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Volume 21 No. 1
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Forty Under 40

Photo by: AEG
If the NFL ever returns to play in a stadium in downtown Los Angeles, Martha Saucedo may be the woman behind the scenes who played a key part in getting it done.

Saucedo, AEG’s executive vice president of external affairs, worked for two years to get all the government approvals in place and an environmental impact report completed so that an NFL stadium can be built adjacent to Staples Center, when and if an NFL club agrees to move there. Her work continues now on the company’s NFL effort in terms of both community engagement and political aspects related to the project.

Both California and Los Angeles politics have been blamed as the major reason the second largest city in the U.S. has been without an NFL club since 1995, but Saucedo has overcome that, said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG.

“We are the only city that lost two NFL teams in the same year, and the reason the NFL is not here is not our support, our passion, our love of our nation’s pastime, it is because of [politics],” Leiweke said. “We have everything in order, and the fact that the community and political leaders and the business community came behind it is a great testament and tribute to Martha.”

Leiweke describes Saucedo as devoted, honorable, hardworking and charming. “Martha may interest you with her charm, but she closes the deal with her intelligence and work ethic,” Leiweke said. “She looks innocent and shy, but she packs a wallop.”

From joining AEG as community affairs manager in 2001, Saucedo has since worked as both director and vice president of community affairs before taking her current role last year. She also is the only woman on AEG’s 13-member executive committee.

In addition to representing AEG in political affairs, Saucedo in is charge of corporate giving and charity initiatives and has been responsible for AEG and its affiliated entities giving more than $85 million to charitable organizations over the years.

But as Luc Robitaille, president of business of operations for the AEG-owned Los Angeles Kings, pointed out, “Martha doesn’t just write checks.” Saucedo gets AEG employees — whether they are players on the Kings or the MLS Galaxy, or AEG corporate executives — involved in giving their time to the community. “She makes us all look good,” he said.

Saucedo said she loves her job because she is able to give to a lot of worthy people and causes and because she meets a lot of different people. “I have never had the same day twice,” she said. “I have a great job. We are providing resources to organizations that are providing opportunities to kids.”

— Liz Mullen

Age: 39
 Title: Executive vice president, external affairs
EDUCATION: B.A., political science, UCLA
FAMILY: Single
CAREER: U.S. House of Representatives, Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), 1997-2000; Mattel Inc., 2000-01; AEG, 2001-present

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Knowing there are kids who may never have the opportunities that I have had because of their life circumstances; wanting to maximize what we can do as an organization and what I can do personally to help change their course in life.

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: I take time to prioritize my family and friends, which means showing up when it’s important, like visiting my nephew for his 9th birthday in Oklahoma.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Work hard, believe in yourself and maintain a strong sense of personal integrity
IPOD PLAYLIST: The Killers, The Smiths, Kings of Leon
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: I am hardworking, thoughtful, compassionate, caring, family-oriented, giving, friendly, warm, and loyal.
PET PEEVE: Dishonest people