in 2006 and, in addition to seeing my favorite band (Guster), saw Jake Gyllenhaal and Lance Armstrong at Chuy's? Can you top that brush with celebrity?
Guster is terrific! I have seen Luke and Owen Wilson a few times and Matthew McConaughey is an Austin regular.
You went to Duke, were you a Cameron Crazie? Any good stories there?
I must admit I was a Cameron Crazie. I graduated in 1993, so I was lucky to be there in the 1991 and 1992 seasons. I camped out for the UNC game each year.
Finally, Laura, fish tacos or Rudy's Bar-B-Q?