Tracie Rodburg, National Football League
Despite having been at the NFL since 2005, Tracie Rodburg says it was working for the New York Yankees early on that made her career. After three rejection letters, she landed a fan development post with the Yanks in 1997.
Recalled Rodburg, “If you can work there, you can work anywhere. There’s a goldfish bowl and a lot of pressure.” That pressure included getting fired twice by George Steinbrenner, a rite of passage for Yankees employees of that era. “You’d just go back to your desk, lay low and it would blow over,” she said.
“Tracie could always distinguish between real issues and the noise,” said Joe Perello, who hired Rodburg at the Yankees when he was the team’s vice president of marketing and business development. “She just doesn’t get distracted, so she’s able to focus and accomplish what’s really important.”
At the NFL, Rodburg has coordinated vital relationships with some of the NFL’s biggest sponsors, including Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch InBev; worked on global platforms, like the Super Bowl Halftime Show; and helped implement policy changes, like the ones that allow league and team beer sponsors to use current NFL players in promotions, and permitting sponsorship agreements in the spirits category.
There’s a common thread connecting Rodburg’s early work with her years at the NFL. “The original reason I wanted to work for a big sports brand, like the Yankees or the NFL, is that sports unites people,” she said. “I love using that power to solve business problems.” — Terry Lefton