Allison Howard is the Executive Director of Corporate Partnership for the Los Angeles Lakers. She has a successful track record of developing opportunities, building relationships, and maintaining an honest approach to deals.
Allison has served on the Board of WISE LA since 2009. She began in a Sponsorship capacity, later moving into her current role as Executive Vice President where she acts as the liaison between the Advisory Board and the Executive Board, ensuring that programming and content for the LA chapter is valuable for all women in the organization.
Although she has built herself into a veteran Sponsorships Executive, Allison has quite an interesting origin story and we sat down with her to get the full scoop.
What was one pivotal moment in your career that has led you to where you are today?
I actually graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering… Yup! I ended up getting a job with Shell in Los Angeles. I was in steel-toed boots and a construction hat every day driving 30,000 miles a year around Southern California, making sure our gas stations were in compliance.
I worked in the energy industry until 2005, when I made a complete career change, moving into sports marketing. At the time, I was 27-years-old and I knew that I wanted to jump out of bed every day excited to go to work. Sports have always been important to me, so I looked forward to jumping into the business of sports. I started with a small company called Premier Partnerships and the President just took me under his wing. He liked my personality – thought I was a fighter, thought I could sell – and taught me everything about sports marketing, naming rights, and big deals.
There, I worked my tail off on some big deals and met a lot of people, including Adam Silver (NBA Commissioner). After I started my family, I decided that I was not really looking forward to the agency life and all of its travel anymore. During the 2011 NBA lockout, a friend reached out with an opportunity at The Lakers. I met my now boss for an interview and it’s been amazing ever since.
What are some of the professional goals you hope to still reach one day?
I definitely have much larger aspirations than doing just sales. I would love to stay at The Lakers for my entire life, it is such a fantastic organization. I think of the company as a whole and I think there are things that I don’t know how to do yet that I would love to get involved in. I would like to really feel like I’m having a hand in all of the different assets of the business from ticket sales to fan interaction. I would love to be the driver behind making major impactful decisions of The Lakers one day.
How has WISE LA helped you along in this journey?
Knowing that we have the network and the support here is tremendous – I’ve made a lot of friends through the organization and it’s great to see that there are so many different kinds of women you can meet through WISE. I also enjoy the give back aspect of it at this point in my career, helping younger women by just telling my story. You’re always networking and talking to people, it’s a huge opportunity for you to get outside of your bubble.
What are you passionate about in your free time?
I have two boys – they’re 5 ½ and 7. They both play hockey so we’re at Toyota Sports Center about five days a week. Then on the weekends, we just try to play and enjoy some family time together.
What is a book you read recently that you would recommend?
Good to Great by Jim Collins and The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
If you could grab lunch with any famous woman from history, who would it be?
What sports team do you root for and why?
The Blackhawks are my #1. My husband is from Chicago and we go to their games every time they’re out here. They’re another family-run organization and I love the leadership of their captain Jonathan Toews – he’s one of the most upstanding athletes in the world. The team also does a great job with giving back to their fans.
If you could swap careers with any woman in the world for a day, who would it be?
To take something totally different, I’d probably do politics, someone in Congress or in the White House. I think I’d hate it, but it would be cool to see how stuff gets done.