Growing With The Boston Celtics: An Interview with Siobhan Sherbovich

As Director of Corporate Partnerships, Siobhan has shown a clear passion for sales and sport. A passion proven though her eleven years with the Boston Celtics, starting out as an inside sales rep. Seeing this iconic team go through the highs and lows including the team’s struggles and championships, Siobhan has built up an extensive experience in premium sales and ticket sales. Siobhan also brings a widespread educational background focusing on communications and marketing, obtaining degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Emerson College, and Harvard Business School.

The Sponsorship Space is honoured to have sat down with Siobhan to hear her insights on professional sports, the sales world and what keeps her motivated.

1) Take us through a day in your role as Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Boston Celtics.

First and foremost I get my morning coffee and fire up the SBJ, BBJ, LinkedIn and any other subscriptions I have. As any sales person would do I look for any new companies coming into the area and any relevant news on our own corporate partners or prospects. I really try and be up to date with what is going on in today’s world, but certainly not limited to the sports vertical. What I love about my job is that every day is different. Some days I am in and out on partner or prospect meetings while other days I am in the office prospecting or catching up. And of course come the game nights. We’re required to be at every home game so for some nights throughout the season we are all getting in the face to face time with our clients.

2) You started out your career with the Celtics in sales and have recently transitioned over to corporate partnerships. What's been different since?

The biggest difference for me was going from what some would call a transactional sale to a much longer and diverse sales process. To some extent Premium and Ticket Sales are black and white. You have a product to sell but you’re limited in terms of your creativity. In Corporate Partnerships you have the ability to create these crazy platforms that can merge so many different opportunities. You’re starting from a very wide range of assets whereas before the product didn’t change too drastically. Another transition that has been interesting is collaborating with so many other people and departments. I was so used to working on my own to some degree. I was really dependent on myself to entertain, etc. Now collaborating with other departments you really need to learn how other departments and people work.

3) Working in the sports industry can involve a large number of long nights. What keeps you motivated throughout the season?

What keeps me motivated is knowing that there are a very large number of people that would do anything to do what I do. From what I have seen too there is not much turnover. If you look at the number of people there are working in sports that’s really a very miniscule number compared to software or pharmaceuticals, so to know that you’ve made it into this industry is a very rewarding feeling. Another thing that keeps me motivated is meeting new people. You never know who you are going to meet, talk to, walk into or see. Like I said before every day is different and you never know what might happen so that constant stimulation is an environment that works for me personally.

4) In your ten years with the Boston Celtics, you have seen the team go through struggles and through championships. During these high and low periods, what is the most important lesson that you have learned?

Most important lesson is no matter what the team is doing on and off the court always keep working and do your job. I’m always on the hunt and though nothing may come out of my efforts for 6-8 weeks or months down the line the hard work will pay off eventually. I just try and never give up. If someone tells me no, that just means no at that time. They’ll hear from me again.

5) What advice do you wish you were given when you were first starting out in sales or in sponsorship?

That not everyone is going to like you or respect you. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but just put your head down and focus on yourself and your job.

6) What do you do to continually learn and evolve in your career?

I’m always trying to put myself in uncomfortable positions that will help me learn and grow. Being a sales person it’s weird to say this but I am just not a huge fan of public speaking. I sign up for a few events anyway because I know it will help my presentation skills. I am constantly reading too. And I ask a million questions….You won’t know unless you ask.