Meet the Rising 25 Class of 2018: Katrina Palanca

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1. Tell Us About Yourself and Your Current Role

I am originally from Guam and took a chance on New York City straight out of college in 2014. With nearly nothing in my pocket, I moved to the city and started my career as an Executive Trainee at Ruder Finn, a PR firm. There was no guarantee of a full-time position after the four-month program, but I worked hard to make myself a valuable member of the team and was fortunately offered a full-time position when the program ended. Working in sports has always been a dream of mine so when I saw an opportunity at Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment – which operates Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets among a portfolio of other franchises – I reached out to the hiring manager and threw my hat in the ring.

Three seasons later, it’s exciting to be part of an ever-expanding company. Today, sponsorship is about more than just throwing a logo up on a sign. My role as Global Marketing Solutions Manager for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment is to develop 360-degree platforms that meet our partners’ marketing objectives. It starts with a deep dive into the brand we’re pitching – taking part in a discovery call with the brand, reading through social media handles, press releases, news articles – anything I can get my hands on. With an in-depth understanding of the brand, I find crossover between the brand’s target audience and our fanbase. From there, I create surround-sound campaigns by identifying specific fan touchpoints and building branded interactions around those moments.

2. Where do you see yourself in 15 years/dream job?

The international growth of the NBA, particularly in Asia, is an area that really excites me. Growing up on that side of the world, I’ve witnessed the passion fans have for both playing and watching basketball. What I love about the sport is that all you need is a ball and a hoop to start playing. I’ve seen kids play the sport in alleys, dressed in tank tops and flip-flops.

In 15 years, I see myself working firsthand in growing the sport of basketball in the Asia Pacific region. Though their enthusiasm rivals that of the American fanbase, the approach to all facets of the business has to be different – from broadcast to sponsorships to merchandise. I envision myself being part of a movement that mobilizes the NBA’s international fanbase, developing the business of basketball while bringing global fans closer to the game.

3. Who is your mentor at this point?

I have to give a shoutout to Jen Mercer and Keisha Wright. Jen was one of the first managers I ever had, and Keisha is the woman who gave a girl with no sports experience a chance at the job. I learned so much from working with these two women and continue to be inspired by their intelligence and confidence. When I am at a crossroads in my career, they are a text or email away from hearing me out and helping me sort through the challenge. Thank you, ladies!

4. What’s one thing you’ve learned early in your career that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

From digital to game presentation to sponsorship, so much of the magic happens off the court. Working in the industry has opened my eyes to how many people, teams, and departments it takes to run a franchise.

5. What does winning the Rising 25 Award mean to you?

I am so honored to be receiving the Rising 25 Award and to be named alongside this year’s lineup of winners. The industry’s emerging leaders will shape the future of the business, and it feels amazing to be recognized as a player in what’s next. Thank you to Front Office Sports for creating this platform to recognize the industry’s next generation.