Tag Archives: Jay Parry

HSMAI - Tourism

Female leaders rise up in Arizona tourism industry

It might surprise people to know that tourism generates more money for Arizona than aerospace, agriculture, microelectronics and mining.

And leading that $20-billion-a-year economic juggernaut are a bunch of women.

Debbie Johnson is president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, Sherry Henry is executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism and Jay Parry is CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. In addition, women lead three of the state most important and influential convention and visitors bureaus — Rachel Sacco in Scottsdale, Heidi Hansen in Flagstaff and Lorraine Pino in Glendale. On top of that, Cristin Barr of the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International; and Lynn Casebere, director of Catering at The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde, is president of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter.

“HSMAI’s leaders have broken though the glass ceiling,” Casebere says. “There are 30 chapters in the Americas Region and 24 of them have female presidents, which is something to be proud of.”

Casebere expects to see even more women take leadership roles in the hospitality industry because female enrollment is increasing in hospitality schools around the country.

“We have a lot of strong female leaders in our state and think the tourism industry falls in line with what else is going on in our state,” Johnson says. “Arizona has some great examples of strong female leaders on both the political and business arenas. I think the tourism industry emulates that.”

But how did it happen? How did women come to dominate what was once a male-dominated industry in Arizona?

“Tourism offers a variety of tremendous opportunities such as flexibility, rapid career growth, continuing education opportunities and community involvement, all of which make this industry attractive for women,” Henry says. “Because of the career range of this industry, there are myriad opportunities for upward mobility. Most of the women in today’s tourism leadership began their careers either at an entry level position or in mid-level management. It was their dedication, passion, collaborative skills and the genuine focus on the customers’ needs, both externally and internally, that brought these women into leadership roles.”

Pino said one thing that has helped women get a leg up in the industry has been education. Seeing the value of tourism as one of the state’s biggest revenue generators, many Arizona colleges now offer degrees in hospitality, opening the door for stronger career opportunities.

“What the tourism industry really offers is transferable skills,” Johnson says. “If you’re willing to work hard, learn all aspects of the industry, you will be able to use those accumulated skills as you work your way up the ladder.”

Despite the differences between the genders, industry leaders says the qualities that make women effective leaders are not unlike the characteristics that make many men effective leaders.

“If you’re passionate about what this industry means to Arizona and want to see it succeed, then you’ll be an effective leader within it,” Henry says. “Women do have the added bonus of being nurturers by nature. Tourism is an industry where we take care of guests, offer industry comforts and provide the ultimate travel experience. It’s very similar to what women already do for families and friends, so this industry seems to be a very natural fit for many women.”

The professional growth opportunities, as well as the flexibility of the industry that contributes to work-life balance, makes this industry a solid career path for women, Henry says. Additionally, there is essentially a place in the hierarchy for every skill set available, which is also very appealing for women.

“The anecdotal stories about someone starting their career as a room attendant and working their way up to general manager are true,” Henry says. “Even my own story begins with me starting out as a carhop and working my way up to becoming the director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. If you have the passion for the industry there are virtually no limitations to what you can achieve.”

As tourism continues to be an economic engine for Arizona, today’s leaders say there will be event more opportunities for women to take on leadership roles in the industry.

“We are fortunate to have dedicated tourism leaders work together to deliver the passionate and caring spirit of the hospitality industry,” Pino says. “The women who have risen to key positions have set the bar and also opened doors for the next generation.”

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Jay Parry. Photo by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media

Super Bowl’s impact on economy may last long after game

Early in the planning process for the 2015 Super Bowl, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Jay Parry was giving a presentation to Greater Phoenix Leadership and she referred to some of national perceptions of Arizona as “misperceptions.”

“An individual walked up to me after the presentation and said, ‘You did a great job, but just one point of clarification,’” Parry recounts. “‘Those are not misperceptions, those are reality.’ That was a good point. Some of those things are real, but there are so many positives about Arizona that offset the negatives.”

Parry, who was an executive with both the Phoenix Suns and WNBA champion Mercury before taking her role with Super Bowl committee, says that when the eyes of the world turn to Arizona for the Super Bowl on February 1, it will be the perfect time to showcase the progressive and innovative nature of Arizona. Az Business caught up with Parry near the future home of Super Bowl Central to talk strategy before the big game.

