Getting to Know Us: Holly Kennedy, Marketing Coordinator at GAMMA Sports

April 22, 2019

By Holly, Marketing Coordinator (and friends!)

You’ve seen her in our social media, writing our blogs, covering for GAMMA at tournaments and events and probably responding to your emails…now you get to meet her! Find out about how our Marketing Coordinator, Holly, came to be at GAMMA!

 

Where are you from?

A born and raised Pittsburgher, Holly grew up near Monroeville, PA (about 45 minutes…without traffic…from downtown Pittsburgh). Does anyone else hear “Black and Yellow” playing by Wiz Khalifa…?

 

Where did you go to college, and what was your major?

Like Chuck Vietmeier (one of our previous blogs!), Holly was also a Slippery Rock University alumna where she graduated with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Communications. Until May of her senior year in high school, she had no idea what she wanted to go to college for – marine biology and interior design were top contenders until she found the Sport Management degree (and realized that chemistry was NOT a strong suit!). With her history of sports, and the impact sports had on her throughout her life, it seemed like a perfect fit! Holly still goes back to The Rock every semester to talk to the graduating sport management senior class about internships, the job search and, of course, #adulting.

 

What was/were your job(s) before GAMMA?

While Holly was in her senior year of college, she completed her internship with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) as a communications/media relations/social media intern. She handled all the social media accounts for the team as well as assisted visiting and local media, helped with player interviews, wrote game notes, provided media coverage for all team events and outings and more. Holly may or may not have also had the idea for the team’s Whip and Nae Nae player dance video. Working for the Stingrays was the first time she gained experience in social media.

After the Stingrays, Holly became the Sports Development Assistant for SportsPITTSBURGH. In this role, Holly helped to market all of the sports events in and around the City of Pittsburgh – this included the Stadium Series with the Pittsburgh Penguins to the NCAA Championships happening in the city throughout the next four years, to the East Coast Volleyball Championships at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to Red Bull Flugtag at the Three Rivers Regatta. Here, Holly managed all three social media platforms for SportsPITTSBURGH (planning and executing plans, collecting and reporting on data, managing a budget, etc.) in addition to acting as the photographer and videographer for the organization as well.

Then she found GAMMA!

 

How did you become the Marketing Coordinator at GAMMA?

It’s a crazy story! Holly’s time at SportsPITTSBURGH was coming to an end (the year-long experience was expiring since it was a temporary position) and while she had been applying to jobs, there were no opportunities that were working out. With about two weeks left at SportsPITTSBURGH, one of Holly’s co-workers suggested that she talk to one of her friends who was hiring for a marketing position at a local sports company.

The friend that Holly met to discuss the position was Josh Taylor-Martin (who’s now her boss!). The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day 2017, Holly met with Josh to discuss the position. Then, the Monday following Thanksgiving she had a two-hour interview with GAMMA’s executive team. Two days later, Holly had a job offer…which she obviously took! The rest is history!

 

What exactly does a Marketing Coordinator do at GAMMA?

Holly’s job is focused around three main areas – Brand Partners, tournament sponsorships and social media.

Since Holly first came to GAMMA in December 2018 (roughly a year and a half ago), the GAMMA Pickleball Brand Partner Program has grown from 75 to 208 representatives across the country that help spread the “GAMMA love.” Whether it’s at tournaments, through social media, an email that finds its way to Holly or another way, Holly is always looking for ways to expand the GAMMA family!

As for tournament sponsorships, Holly is responsible for getting the GAMMA brand out into the pickleball world by working with tournament directors across the country. Negotiating tournament packages, arranging booth areas, identifying sponsorship opportunities and representing the brand in person, too, are all part of this area of responsibility (which means she gets to travel…YAY!). She’s arranged over 120 tournament sponsorships throughout the country for GAMMA Pickleball during her time at the company.

Finally, we have social media. Between GAMMA Pickleball and GAMMA Tennis, Holly pulls all the strings for seven social media platforms for GAMMA. This includes building and executing plans, creating content, arranging paid advertising, reporting, identifying opportunities and social listening to keep the brand in relevant conversations.

Fun fact: Holly is also the GAMMA photographer while out an about in the community! If you ever see a woman in head-to-toe GAMMA gear with a backpack and a camera (or multiple) in her hand, that’s her! Go say hello!

