Director of Marketing | Snapdragon Stadium
Gracie Pugliese, the director of marketing and public relations for Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, had a calling since she was an undergraduate studying organizational communications at Ohio University, but admits she never took a marketing course.
“When I graduated, there was a marketing assistant role open at the Wolstein Center,” she said. “The role was fully geared towards concerts and special events — not sports. I figured it was similar enough to the sports world, so I took the job, assuming I’d leave as soon as I found something else.”
Three months after starting at the Wolstein Center, she was running the marketing and PR department.
That first job was followed by a position with Global Spectrum (now OVG360) at Gila River Arena (at the time home of the NHL Arizona Coyotes) in Glendale, Arizona, where she participated in the bid presentation when the contract came up for renewal.
“That was the first time I looked around the room and realized I was the only female, and definitely the youngest person in the room,” Pugliese recalled. “It was extremely empowering to be confident enough to speak openly during that presentation and be listened to.”
After joining the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, she had a first week that was a baptism by fire.
“I moved to Milwaukee from Phoenix on a Sunday, my first day was Monday, Tuesday we had a sold-out Metallica show, Wednesday we had a sold-out Foo Fighters show, Thursday we had a sold-out Eagles show, Friday was the Bucks home opener at the brand-new Fiserv Forum and Saturday was a sold-out Twenty One Pilots show,” Pugliese said. “Talk about having to jump right in.” With the Bucks, she handled venue marketing and PR for the venue as well as the entire surrounding entertainment district.
She says creativity is one of her strong suits and she enjoys coming up with gifts for artists, promoters and setting up welcome setups and other back-of-house work. One example: her Carrie Underwood cheese sculpture.
Pugliese credits mentors that include Marissa Dionne, now vice president of marketing for OVG, but regional marketing director with Global Spectrum when Pugliese started at Cleveland State.
“Another sort of combo of mentors I have is Dustin Godsey and Raj Saha,” she said, respectively noting her direct manager at the Bucks and the previous arena general manager.