My biggest challenge, as well as my greatest privilege has been perfecting a reasonable work life balance. As a former collegiate athlete, I have the mentality of giving my all in everything I do and trying to balance that mentality at work as well as in my personal life is definitely a challenge, but it also really inspires me.
BriAnne Newman brings more than a decade of sports marketing experience to her role as Vice President of Consulting & Events at Fenway Sports Management. Since joining FSM in 2005, she has played an integral part in developing high-impact marketing programs for leading brands and organizations, including Dunkin’ Brands, Sonovion, JetBlue, Santander Bank, Steward, Stop & Shop and the Red Sox Foundation.
Newman leads the agency’s Consulting & Events practice, which helps blue chip brands shape sports marketing strategies, deliver winning activation programs and establish successful events. Her signature projects for Dunkin’ include the 2015 “Summer Chill” campaign with David Ortiz and Rob Gronkowski in the New England market as well as architecting a partnership with LeBron James in China to showcase Dunkin’s commitment to and investment in consumers in Asia. Through her work with one of FSM’s longstanding event clients, Newman has helped JetBlue generate more than 1.6 million dollars to support local charities through its Swing for Good golf tournament, the airline’s signature fundraising event, since its inception in 2009.
Newman also oversees FSM’s Ventures division, including MLB Destinations, Red Sox Fantasy Camp and Youth Baseball Summer Camp, and plays a lead role in identifying new business opportunities for her teams. Newman received a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Providence College. She currently lives in Natick, Massachusetts with her husband Jeff and their daughter Reese and son Will.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I began my career at Fenway Sports Management (FSM) as an intern after graduating from Providence College and have worked through the ranks here to become Vice President of the global sports marketing firm’s Consulting & Events department. Initially, I worked on the sales team, where I was responsible for supporting and servicing Boston College athletic partners. From there, I was asked by our now President Mark Lev to join the burgeoning Consulting & Events department, and that’s really where I found my niche. Personally, my upbringing has really influenced my work ethic that has gotten me where I am — my mom worked in a hospital, and my dad was a gym teacher. School, life, and sports set the tone for my personality traits. Growing up, I viewed myself as an underdog when it came to sports, always pushing through challenges. My experiences as a collegiate athlete, playing soccer for all four years at Providence College and named Captain my senior year, helped me hone my approach to leadership and cultivate my drive for success. I believe that the characteristics of dedication and ambition refined through those experiences have greatly contributed to my professional achievements.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
One quirky management technique comes to mind. Years back, while working on our Boston College account, I would regularly take walks with Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo, which was an interesting way to build client communication. He loved to exercise in the middle of the day, so we’d go on 4-mile walks (over an hour) to discuss work in another setting, which proved invaluable in building a strong client relationship.
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge, as well as my greatest privilege has been perfecting a reasonable work life balance. As a former collegiate athlete, I have the mentality of giving my all in everything I do and trying to balance that mentality at work as well as in my personal life is definitely a challenge, but it also really inspires me. I don’t think I’ll ever perfect it, but I really want to show my children, Reese and Will as well as my FSM family, that it’s possible to work in the sports industry while having a family and thrive with both.
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
Lead by example. While I expect the highest-quality outputs from everyone on my team, first and foremost I expect the most out of myself. I understand everyone is different, so treating everyone as they need to be managed is a priority for me. I always tell myself to be human. While I can come across as all-business, I think showing your personal side, and showing that it’s okay to be a human, goes a long way when leading others. My job also puts things into perspective. After having children, I understand we are not curing cancer in sports marketing, and there are bigger things in life. Just because I’m in management or leadership doesn’t mean I have every answer, and I have questions, too. I am always challenging myself and always ready to listen to my colleagues.”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Outside of personal role models like my father, who really helped me cultivate my drive and ambition, Chuck Steedman (former Executive Vice President of Fenway Sports Group) is someone who provided invaluable advice and mentoring while I was moving up the ladder at Fenway Sports Management (FSM). He helped to set upfront expectations, and a lot of things he did as a manager stuck with me. He would always say to proof a document 10 times and always re-read your emails. He also insisted that if you’re overwhelmed, write it down and chip away at it. Don’t ever present a problem without also providing a viable a solution. I’ve tried to bring those things to those I manage.”
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
“When I first became a mom, I thought the transition back to work would be difficult, but FSM couldn’t have made the transition smoother. Senior leadership was very supportive of my balancing priorities and they have a really open mind when it comes to work/life balance, so I’m very lucky. Honestly, I think working in the sports business and knowing how to balance competing priorities has made me a better mom.”
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
Yes, I would say I feel like in motherhood in general, a lot of personal things outside of career get put on the back-burner, like personal time and fitness. The short answer is yes, it’s gotten harder, especially working in the sports industry with atypical hours. Fitness is really important to me and I like to set aside 2–3 times a week to make sure I’m giving myself that time, and It’s a critical routine for me to be able to clear my mind. Family is certainly the engine that drives everything, and putting things into perspective is really important. Being there for a kid’s birthday and reading a book for their class is more important than a meeting that can be moved, and our management team at FSM is really understanding of a positive work/life balance.”
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. Stand up for what you believe in.
4. Put things into perspective.
5. Stay true to who you are.”
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride?
Sometimes I am very hard on myself with expectations, and I have to take a step back and remind myself that I know I am doing something right here. If my career ended today, I know I would be proud of all I’ve accomplished, personally and professionally, and how what I’m doing has worked for me. I’m specifically proud of how I’ve been able to contribute to the substantial growth of the Consulting & Events department. My team has been able to significantly grow the clientele to blue-chip brands like Dunkin’, JetBlue, Santander, Sunovion and Steward, amongst others, and the department now serves as a significant revenue driver for the organization.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’d say mental health, especially depression and anxiety. It’s close to my heart as I’ve known a fair number of people affected by it so it definitely hits home for me. I’d really love to see strides made in helping people address it and move forward with several different components of assistance in our society.”
What is the best way for people to connect with you on social media?
You’ll see lots of pictures of my family and kids and some of work on Instagram at @briannenewman, or you can follow our FSM channels on Twitter at @fenwaysportsmgt or LinkedIn page at Fenway Sports Management.
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Authority magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live