SBJ/March 18-24, 2013/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40

Having grown up riding show horses in Virginia’s farm country, Lenah Ueltzen is accustomed to clearing hurdles. So establishing a beachhead for Wasserman Media Group Consulting overseas: That’s as easy as falling off a horse.

As you’d expect, soccer dominates the sports business landscape in London, where Ueltzen is based and where sports and entertainment consulting outside of European football is not a very familiar practice. However, since establishing the practice in 2010, Ueltzen has more than tripled revenue while servicing Wasserman clients that include Pepsi, Lenovo and Verizon.

What started as a one-person consulting operation now has six dedicated employees and does business throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

“Consulting for sports and entertainment marketing is really a whole new industry outside the U.S., so we end up selling that idea as well as WMG itself, but that is one of the things that makes it fun,” Ueltzen said. “Lots of people over here are in awe of everything that makes up an American sports event. The important thing for us has been to balance our experience with local knowledge. It’s that old thing of knowing what you don’t know being so important.”

After earning her MBA, Ueltzen went to the NBA, servicing WNBA sponsors, including P&G, Sears and Nike. Then, as now, the women’s league is not an easy sell, but, Ueltzen said, “That had a lot to do with getting me to where I am now, since I got experience in every part of the industry, from events to sponsorship to TV to sales. It was like being at a startup.”

Ueltzen eventually went to the NBA side of the house, and familiarity with league sponsor American Express took her to Wasserman Media Group Consulting, a longtime AmEx agency, where she initially worked on entertainment marketing projects before taking the job as Wasserman’s global consulting ambassador. Turns out to have been a pretty easy jump.

— Terry Lefton

Age: 35
TITLE: Senior vice president, international consulting
COMPANY: Wasserman Media Group
EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in management, business, Tulane University; MBA, Georgetown University
FAMILY: Single
CAREER: NBA/WNBA marketing partnerships, 2002-08; WMG Consulting, 2008-present

FIRST JOB: Bartender in New Orleans
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “You can’t fix ‘stupid.’”
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: #livelifetothefullest
STRESS RELEASE: Getting lost in London and finding places you never knew
GUILTY PLEASURE: Sticky toffee pudding
FANTASY JOB: Owning a flower shop in New Orleans
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “I believe we have two lives: the life we learn with, and the life we live with after that.” (“The Natural”)

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