What has been your biggest challenge as CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee?
There is so much positive excitement about Arizona hosting the Super Bowl. People want to be supportive and they want it to be a big success for Arizona, so everyone wants to be involved. Channeling all that interest and excitement and figuring out a way to put it to the best use to make the event amazing has been a challenge.

Why do you think this Super Bowl is generating so much more buzz locally than when Arizona last hosted the game in 2008?
We’ve really worked to build that buzz. We got the bid in 2011 and started working on all the community events and buildup in 2012. We know that to make this a big success for Arizona and have the positive impact that we want, it takes getting the whole community involved and excited. We have a volunteer board of directors of 20 Arizona leaders and they’ve been instrumental in creating meetings and introductions to corporate leaders here. Trying to make all those stakeholders a part of the process has been our goal and it’s gotten everyone excited about the event.

How does being CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee differ from running a professional sports team?
There are a lot of similarities. But what I’ve learned is that there is nothing as big as the Super Bowl. It goes way beyond football. I attended the Super Bowl when Arizona hosted it in 1996 and in 2008, but when I got off the plane for the Super Bowl in 2013 in New Orleans, I said to myself, “This is so much bigger than I remember it being.” What I’ve realized is that there is a different dynamic from year to year. While some of the things stay the same, each host community brings its own stamp of personality to the event. Arizona’s hospitality industry is tailor made to host mega events and Arizona has become such an expert at it that we have a nice platform to work from. It just gets bigger and bigger.

How has adding the Pro Bowl to the mix impacted the planning process for the Super Bowl?
What we’ve been able to do is take the infrastructure and the planning for the Super Bowl and back it up a week. There is so much overlap with parking and transportation and aviation and volunteers, that it really made sense to have it span the whole week. Hosting the Pro Bowl is just another amazing coup for our state and a feather in our cap. When you take the perfect trifecta of the Pro Bowl, Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl, all eyes from around the world will be on Arizona.

How has the Valley’s ability to host a Super Bowl changed since we last hosted the game in 2008?
Getting a Super Bowl is such a competitive process. For us to be selected to host again after seven short years is a testament to Arizona. The investment in the infrastructure in downtown Phoenix — from the light rail to the remodeled Convention Center to the extra restaurants that have been added to CityScape to the 3,000 hotel rooms in downtown Phoenix — is really what’s different for 2015. When we hosted the NFL in 2013, we walked through downtown Phoenix and ended up at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix on the pool deck. We looked out over Phoenix and the head of events turned to me and said, “This is a completely different place than it was in 2008.” That was a major win for us because they realized how much was done, and not just in Phoenix, but in Mesa and Tempe and Scottsdale and all the neighboring communities.

How will your efforts to make the 2015 Super Bowl a regional experience impact the visitor?
We want to make sure the entire Valley and the state gets to show its unique personality. Each of our communities is unique. From a visitor’s standpoint, the big difference will be Super Bowl Central, which will be located in downtown Phoenix. What the NFL learned from Indianapolis three years ago was the idea of a fan campus, where it’s the epicenter of activity. It has a lot of merit for visitors and they really enjoyed that, so the NFL built on that and we adopted that idea and created Super Bowl Central, which will be the biggest thing that Arizona has ever seen with its 12-block campus. Fans can migrate there and experience free family-friendly fun for the week leading up to the game, and then also have spokes throughout the Valley where they can enjoy other activities.

How do you think that super week — the Pro Bowl, Phoenix Open and Super Bowl — will impact Arizona’s tourism industry?
The sum total will be bigger than anything we’ve seen in Arizona before. The economic impact for the Super Bowl alone is estimated at more than $500 million. The Thunderbirds have measured the economic impact of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at more than $200 million. You add in the Pro Bowl on top of that and we don’t have a best guess yet, but you’re talking almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in economic impact for just that week. But what I get most excited about is the seeds that we are planting that week with all the exposure, all the media, all the visitors. It’s an enormous commercial for Arizona.

How do you hope business leaders and economic development leaders take advantage of Arizona’s role as host of the 2015 Super Bowl?
There is a lot of intention around capturing and growing that economic impact. We have a couple programs that the host committee leads. One is our CEO Forum, where we invite CEOs from outside of Arizona to come to Arizona for the weekend of the Super Bowl. We’ve created a three-day curriculum for them to meet local CEOs, learn why we are a pro-business environment and give the reason to relocate their business or expand their business in Arizona. We hope that builds more of an emotional connection with Arizona so they have real reasons and proof points why Arizona is different. The focus on economic development has been spearheaded by (Arizona Cardinals President) Michael Bidwill and (Salt River Project President) David Rousseau. Both of them have long standing commitments and have demonstrated ongoing business leadership in various local forums and organizations to build the Arizona business community.  So capitalizing on this with Super Bowl XLIX was a natural extension.”

