2023 Women Of Live: Melissa Heiter

Executive Vice President CAA ICON

In 2022, Melissa Heiter and CAA Icon’s executive leadership group refreshed the company mission, vision and values as a result of an expanded leadership structure.

“What we found is that, while the words changed slightly, we are fundamentally a team that is united authentically around creating places that inspire communities and build connection through unforgettable experiences,” said Heiter, who was recently named an executive vice president at the firm, which specializes in representing team owners and municipalities in venue development.

“We use this foundation as a baseline in how we operate amongst ourselves and for the clients we serve, and it has proven time after time that our company culture radiates into everything we do and continues to differentiate us from our competition in an industry that is trending toward commoditization.”

Heiter contends venues will have to consistently challenge themselves to keep up with advances in technology that event producers want and customers demand.

“So many venues are lacking technology infrastructure that impacts the fan experience, and it will discourage them from returning until the venue prioritizes improvements,” she explained.

She is optimistic about the role of women in the live sports and entertainment business.

“Every year, I see more incredible women taking on and absolutely thriving in massive roles, and I admire the work they are doing,” she said. “As with all types of businesses, we are seeing some changes happen more slowly than others; but overall, I do see change happening across our industry in a way that makes me so proud.”

Heiter’s mentor is CAA Icon chairman Tim Romani, who hired her 18 years ago.

“He put his trust in me and created opportunities for me to learn, make mistakes and grow from them, which is something that I have adopted in my leadership style,” she said. “The trust that he had in me to help him build his company is something I am grateful for every day.”

Heiter encourages her mentees and team members to remain curious and approach solutions with integrity.

“If you’re proposing a solution to a problem that only benefits you, people can see through that,” she noted. “Solutions that are best for the company’s performance or success will almost always be considered — either now or in the future.”