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Volume 22 No. 27
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Melissa Heiter, CAA ICON

Photo: Andrea Flanagan Photography

In the early 2000s, Melissa Heiter reinvented her career and in the process helped create a new niche within the sports industry.

After leaving a career in project management and technical communication, Heiter moved her way through a series of marketing positions with an array of companies in different sectors. In 2004, she connected with Tim Romani, who was looking to hire a full-time marketing employee for his new company, ICON Venue Group, which would be purchased by CAA in 2016. 

Melissa Heiter

Senior Vice President, CAA ICON

Born: Denver
Education: Colorado State University, B.A., technical journalism

Heiter has been credited with helping Romani create a business that really didn’t exist — owners’ representation companies, which advise sports teams and venue owners in large business deals that run the gamut from sponsorships to real estate transactions. 

“Back then there were no companies that really specialized in this, as it is now,” Heiter said. “Tim had an extraordinary vision that I believed in, that I helped publicize, and 12 years in, it led to CAA, one of the largest sports and entertainment agencies, wanting a piece of this business.”

As the company’s first female senior-level executive, Heiter has excelled in a field that is heavily male dominated. She helped CAA ICON amass a portfolio of clients worth more than $20 billion during her time at the company.

Since the CAA acquisition, Heiter has helped secure project management deals for stadiums and arenas, including with the Las Vegas Raiders, Golden State Warriors, Oak View Group, Nashville SC, Austin FC and Colorado State University. — Karn Dhingra

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: During the winter, I am an avid skier. During the summer, we usually do two sports in one day: mountain biking and fly fishing.

Guilty pleasure: Old school hip-hop and rap — preferably from the ’90s.

Attribute I look for when hiring: Curiosity. When someone genuinely wants to know “why,” it’s usually for all the right reasons. Plus, it challenges me to think about the answer and gives us both an opportunity to evaluate the “why.”

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: I admire Amy Van Dyken and how she has handled adversity. Through her social media accounts, we have gotten to live through her recovery with her and become more sensitive and understanding of people with spinal cord injuries or who use a wheelchair for mobility.