What accomplishment as CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee gives you the most pride?
We want it to be the best Super Bowl yet. By doing that, it will keep us in that regular rotation for hosting future Super Bowls and mega events, which is a lasting legacy from an economic development standpoint. Introducing the world to Arizona and demonstrating what our brand really is — progressive, youthful, energetic, committed to business — and telling that story on behalf of Arizona and creating a positive brand image would be a fantastic legacy for all of us.

Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

Host committee unveils Verizon Super Bowl Central

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee formally announced today that Verizon will be the ‘Official Wireless Service and Solutions Provider’ of the Host Committee, as well as the title sponsor of Verizon Super Bowl Central. The Host Committee also unveiled the official Verizon Super Bowl Central logo, which will be seen prominently by the estimated one million attendees who will enjoy all the Super Bowl XLIX festivities in Downtown Phoenix.

Verizon is a major sponsor of the National Football League and Super Bowl. Now, it extends that relationship to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Verizon Super Bowl Central will be the hub of fan, media and sponsor activity, as well as entertainment from January 28 through February 1, 2015 in Downtown Phoenix. Located adjacent to the NFL Experience engineered by GMC and the Super Bowl Media Center presented by Microsoft, the 12-city block, free, pedestrian- and family-friendly, football-themed, outdoor fan campus will be the epicenter of Super Bowl XLIX activities and events.

Verizon Super Bowl Central will feature a multitude of daily activities including free, outdoor performances by national recording artists and local musicians, an autograph stage, nightly fireworks shows, the iconic Super Bowl XLIX Roman Numerals, as well as the Host Committee’s recently unveiled 20 ft. super-sized football and a beer garden. Verizon Super Bowl Central also will be the broadcasting headquarters to both national and local media outlets. Verizon will have a major presence at Verizon Super Bowl Central, so fans can engage with the latest technology, products and services. Fans will learn about NFL Mobile from Verizon from the league’s best players and feel the intensity of the game with cutting edge virtual reality.

“The fan experience is one of the most important parts of Super Bowl week, and together with the Host Committee, we are delighted to make it even better,” said Jay Jaffin, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Verizon Wireless. “Verizon has a long history with both the NFL and Arizona, so this was a natural step to deliver not only great wireless service, but super-fun activities for everyone coming to enjoy the game.”

“Joining forces with a powerhouse like Verizon will enhance the fan experience and keep them connected while at Verizon Super Bowl Central,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “This is just the beginning of many more exciting announcements to come to make this a very fan-centric Super Bowl.”

In addition to being the title sponsor of Verizon Super Bowl Central, Verizon’s sponsorship includes participation in the Host Committee’s CEO Forum to encourage economic development. Verizon is one of Arizona’s largest employers.

From left: SPIKE, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee mascot; Councilman Bill Gates, City of Phoenix; Councilman Michael Nowakowski, City of Phoenix; Jim Hughes, First Solar, Inc. CEO; and David Rousseau, Chairman, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Super-sized Super Bowl countdown clock unveiled

To build on the growing momentum and anticipation of Super Bowl XLIX the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and First Solar, Inc. unveiled the First Solar Countdown Clock in downtown Phoenix this morning. Over the next 60 days, the technologically advanced clock will provide the countdown to kick-off and keep fans “in the know” about events and activities coming up on the free, 12-city block fan campus known as Super Bowl Central.

The super-sized timepiece stands 13 feet tall, is made of aluminum and steel, and illuminated by more than 200 feet of LED lights. The First Solar Countdown Clock will display updated video content and a countdown to the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIX. It features three, 55 inch ultra-bright LED displays and nine First Solar panels, which were manufactured at the company’s US production facility outside of Toledo, Ohio.

“The First Solar Countdown Clock is the second exciting addition to Super Bowl Central, the epicenter of fan activity in Downtown Phoenix, and made possible by First Solar taking a strong local leadership role,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

First Solar is also a partner of the Host Committee’s volunteerprogram. With the support of its employees, it is currently the largest single corporate volunteer group for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

”Our association with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee demonstrates First Solar’s commitment to our home town,” said Jim Hughes CEO of First Solar. “Our associates are proudly participating in a variety of volunteer community service programs.”