 

What’s your favorite place that you’ve travelled to so far for work? Any stories you care to share?!

Oh, there are so many! Holly’s first business trip (and first-ever solo trip, too!) was actually to Oregon…so the complete OTHER side of the country. No pressure, right? It actually turned out to be one of her most memorable trips – she had about an hour of free time one night after the tournament had ended, so she took a little trip to Mt. Bachelor with the full intention of riding to the top of the mountain. However, what she didn’t know was that in order to ride to the top of the mountain, she had to get on a ski lift – with NO cross-bar or seatbelt – with her backpack and camera bag. Not only that, but it rained, then hailed, then snowed on the ride up, then repeated on the way back down. Oh, and this was all while dangling about 20-ish feet in the air. NO BIGGIE. But if you ask Holly, this is still one of her favorite memories of travelling for GAMMA.

One more story – when Holly was in Colorado for the Colorado Pickleball Open in Arvada, she also had the opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Granted, she learned that altitude was no joke, but this is also where she realized that she LOVED national parks. Now, one of her goals is to make it to all the national parks in the United States! (Two down, many, many more to go!)

 

Did you have any pickleball/tennis experience before working for GAMMA?

Absolutely none! Holly was a seven-year volleyball player (she played briefly at DII Slippery Rock) and a nine-year basketball player…and bowler! Luckily, some of the skills and muscle memory from volleyball come in handy on the pickleball court! As for tennis…well, she’s still working on it.

 

What’s been your favorite tournament experience so far?

Nationals! The entire GAMMA team came out to California for the event, along with most of our Contracted Players and a good number of Brand Partners, so everyone was really able to spend some quality bonding time together. Team dinners, cheering each other on, California adventures and just being at an event that will propel pickleball into the future was really something.

On the business side of things, this was also the first time where Holly was really able to talk with tournament directors and fellow paddle competitors. All the brands compete against each other, but at big events, we all come together to promote the sport that we all love and THAT is something that’s truly special.

 

What’s the best part about working for GAMMA?

For Holly, the best part about working for GAMMA is that she truly loves what she does. The people she meets, the places she goes, what she learns (she can do a mean over grip on a pickleball paddle!), and the way she’s able to spread the word about a company that she loves are all the best parts of working for GAMMA. She also found pickleball through this opportunity – up until finding GAMMA, Holly had only heard about the sport in gym class and didn’t realize how big it actually was…or how fun!

 

What surprised you most about the pickleball community?

How nice everyone was! Coming from volleyball and basketball, they weren’t exactly sports where you complimented your opponent on a good shot or great point…the complete opposite, actually. The social aspect of the game also surprised her a bit – not only were the players nice, but they all chatted during play and made a point to come over at the end of a match.

 

What’s your rating? Guessing 4.5-5.0?!

7.23, actually.

PSYCH. More like a 3.0 on a good day…

Holly DID win two medals last year (gold and silver)…that she won because there were no other players in either event’s bracket… 😊 #noshame

 

What’s your recommendation for the best restaurant to try out for people who come to the GAMMA Classic in July?

Oooo…Holly has a lot of favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh, but in terms of being close to the convention center, she recommends Bakersfield. Specifically, the fish tacos and the Johnny salad. Yum!

If you like sushi, Number 1 Sushi in Market Square is also pretty good.

 

What other sports do you enjoy – either watching or playing?

Holly is a BIG hockey fan (GO PENS!) and works part-time for the Pittsburgh Penguins as a Premium Seating Concierge.

If you see her in the near future, don’t mention how the Penguins’ season ended…

 

Any other fun facts about you that you’d like to share?

Holly is the youngest employee at GAMMA, and if you want to talk American Idol she’s all ears. Also, don’t be surprised if you find her jamming out to T-Swift at any given moment. At every team event, you can find her making reservations for dinner because you don’t want to see her hangry.

 

 

FUN QUESTION TIME!

 This is our rapid fire round of questions…GO!

 Spring, summer, fall or winter: Summer – give her Charleston, SC in the dead of summer and she’s a happy camper

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip…but a mint Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen is always welcomed

Favorite food: Shrimp and grits from Fleet Landing in Charleston, SC

Music you rock out to: Taylor Swift…don’t judge

Favorite color: Yellow

Favorite city: Charleston, SC

Beach or National Park: That’s not fair – but probably beach if it REALLY came down to it, but she would like to choose both