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Volume 23 No. 23
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Ashlee Huffman, CSM Sport & Entertainment

Photo: IBJ Photo / Eric Learned
Photo: IBJ Photo / Eric Learned
Photo: IBJ Photo / Eric Learned

More than a year after filling some of the biggest shoes in motorsports marketing, Ashlee Huffman says her group within CSM Sport & Entertainment is finding its footing.

Huffman was promoted in May of last year to lead CSM Sport & Entertainment’s motorsports division, formerly Just Marketing International. That agency — founded by Zak Brown, now CEO of McLaren Racing, and led by Jon Flack, now president of Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports — was bought by CSM in 2013.

Ashlee Huffman

General Manager, Motorsports, CSM Sport & Entertainment
Born: Frankfort, Ind.
Education: B.A., communications and business, Indiana University

“When I first took the position, it was immediately a wave of fear in thinking, ‘These are big shoes to fill; I will never fill these shoes,’” Huffman said. “What was key for me was immediately going, ‘Those aren’t my shoes to fill; that’s not my role to fill.’ This is a different agency.”

CSM’s motorsports group is expanding its offering beyond motorsports, Huffman said, and the group’s ethos has evolved. She cited an increased focus on experimentation and using an entrepreneurial mindset as two key changes in identity. The company recently won new accounts in selling the IndyCar Series title sponsorship for Hulman & Co. and with Ticket Guardian.

“I would say for the last four or five months, our energy has been so good; people are trying new things, and that’s definitely a change in the culture,” Huffman said.

—Adam Stern

Getting to know...

Networking works best when: I come in with the right frame of mind — open, friendly, approachable, prepared to listen.
Misperception of working in sports: It’s all glamorous and all about event planning — it most certainly is not!
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet: Bea Perez! I admire the work she’s done at Coca-Cola and have heard wonderful things about her as a person. I hear she’ll be speaking at Game Changers, so I will absolutely be stalking her.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start: My priorities are not everyone else’s priorities. A brain dump of information is not helpful. Do your brain dump, research, number crunching behind the scenes, then come forward with a summary and relevant insights.