The First Solar Countdown Clock is located on the northeast corner of Jefferson and 1st Street, which will be the heart of Super Bowl Central. The free, football-themed, pedestrian and family friendly fan campus will feature a multitude of daily activities such as outdoor performances by local musicians and national recording artists, an autograph stage, the iconic Super Bowl XLIX Roman Numerals and a beer garden. It will run from Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

In November, the Host Committee unveiled the first Super Bowl Central attraction on the corner of Central and Washington. The super-sized football towers more than 20 feet high, measures more than 32 feet around and weighs more than 7,000 pounds. Fans are encouraged to visit both monuments, take selfies, share them on social media using #sb49 and make their own Super Bowl XLIX memories.


NB|AZ partners with Super Bowl Host Committee

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces a new partnership with National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ). The partnership is a fully integrated program providing Official Sponsor designation, a custom media plan with traditional, digital and social elements, business development assets, as well as Presenting Partner status of the CEO Forum.

The recently announced CEO Forum is designed to directly foster Arizona economic growth, which correlates to the business and community goals of NB|AZ. The program leverages Super Bowl XLIX to host more than 50 business leaders from around the world and introduce them to the pro-business environment to encourage them to move or expand business operations in Arizona for a lasting economic impact.

“NB|AZ has a long tradition of supporting and leading economic development efforts across our state,” said CEO Keith Maio. “This partnership provides us with a platform to do what we do best, bring people together to talk about the great opportunities that exist in Arizona to grow business.”

The CEO Forum is unique to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and started in 2008, which resulted in more than 1,000 jobs and over $400 million invested in the state.

“There has been tremendous interest and support in the CEO Forum by Arizona-based companies and CEOs. They see the value and recognize that hosting Super Bowl XLIX is about much more than football,” stated David Rousseau, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “As an Arizona-based company with storied leadership and community support, NB|AZ is a natural fit to support programs that accelerate economic development.”

NB|AZ is also a founding sponsor of the Arizona Leadership Forum. This year, Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals and Host Committee board member, along with Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, spoke at the 2014 Arizona Leadership Forum regarding the overall economic impact of hosting Super Bowl XLIX and the 2015 Pro Bowl.

Giant Host Committee Visit Phoenix Football Unveiled in Downtown Phoenix

Cornerstone of Super Bowl Central unveiled

Giant Football Unveiled Mayor Greg Stanton SpeaksWith 83 days until the kick-off of Super Bowl XLIX, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Visit Phoenix today are unveiling a super-sized football mounted in Downtown Phoenix, which will serve as the cornerstone for Super Bowl Central. Towering more than 20 feet high, it measures more than 32 feet around, and weighs in excess of 7,000 pounds.

“This massive installation for Super Bowl XLIX stands for the fun and lasting memories in store for fans, and for the heightened profile and lasting benefits for Arizona as we welcome our third Super Bowl in 19 years,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super bowl Host Committee.

Located at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue, the enormous football made of 7,000 pounds of steel, as well as wood and foam, is 2,000 percent larger than a regulation football.

“Super Bowl Central is a postcard from downtown Phoenix to the world,” said Win Holden, chair of Visit Phoenix. “This super-sized football not only marks the epicenter of downtown Phoenix’s fan experience, but it’s destined to star in scores of selfies and social-media posts.”

Fans are invited to take their photos in front of the newly installed giant football and share them on social media using #SB49.

Super Bowl Central will be a free, family-friendly, football-themed fan campus featuring street-level merchants and restaurants, local food trucks, beer and wine gardens, a concert stage, network broadcast stages and a nightly fireworks show. The 12-block area in downtown Phoenix will be the hub of fan activities for Super Bowl XLIX from Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.


Super Bowl Committee aims to reach Hispanics

Urias Communications, a full service multicultural advertising and public relations agency was named Hispanic agency of record for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. Urias Communications will be responsible for advertising, public relations and community engagement within Hispanic and other multicultural markets leading up to Super Bowl XLIX – 2015 in Arizona on February 1, 2015.

“More than 65 percent of Hispanics are NFL fans and more than 20 percent cite the NFL as their favorite sport,” says Jay Parry, CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “It is critical, with more than 30 percent of Arizona’s population, to have the entire community engaged and participating with us during this dynamic time in Arizona. We’re pleased to be working with an agency that is specifically focused on these efforts.” The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee has been committed to reaching Hispanics and building strong ties with Mexico. The committee participates in cross border relations and earlier this year, partnered with the Arizona Cardinals and USA Football to host a series of clinics for young athletes, coaches and mothers in Mexico City.

