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Pirates Community Relations & Marketing Coordinator Mary Lanzino Brings Lightning To Pittsburgh

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates Community Relations & Marketing Coordinator Mary Lanzino Brings Lightning To Pittsburgh

Mary Lanzino is the Coordinator of Community Relations and Marketing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a job that spans out across the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I first learned of Lanzino when she was a Production and Live Events Assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that’s sold out over home games. Much of her work went into the Tampa Bay Lightning Girls program. Between scheduling their corporate and community appearances, organizing summer camp, and co-managing their social media accounts (Instagram and Facebook), I wasn’t surprised at how quickly Mary’s transitioned into her role as Community Relations and Marketing Coordinator with the Pittsburgh Pirates. She talks about her role with the Pirates including how Marketing and Community Relations go hand-in-hand and why she decided to work in sports of all places. As we get into her role with Pirates, it’s also hard not to delve into her previous one with the Lightning. Enjoy!

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

Please note: The interview 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 Coordinator of Community Relations & Marketing with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Working for a Minor League / Major League baseball team, I am lucky enough to have an extremely versatile role. During Spring Training, I have the opportunity to work with Pirates Charities, raising money for different local causes such as Miracle League of Manasota and our Adopt-a-School program. In addition to community relations, I also oversee all of the marketing efforts that go into promoting the Spring Training from January until the end of March.

From April until the beginning of September, we host the Bradenton Marauders players at LECOM Park. The majority of my job at this time during the season is promoting the Marauders and working on community initiatives.  The largest role with my position is the Pirates Community Commitment Program, a program designed to have the players doing community service throughout the season, I will schedule volunteer opportunities in the community and take the players to do service work. Because the entire organization is a part of this program, I also have the opportunity to work with players in Extended Spring Training and the Gulf Coast League team.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Thankfully, everyday looks a little different, which works well for me (I’m not really into routines and I’m not really a fan of sitting at a desk all day). On most days, I am typically out in the community with the players doing some form of community service, sometimes I will have an event in the morning with the Marauders and then an event in the evening with the Gulf Coast League team. I also spend a large amount of time at fundraisers and events, supporting our community partners in different ways. But because I spend a lot of my time out of the office, I typically focus more and try to get my work done when I am actually at my desk.

How do Community Relations and Marketing relate to one another?

Although the two departments are extremely different, marketing is actually very reliant on community relations. When we are out in the community, I typically try to get some content of the players helping out in the community (which is my favorite type of content to post on our social channels!). Community content definitely a fan favorite, typically impressions and engagements are pretty high on these types of social posts because people love to see a number one draft pick doing good for others. Also, just having the players out in the community is a great marketing tool for the team, it gets people in the community to know the players and encourages them to come out to a game and support some of the players that volunteered with them.

Would you say your path to your current position was quite easy or rather challenging, and can you discuss why?

The first position I received with Detroit Tigers in high school pretty much fell in my lap, but that’s where I fell in love with working in sports. Keeping the positions and finding new opportunities has never been easy though. While all of my friends were going to prom (I missed both of my proms because of work), I was working Flying Tigers games in Lakeland because I knew it was important that I was there.

“When all of my friends in college were going out, I was working hockey games on a Saturday night and then going home to do finance homework. You will definitely have to make sacrifices, but all of those sacrifices and hard work are worth.”

Especially when you get to stage-manage a Lightning Playoff game or help plan a watch party with 8,000 people crammed into Curtis Hixon Park. To me, it seems like everyone wants to work in sports, so it has always been extremely important to me to work hard because everyone is replaceable.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role as Community Relations and Marketing Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Pirates?

The most rewarding portion of my job is taking the players out into the community and seeing their genuine passion specific projects and helping others. People are always amazed that professional baseball players would take time out of their day to go and help people in a community that a lot of the minor league players are not very familiar with.

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

Another extremely rewarding portion of my job is seeing Spanish speaking players go into the community and have the ability to work on their English and become familiar with the American culture. One of the last community events of the season, I decided to take a few Gulf Coast League players to the Boys & Girls Club of Palmetto. Almost every single player I took only spoke Spanish and they ended up talking the club members into a dance-off and I almost couldn’t get them to leave when they were closing the club for the day, they absolutely loved it!

