Heidi Pellerano

Aug 30, 11 Heidi Pellerano

City you live in:
Los Angeles, CA

Occupation and why?
Today, I am a vice president of Hispanic Marketing at Wasserman Media Group. In this capacity, I am in charge of creating and managing sports, entertainment and music strategies for corporate clients targeting the Hispanic segment. Additionally, I lead our company’s expansion efforts into Latin America with a special focus on market analysis and strategy development.
Prior to this career path, I had followed in my brother’s footsteps and started my career as an electrical engineer consulting for the Air Force in the Pentagon. After three years on the job, I realized I wanted something different for my professional life. After much soul searching, I arrived at the conclusion that one of the things that mattered most to me and had had the biggest impact on my life was sports. Therefore, to the surprise of my parents I decided to switch careers and dedicate myself to work in the business of sports and entertainment.

A regular day consists of?
There is no such thing as a regular day. However, if I had to provide a snapshot, I spend most of my time working with my team to service the needs of our clients and also building relationships that can eventually turn into new business.

How do you define success?
I define success by the accomplishment of my clients. If they are able to exceed their business objectives, get recognized for their work, and hopefully get promoted, we have all succeeded. Conversely, the success of each member of my team is equally important. As they grow in their positions and are ready to take on new challenges, then my job is done.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting started in sports was no easy feat, especially when you are an electrical engineer working in the Pentagon. My first few interviews were very entertaining and all ended with the same parting words: “why do you want to leave your engineering job where you make great money to work in sports and make no money?” I was determined to make this switch so I decided to beat the system and enrolled in the Masters of Sports Management program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In one year, I had a network of colleagues and my first internship with the Orlando Magic that eventually led to my first job at the WNBA.

What advice would you give a Latina who wants to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell them to never be afraid to take a risk to pursue their dreams. No matter how many naysayers or hurdles stand in your way, if you believe in something you can achieve it if you work hard enough. Lastly, though, don’t ever comprise who you are in the process.

What’s on your bucket list?
I promised my mom that I would take her on vacation to the Greek islands. I still have to deliver on that promise. Plus everybody tells me to then scoot on up to the Croatian islands. Hopefully within the next three years we can cross this one off the list.

I am proud to be Latina because:
We are extremely compassionate people who value relationships above all else. No matter what is happening in your life, you know that your blood relatives and that incredible extended family will always be there for you to put you on their shoulders while you weather the storm.

How do you get your Latin fix?
There is nothing better than having arroz con habichuelas y pollo guisado to remember my childhood. Also speaking to my mom three times a week helps a lot.

Spanglish, English, Spanish?
It depends on who I am talking to. With my family it is 100% Spanish, although they claim it sounds more like Spanglish on certain days, while with my friends and coworkers it is a mix of English and Spanglish.

What is your favorite Latin restaurant?
There are a lot of great restaurants to choose from, but my staple is Kasalta in Puerto Rico. It is the one mandatory whenever I am home. Their bistec sandwich is out of this world.

My favorite Latina stereotype is:
That we are all loud and extremely extroverted. Myers-Briggs would disagree with that according to my last results.

Best advice from mami and/or abuelita:
I could write a whole book since there have been so many. But I think the one that comes in most handy in my professional career is “don’t expect pears from an elm tree.”

Favorite home remedy
This one might not be fair since my mom is a doctor, but I always remember warm salt water gargles when we had a sore throat. It was nasty, but it worked. It still does.

Favorite Quote:
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment that was not short on quotes or sayings. My maternal grandfather was notorious for sharing some great ones. I think the one I remember most was about dealing with difficult situations and keeping things in perspective: “Cuentan de un sabio, que un día tan probre y mísero estaba, que sólo se sustentaba de unas yerbas que cogía. Habrá otro, entre sí decía, más pobre y triste que yo? Y cuando el rostro volvió, halló la respuesta, viendo que iba otro sabio cogiendo de las hojas que él arrojó.” (Calderón de la Barca)

Career Highlights
I think the highlight for me is right now, where I have been given the opportunity to grow our Hispanic business here in the US and in Latin America. The good thing is that now I have the opportunity to give other Latinas(os) their chance to break into the business of sports, which is definitely a need when you consider that non-Latinos account for 93% of the sports industry workforce.

[fun]♦ Till this day nobody has ever guessed correctly that I am Latina. I have heard guesses from all across Europe including: Italy, Germany, France, and Hungary. However, I guess the fact that I am six feet tall and have a German first name and an Italian last name does not help my situation. But I am 100% Puerto Rican and Dominican and proud of it.[/fun]

♦ Heidi Pellerano has over 10 years of experience as a sports marketer having worked for teams, leagues and marketing agencies.
♦ She is a vice president at Wasserman Media Group, a global sports and entertainment company with leadership positions in athlete representation, corporate consulting, global media rights, global sales, and action sports/lifestyle.
♦ Most recently, she was promoted to lead Wasserman’s Hispanic business.[/career]

[description]I think the highlight for me is right now, where I have been given the opportunity to grow our Hispanic business here in the US and in Latin America.[/description]

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