“This is a time to brand Arizona on the international stage,” says Lisa Urias, CEO of Urias Communications. “We look forward to creating opportunities for the local, national and international media to see Arizona as a young, vibrant and multicultural state with key ties to Mexico and the Americas.”


Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Announces Board

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces its Board of Directors for Super Bowl XLIX. The board of directors is comprised of business leaders that volunteer their time to drive the state’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX.

The Host Committee is a private, non-profit Arizona corporation. The mandate of the Host Committee is to galvanize local stakeholders in a united approach to hosting the largest single-day sporting event by maximizing positive media exposure, fueling the economic engine of Arizona and leaving a lasting legacy long after the excitement of the Big Game. The board was assembled in 2013 to begin planning and to garner local corporate support and sponsors.

Board members include:
● Board Chair David Rousseau, president, SRP

● Brad Anderson, executive vice president, brokerage office services, CB Richard Ellis

● Michael Bidwill, president, Arizona Cardinals

● Jose Cardenas, senior vice president and general council, Arizona State University

● David Farca, president, ToH Design Studio

● Jim Grogan, chief operating officer, International Capital Investment Company

● Michael Haenel, executive vice president, Cassidy Turley

● Mike Kennedy, partner, Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. (chairman, Super Bowl XLII Host Committee in 2008)

● Dan Lewis, senior vice president, Sovereign Finance

● Jeffrey Lowe, president, MidFirst Bank

● Mary Martuscelli, regional president for the private client reserve, U.S. Bank

● Andrew McCain, vice president and CFO, Hensley Beverage Company

● Patrick McGinley, vice president of property management, Vestar

● Steve Moore, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix CVB

● Jodi Noble, partner, Deloitte

● Jay Parry, president and CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

● Earl Petznick Jr., president and CEO, Northside Hay Company

● Ken Van Winkle, managing partner, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP

● KJ Wagner, president and CEO, Willis of Arizona, Inc.

● David Watson, co-founder and managing partner, mybody and president and managing partner, Revolution Tea

● John Zidich, CEO, Republic Media Publisher, The Arizona Republic

“We have an impressive group of business leaders working together to meet the fundraising goals for Super Bowl XLIX and to maximize the opportunity to build the Arizona brand in this unparalleled global spotlight,” said David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee chairman. “We want to promote Arizona as an ideal destination for businesses and tourists well beyond Super Bowl XLIX.”

Super Bowl XLIX is scheduled to be played at University Of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015, marking Arizona’s second Super Bowl in seven years. In Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008, The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14. Arizona’s first big game, Super Bowl XXX, was held at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in 1996, with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

For more information on the Board of Directors, please visit http://azsuperbowl.com/about-us/meet-the-team/

Jay Parry

Jay Parry – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Jay Parry – President and CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

Parry oversees all aspects of planning and executing the 2015 Super Bowl, working closely with the NFL and numerous constituents in Arizona. The Super Bowl Host Committee is responsible for achieving a $25 million fundraising goal and then executing Arizona’s plan to maximize the impact of hosting the Super Bowl.

Surprising fact: “I come from a family of birds, meaning, my two sisters’ names are Robin and Piper. I was surrounded by strong women ‘in the nest’ from an early age.”

Biggest challenge: “Succeeding in male-dominated industries and professional sports has its challenges. I wear higher heels and what that really means is be yourself and true to your leadership philosophies no matter what the circumstances are.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

Jay Parry Headshot

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Hires CEO

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee today announced the appointment of Jay L. Parry to head the organization as Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Parry will oversee the Host Committee and will work closely with the NFL to deliver a successful Super Bowl XLIX to the State of Arizona, including driving marketing efforts, developing and implementing NFL and Host Committee programs, spearheading sponsorships, fundraising and community relations, and managing financials.

