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FC Dallas VP Of Media & Communication Gina Miller Creates Stories That Resonate With Fans And Personify Athletes

Gina Miller | VP of Media and Communication | FC Dallas

Storytelling is the most critical component of what I do, as well as many other professionals in the sports media and sports marketing industry. One thing audiences always love is a good story, and that has never changed.

Gina Miller

VP of Media and Communication

FC Dallas

× The interview with Gina Miller was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

Tell us about your role as the VP of Media and Communication of the FC Dallas.

In my position, I oversee three areas of business for FC Dallas, as well as Toyota Stadium and the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The first being public relations and media relations, as well as social/digital editorial content and broadcast content.

I focus on executive messaging and positioning, strategy and planning, ownership/player/coach/team communications, executive counsel, media relations training, editorial coverage, broadcast production and affiliate relations.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Each day is uniquely different, but the overall goal is the same: help tell the story of our brands to our fans, the media and internal stakeholders.

While we’re strategic when it comes to planning our days, weeks and months in advance, we operate in the breaking news area. Meaning, if something happens (i.e. a player signing or trade) we have to pivot so that we can share that with media and cover that on our owned platforms. 

It’s very much like working in a newsroom in that you never know what a day will bring.

In your current role, how important is it to be able to tell an interesting, unique story? How did you cultivate this skill?

Storytelling is the most critical component of what I do, as well as many other professionals in the sports media and sports marketing industry. One thing audiences always love is a good story, and that has never changed.

But, the manner in which we tell those stories has evolved (from hieroglyphics to newspaper, to radio, to cell phones) and will continue to do so.

Good storytelling is so important because it humanizes players, the team and our staff and makes them relatable.

I spent 20 years as a sportscaster, working in local TV newsrooms for the better part of my career, which really helped me hone my skills as a storyteller.

How much freedom and creativity do you have in your role?

I and my team are fortunate in that we have a fair amount of creative license in what we do. Certainly, there is an approval process in place for select press releases and content initiatives and we always want to be collaborative with other internal stakeholders, but we do have the ability to enterprise a media event or social media campaign.

You've been in this industry for over 15 years. How has COVID-19 affected the sports industry and in what direction do you see it heading?

It has had a game-changing impact on the sports industry. As it relates to sports media, that impact is massive. Success in sports media is built, in large part, on access and developing relationships. With social distancing now the norm, that in-person access has been substantially diminished or completely eliminated. That’s an incredible challenge for a reporter who is trying to gain an athlete or coach’s trust, and this also creates a challenge for media relations professionals trying to build rapport with members of the media. We’ve pivoted to video conference and while we appreciate its ease of use, the lack of person-to-person interaction cannot be replaced. 

From a management standpoint, it’s about creating a sense of community online. The best thing about a sporting event is the atmosphere, being there and having the opportunity to witness history with several thousand people. It creates bonds and memories that last a lifetime. As we consider what the sports landscape looks like in the COVID-19 era, we have to think about replicating that experience and sense of community in a different form, very likely a digital one.

What has your experience of being a woman in this industry been like, and what advice would you have for young women aspiring to your role?

While I’ve definitely received opportunities because I am a woman, I know I have been precluded from opportunities, as well, because there was already a woman in place in a particular department. I’ve been in the industry long enough to recall that was once a time in which it was thought that only one woman could work in a newsroom’s sports department or a select number of women could only work for a sports franchise.

There are absolutely challenges that exist when it comes to women working in male-dominated industries. These range from unconscious bias to overt gender discrimination and misogyny.

When improper treatment exists, it is important to confront it whether it’s yourself or through a trusted advisor or mentor. The best way to combat that is to recognize it, address it and work to ensure it ends. Easier said than done undoubtedly, but we’re stronger as a team in addressing these workplace issues.

Along those lines, and I recognize this comes with age, I tell aspiring female professionals not to focus on being the best “woman” for the position but to be the best “professional” for the role. Once you reframe that, it can eliminate a lot of the internal gender politics that can occupy space in your brain.

Hayley's Final Thoughts

Through her extensive experience, Gina has become quite the storyteller! Gina has seen the sports media industry evolve and adapt. COVID-19 has greatly impacted the sporting world, and Gina provides excellent insight and input on how the industry is continuing to adapt to the ever-changing sports landscape! Stories are meant to be told, and Gina has cemented herself as one of the best to tell those stories. Although she has a lot on her plate, she focuses on giving fans a unique and interesting story day-in and day-out, even in the most unpredictable of times.

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