SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Tina Davis

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CITI
Davis has taken a crash course in the Olympics as Citi
prepares for London.
Tina Davis
Citigroup
SVP, Corporate Sponsorship and Marketing

As the daughter of an Air Force major, Tina Davis lived in Spain and Japan growing up, but her time in Europe and Asia never overlapped with an Olympics. Next year’s Summer Games in London will be her first Olympics, and she is doing everything she can to get ready for it.

Citi earlier this year signed an agreement to become the official bank of the U.S. Olympic Committee and NBC, and the company is scrambling to put together a marketing plan to take advantage of those assets prior to the opening ceremony next July. Davis, who is heading that effort, has taken a crash course in the Olympics. She has learned everything from what the International Olympic Committee does to how many international sports federations exist.

“You don’t just create an Olympic pin,” said Davis, who was at Wieden+Kennedy before joining Citi. “You have one for 100 days out; you have one for the opening ceremonies. That was a new lesson.”

Davis is trying to take all of those lessons and use them to help Citi as it looks to make the most of its USOC partnership. The company, at the direction of Davis and chief brand officer Dermot Boden, is in the process of trying to evolve from using sports sponsorships as a media platform for exposure to using them as a means to engage with customers more deeply, to boost employee morale, and to drive business across its divisions, from employee relations to government affairs.

— Tripp Mickle
  • Crowning professional achievement: At R&R Advertising, I put together a presentation for the Las Vegas tourism business that my boss called the best presentation he’d ever seen, and it played a role in convincing Las Vegas tourism to begin to look at customer segmentation.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: If there is an issue and you need to go to your superiors, take a breath before saying “The sky is falling,” and come in with a solution or point of view. Learn to manage up. 
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: My first female boss was Christine Steele at Livingston & Co. We were working on the California antismoking campaign, and she encouraged me to always stand strong in my point of view and helped me have confidence that my point of view mattered. She encouraged me to be creative in my job and inspired me to become a writer.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Billie Jean King, who is the trailblazer for women in sports and sports business. I also respect Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” who has evolved from athlete to journalist to national news anchor and credits her sports background as a major factor that contributed to her success.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Passion.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Be a writer — fiction or poetry.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“I miss her. … She had an ability to put things in perspective very quickly, and she could galvanize a room around an idea. It may take a bit, but I assume she’ll be running Citi before long.”

  • Dan Wieden, co-founder, Wieden+Kennedy
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