Super Bowl XLIX will be the third Super Bowl played in Arizona, and the second played at University of Phoenix Stadium. Super Bowl XLII in 2008 had an economic impact of $500 million, according to a study conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

Parry brings a sports and business acumen uniquely suited to lead the Host Committee’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX. Most recently, she was senior vice president of Brand and Business Development for the Phoenix Suns. Parry also spent seven seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Phoenix Mercury. During her tenure, the Mercury won two WNBA championships and generated double-digit business growth in corporate partnerships and attendance. Prior to her career in professional sports, Parry was an executive in a variety of roles with Bank of America, most recently as executive vice president in the Central Region. She served on the MVP Host Committee when Arizona hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996. Currently, Parry serves as a director on the boards of several local organizations, including Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE,) BMO Harris Bank Arizona Advisory Board and Thunderbirds Charities. See www.AZSuperBowl.com for Parry’s full biography.

Parry was named a Most Admired CEO by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2010 and in 2008, was selected one of the Arizona Woman magazine’s “20 Women Who Will Shape Arizona by 2020.”

Parry will report to David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman and president of Salt River Project.

“Jay’s appointment is an amazing coup for the Host Committee,” said Rousseau. “She is the ideal candidate for this role because of her deep experience in sports marketing, business and her strong ties to the community. Jay’s proven leadership skills make her well-suited to drive all facets of the organization from sponsorship and community activation and engagement, to the complex logistics involved in putting on the Super Bowl.”

“Arizona has so much to offer, and I’m honored and excited to be a part of demonstrating this to the world through the Super Bowl,” said Jay Parry, CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “Sports and business are not only my expertise, but my passion. Super Bowl is an exciting opportunity for Arizona that will leave a lasting legacy for our entire community.”

The successful 2015 game bid was prepared by the Host Committee, led by Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, Mike Kennedy, former chairman of the Host Committee, and Winnie Stolper. Stolper has worked with the Host Committee since 2006 and will take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer reporting to Parry.

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will bring together influential business leaders, senior government representatives, Convention and Visitors Bureau personnel, and thousands of volunteers to insure Super Bowl XLIX is a success, and results in positive economic impact under a global spotlight that enhances community pride.

Amber Cox, President and COO Phoenix Mercury

First Job: Amber Cox, President And COO Phoenix Mercury

Amber Cox, President and COO Phoenix Mercury, discusses her first job at a wholesale greenhouse and the things that helped her get to where she is today in the sports industry.

What was your first job?

My mom and stepdad owned a wholesale greenhouse that was practically connected to our house with thousands of plants of every shape and size. I helped with all phases of the business, including washing pots, planting, mixing dirt, loading trucks and taking orders. the best part was our “dirt room,” which was a giant space with concrete floors and high ceilings. It included a basketball hoop. I spent more than half of my childhood and teenage years in that place, working on my game and chasing my basketball down before it disappeared in the dirt wagon.

What did you learn from that first job?

Hard work. By the time I was in middle school, I was working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day in the summer. And when your mom is the boss, there is no slacking.

What was your first job in your current industry and what were your duties?

I was the first sports information director at my alma mater (William Woods University) in Missouri. I compiled stats, wrote press releases and assisted in weekly nominations for player of the week in our various sports.

What were your salaries in your first job and first industry job?

Working for my parents, I made $5 or $6 an hour. And they let me back in the house every night! When I worked as a SID, I was a graduate assistant. I was able to complete my MBA and continue living and eating for free a bit longer. That was the life!

Who is your biggest mentor?

Jay Parry, the senior vice president of the Suns brand and business development. Jay hired me eight years ago when she was the president of the Mercury. Next to my mom and grandmother, Jay has had more influence on me than any other person. Jay works harder than anyone I’ve ever met and is a leader everyone wants to follow. She’s taught me to demand the best from myself and those around me without losing sight of the fact that we work in an incredible industry. Don’t compromise your work (“The devil is in the details”), but don’t lose sight that the real fun is in the journey.

How is being president of a sports team different from being president of a more traditional business?

Being a part of two championship runs is like nothing I could have dreamed as a kid. And a journey no other job can replicate. And as a basketball fan, watching Diana Taurasi play night in and night out for seven seasons — that’s a dream come true. But the WNBA means more than wins and losses to me. Growing our fan base and bringing in more sponsors means this league will be around for years to come and give girls an opportunity to play professional basketball for a living or even do my job. I’m very passionate about making sure that’s always a dream that’s available to boys and girls.

What advice would you give someone entering your industry today?

Do what you love and love what you do. And as my grandma always says, “Don’t let anyone outwork you.”

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing today, what would you be doing instead?

I’d be the lead singer in a southern rock band, touring the country doing covers of Lynard Skynard and the Steve Miller Band.

For more information on the Phoenix Mercury, visit www.wnba.com/mercury.

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2012