Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Debbie Castaldo

Debbie Castaldo, Vice President of Corporate and Community Partnerships

Arizona Diamondbacks


New D-Backs VP handles both corporate, community partnerships

Age: 41
New title: Vice president of corporate and community partnerships, Arizona Diamondbacks
Previous title: Director of philanthropic innovation at St. Joseph’s Hospital
First job: Junior journalist in El Paso, Texas, for the Miss Texas USA Pageant
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration and marketing, University of Texas El Paso (1992)
Resides: Peoria, Ariz.
Grew up: El Paso, Texas
Executive most admired: Derrick Hall, president and chief executive officer, Arizona Diamondbacks
Brand most admired: Target
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere on the beach in Mexico
Last book read: I am actually right in the middle of the Shopaholic series.
Last movie seen: I am a mom of two, so it was “Star Wars IV”
Favorite movie: ”Jerry Maguire”
Favorite band/musician: Coldplay
One thing about you that people wouldn’t know: I was a member of the band in high school

In this economy, how are you giving value to your sponsors?
We make sure we are in regular communications. We have a devoted sports activation team here who spend their entire time meeting and exceeding the expectations of our partners. They can actually measure the value of what they spend. We are always exceeding our partners’ expectations.

Do you find that you have to repackage or give more for the same amount?
We are staying true to the pricing we had come up with a couple years ago and not seeing a downward trend. Fortunately we are still on target this year for making budget and even exceeding for the organization and for our partnerships.

Cause marketing activation — on the rise or decline?
Absolutely on the rise. In fact, one of the things you will see in my title is that the corporate and community partnerships now has been combined … within this organization. All of our partners now have an opportunity to combine our passion and our resources into one focus. If we are going to do all of this hard work, let’s talk about what both organizations care about and use the power of the reach of all of our brands to do good work at the same time.

There is good will in cause marketing, but can it be monetized?
Some of our partners see spikes in revenue because it positions them as a partner and a brand in the community that cares about the community. We know that influences consumer buying behaviors. Many times they are allocating additional budgets to make an impact, which is really exciting. Our president and chief executive officer’s philosophy is that during economic downtimes, that is really when we are obligated to step up and do more. I think our partners see that; they value and appreciate that and want to be there with us.

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
I have a hard time saying no.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
When I left Alltel, I wanted to try my hand in broadcasting on morning television. When I did a little trying, I didn’t like it.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
In my last role in philanthropic innovation, it was bringing partners together with programs that needed support. Every single time one was successful and a program that needed funded got funding, that was my success — bringing partners together with opportunities that they care about.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?
Your integrity and reputation are everything. Be the one that people know they can come to because you are honest and straightforward. Be the person that partners and people in the community know they can count on.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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