Unfortunately, my biggest challenge this year was actually communication with Latin players that didn’t speak any English. Many times we would have to speak into Google Translate and communicate through the app to speak with each other. {Side note: our Latin players actually have a teacher and tutoring to learn English either after or before they play each day, and she is an absolute angel!!} Because of this challenge, our Spanish/English teacher in the organization, Mayu Fielding, has been teaching me Spanish and I have also been utilizing Duolingo (it’s actually going really well!!) Hopefully, this challenge will be a little less challenging next year.

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

When was the point you realized that you were meant to do this career? Take us through that realization.

The first time I realized I was meant for this career, it was my first day working for the Tampa Bay Lightning and my boss at the time, Kelli Yeloushan {Live Events Manager and also Stage Manager at the time} took me down the zam tunnel, and had me stand on the ice as the skater kid rehearsed for Thunderstruck. I was absolutely speechless and that will forever be my favorite part of Lightning games.

And every single community event I take our Pirates players or staff to, I know that this is what I am meant to do.

Tell us about some areas they don’t teach you at school about working in the sport industry that you’ve picked up in your experience.

Well, because I was a Marketing major, I didn’t learn anything about working in the sports industry. If you don’t know this already, then let me be the first to tell you, if you work in the minor leagues, you will learn almost everything you need to know about the sports world, plus you have your hands in absolutely everything. If you are looking to get into the sports industry, my personal advice would be to start at the minor league level first, it will 100% help you out in the long run.

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

What surprised you the most about starting a career in the sport industry?

Definitely the number of hours people in the sports industry work! During Spring Training some mornings I would arrive at work at 6:30am and wouldn’t leave until around 8:00pm depending on what was going on that day, but it’s also a very exciting time so I don’t really mind it. SMILE

What would you include on a list of your top 3 biggest accomplishments (or moments) between working in sport?

1 Stage Managing NHL Playoff Games (there’s nothing like a playoff hockey game)

2 Working the NHL All-Star Game & Skills Competition

3 Bradenton Marauders won the 2019 Florida State League John Henry Moss Community Service award

Who should we interview next at the SPort MAnagement (SPMA) Hub?

1 Sarah Pineda / Kinsey Janke – Coordinator & Manager of Social Media

Aside from being my favorite dynamic duo, Sarah & Kinsey run the social media for the Tampa Bay Lightning and do a killer job. They are both incredibly talented and always have creative, trendy ideas that helps shape the organization’s brand. Plus, Kinsey has had some very memorable posts on social that you all should hear about. I personally think their jobs are the most interesting in the organization. Also, shout out to Sarah for getting promoted!!! And shout out to Kinsey for putting up with Sarah.

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

2 Nick Long – Manager of Ballpark and Event Operations at PNC Park

Nick, better known as my best friend, use to be the Coordinator of LECOM Park Operations in Bradenton, but he just recently received a well-deserved promotion to Manager of Ballpark & Event Ops at PNC Park in Pittsburgh (and I am so so proud of him!!!) I have never met someone who works so hard! He has worked at some very notable places and he has had to grind to get where he is now.

3 Donny DiCaprio – Video Producer

Donny (another one of my best friends) just received a role with the Columbus Blue Jackets as their Video Producer. In this new role, Donny gets to travel with the team and create video content (and he does an incredible job) that is then utilized on social and digital channels. He is so passionate about what he does, he inspires me to learn Premiere Pro (maybe one day).

4 Jackie Riggleman – Assistant General Manager of the Bradenton Marauders

Jackie is the hardest working girl I’ve ever met and she exceeds in everything she does, it’s remarkable. She oversees the sales department and guest experience. Prior to this, she was the AGM of the West Virginia Black Bears and also was working for WVU & the Steelers. Thanks for putting up with me.

Mary Lanzino | Community Relations and Marketing | Pittsburgh Pirates

Mary Lanzino

Interview by Amanda Hope
Posted October 28, 2019 in Industry Profiles

Edited by Annie Goncin

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