SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers

Game Changers: Mary Owen

Photo: COURTESY OF MARY OWEN
Owen (left) spends time with her aunt, Mary Wilson,
at a Buffalo kickoff event.
Mary Owen
Buffalo Bills
EVP, Strategic Planning
Mary Owen is one of the most high-profile team executives in sports, representing the Buffalo Bills at NFL ownership meetings and taking a central role in the club’s initiative to play games in Toronto. Owen got her start with the Bills in large part because her aunt, Mary Wilson, is team owner Ralph Wilson’s wife. But since joining the team full time in 2000 after graduating from the University of Virginia, Owen has moved quickly through the ranks, winning herself not only key duties at the Bills, but also with Ralph Wilson’s philanthropy.

She finds herself so busy she sometimes has to skip her other passion, running triathlons. “Sometimes,” she said laughing, “work just gets in the way of life.”

— Daniel Kaplan
  • Crowning professional achievement: Building our fan base and regionalization program in Toronto and southern Ontario.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: Losing great people because we weren’t able to provide them with the right opportunity to grow.
  • What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?: Keep track of the people you meet. Sports business is a small world and gets smaller as you progress in your career.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Heidi Ueberroth. I would love to learn more about her experiences and how she views the opportunity for other professional sports to expand globally.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: The unpredictability of wins and losses.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Mary is extremely driven to excel and be the best in everything she takes on. … We are proud of all she has accomplished in her career thus far — including the recent completion of her MBA studies — but what I love most about Mary is her sense of humor, common sense, and her dedication to be there for her family and friends.”

  • Mary Wilson, Owen’s aunt and wife of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson
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