Vanessa Shay is the Vice President of Corporate Sales for AEG Global Partnerships. Her team manages a portfolio of sponsors and sponsor assets including properties such as L.A. LIVE, STAPLES Center, L.A. Live Events, the Amgen Tour of California, and more.
Along with her partner-in-crime, Allison Howard (click here to read our profile on Allison), Vanessa has been with WISE LA since 2009. As Executive Vice President, Vanessa helps to bridge the gap between the Advisory Board and the Executive Board to ensure that WISE LA is operating at the highest standard. Vanessa and Allison also have executive oversight of the Women of Inspiration Gala and WISE LA sponsor portfolio.
Sales is Vanessa’s lifeblood and her passion for the job is truly inspiring. Read ahead to glean a few nuggets of her wisdom.
What was one pivotal moment in your career that has led you to where you are today?
Landing my job at AEG nine years ago. Out of college, I worked for the Michigan Lottery in a department that oversaw sports sponsorship with major league teams in Detroit and then Taubman Centers, a conglomerate mall developer/REIT, where I sold sponsorships for Taubman’s national portfolio of shopping centers. Although both opportunities were amazing, providing me the chance to really build my expertise in both sales and sponsorship, I was able to channel all of this experience into my new role at AEG. AEG also allowed me to return to a career in sports – I’ve never not known sports in my life and sports were some of my fondest childhood memories. Then, to round it all off, my move to AEG was also pivotal personally, with my husband and I moving out to LA from Detroit. LA is now our home and where we’ve started a family.
What are some of the professional goals you hope to still reach one day?
This is an interesting question because I am very much someone who lives in the present – this is just naturally who I am and I inherited this trait from my mother. It can be both a blessing and a curse, because my mother and I tend to focus on our happiness in the moment without wanting to think about “But what’s next?” In my opinion, it is unproductive to spend time living in the future. This is how I live my life and my philosophy is to take it a day at a time. I live a happy and fulfilling life because I don’t allow the anxiety and doubt that comes with worrying about things beyond the now. Life is too short!
AEG has also been very good for me and I feel very loyal to the company. Today, I am in the right place and happy. Tomorrow is tomorrow.
How has WISE LA helped you along in this journey?
I was first drawn to the organization because I was new to LA and new to the LA sports community. In my new role, I was surrounded by men, something that was a huge cultural shift for me coming from a mall developer/retail marketing, which is mainly run by women. Wanting a support system through these changes, I was introduced to Allison [Howard] and we attended our first WISE LA event together. We saw that WISE LA really needed our help and decided to get involved – the rest was history!
What are you passionate about in your free time?
Where I’m at in my life, I happily dedicate 100% of my free time to my children and husband.
What is a book you read recently that you would recommend?
Superbosses by Sidney Walter Finkelstein. It’s a modern take on profiling seven bosses that have super stellar careers as managers and identifying what their common denominator is.
If you could grab lunch with any famous woman from history, who would it be?
I would love to meet Madeleine Albright, with a close second being Hillary Clinton.
What sports team do you root for and why?
My #1 is the Michigan State Spartans. For my pro teams, I root for the LA Kings, the Lakers AND the Clippers (they’re both my tenant at STAPLES Center and I want them both to go to Game 7 of every playoff series), and the LA Galaxy. Then when it comes to NFL, I root for the Detroit Lions and my MLB team is the Detroit Tigers.
If you could swap careers with any woman in the world for a day, who would it be?
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors and, in my opinion, the most powerful woman executive in the world. She’s also the first female CEO of any automobile manufacturer EVER. I’d love to trade jobs with her, even for 30 minutes!