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Volume 23 No. 23
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New Voices Under 30: Tanya Downey

Photo: Major League Soccer
Photo: Major League Soccer
Photo: Major League Soccer

Tanya Downey

Manager, Partnership Marketing, Major League Soccer

Age: 27
Born: Brownsville, Texas
Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management, B.S., sports management

About you

Could not go a day without: Laughter.

Most common misperception of your generation: That we are lazy. With the access to technology, those in the workforce are expected to be more available than ever. Not only is our generation “always on,” we are always figuring out ways in sports business to connect with the engaged, tech-savvy fan on multiple social platforms and devices.

Go-to person when you need help: My boss, Mallika Pereira, VP, partnership marketing. She is such a wealth of knowledge and experience and I truly learn from her every day. … She inspires me to be a leader every day. … She doesn’t just give advice; she teaches problem-solving skills. 

In 10 years I hope to be … : Able to see a new generation of diversity in sports due to all of the work our current generation is doing to change the industry.

Sports need to recognize the role they play in social issues and do what’s in their power to ensure they protect the integrity of the sport and business, ensure a safe and welcoming environment for fans, and respect the freedom of speech and safety of athletes.

In the Industry

Most exciting aspect of sports business: The community aspect of sports. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work on sport properties that truly bring fans together. With MLS, we’re able to see how communities take in a new franchise and make it their own to reflect our unique multicultural America.  

Questions for networking: I start off with the basics and then will throw in anything that’s particularly relevant at that time. What is your current role? Are you enjoying your current job? What do you like about it? What are you interested in? What’s your favorite sport? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

Sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Supporting diversity. From gender, to ethnicities to LGBTQ communities, from employees to athletes, we need to do a better job of bringing diverse thought to our everyday job.