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Volume 20 No. 42
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Forty Under 40

Photo by: MIAMI HEAT
The deals have been coming fast and furious for the Miami Heat since LeBron James landed in South Beach last season. Helping leverage the team’s success is Eve Wright, whose savvy legal skills are paying off for the franchise.

Wright, vice president and associate general counsel for the Heat, not only is helping pave the way for growth at one of the league’s top revenue teams, she also is exerting her influence beyond the Heat’s front office.

She is a board member for USA Track & Field, and in the past has served on the boards of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, and the Corporate Counsel Women of Color. She guest lectures on business and sports to a wide variety of groups and serves as a mentor for women in the industry.

“Eve’s modest demeanor belies a profound passion for contributing to our industry via board service and mentoring,” said Eric Woolworth, president of business operations for the Heat.

Wright’s growing sphere of influence is driven by her career success. After working for a Minneapolis law firm after graduating from law school at Indiana University, Wright worked for six years as senior director of legal affairs for the LPGA. She joined the Heat in 2007 where she deals with a variety of legal issues ranging from negotiating legal points of sponsorship deals to navigating the local political waters for the Heat and the county-owned AmericanAirlines Arena.

“We are innovative and pushing the limits of traditional deals,” Wright said. “What we are doing is bigger, better and more meaningful, so from a legal standpoint we have to figure out how to achieve it.”

Evidence of her role in boosting the Heat’s bottom line is a corporate sponsorship roster that’s up at least 40 percent in the past year.

“Eve has brought a substantial skill-set of drafting and negotiating complex legal contracts with a multitude of Heat corporate partners, many of which are the most recognizable brands in the world,” Woolworth said. “Eve’s strategic thinking and creative approach both are instrumental in closing deals that allow us to stage top-line acts, entertainers, shows and productions at our facility.”

Age: 37
TitleS: Vice president and associate general counsel
Organizations: Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena
Education: DePauw University; Indiana University School of Law
Family: Husband, Dr. Ken Taylor
Career: Senior director of legal affairs/business affairs, LPGA (2001-06); joined The Heat Group in January 2007
FIRST JOB: Intern at the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper
Last vacation: India (Mumbai and Goa)
what's on your ipod? A little bit of everything! MJ, Ludacris, “Bodies” by Drowning Pool, Jill Scott, U2, Kem, Sade, Bill Withers, Eminem, Maze, Sergio Mendes, Maxwell, Chris Botti, Cassandra Wilson and more.
Guilty pleasure: Red velvet cake, key lime pie, tiramisu … yeah, pretty much any dessert.
Best stress release: Spa and exercise
Pet peeve: Bad manners
Fantasy job: While I’m still toying with being a supermodel, fashion designer and a commissioner (in no particular order), I think I have my fantasy job!
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: Thoughts of basketballs being hurled off the roof of the arena or dropped from helicopters