SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Lisa Murray

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Murray has made a career of big events, and she has
the credentials to prove it.
Lisa Murray
Octagon Worldwide
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer


After 22 years developing and activating marketing programs for Octagon clients, Lisa Murray isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Yes, she’s still planning programs for large clients, like MasterCard and Allstate, and at big events, like the FIFA World Cup and the Sugar Bowl. But you can also find her in the parking lot at those monster events, holding a sign that guides clients on and off the buses and through mazes of hospitality.

Murray once wanted to be Ralph Nader, “until I found out,” she said, “you had to be a lawyer.’’ The legal profession’s loss has been marketing’s gain. “I’m a classic agency person,’’ Murray said, “focused on passion and results, and I’m very hands-on.’’

Clients and co-workers laud her devotion. “Lisa has taught that dedication to our entire organization, and it’s one of the main reasons we have so many long-standing clients,’’ said Jeff Shifrin, president, Octagon Marketing North America. “Everything we do on the client side has Lisa’s fingerprints on it.’’

— Terry Lefton
  • First job: Working in the advertising department at Gimbels in New York City.
  • Crowning professional achievement: I’ve measured my life against the World Cups I have worked on. That’s up to seven now, and each one has been more of a “Wow.”
  • What is the best advice you've ever received: Learn to be a critical listener. The source escapes me (probably because I hadn’t mastered the technique yet) but the concept stuck. In an age of fleeting, 140-character messages, critical listening is, well, critical to survival — much less success.
  • Woman in sports business you'd most like to meet: Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, to discuss her views on the opportunities and prospects for dynamic economic and social change as a result of Brazil hosting both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: It is a 24/7 business, especially since we are a global agency.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: People that are proactive.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Be fluent in another language and much more proficient in golf. Both are vital skills in this business.
  • Ten years from now I hope to be …: An alum of SBJ’s 60 Under 60.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“A client’s dream come true. Lisa is a hard worker, very strategic, but not afraid to do whatever it takes. She can see angles no one else does.”

  • Mava Heffler, vice president, marketing and communications, Emcor Group; former sponsorship chief at MasterCard
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