145 – Eve Wright Taylor: Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami HEAT

Eve Wright 010aEve Wright has never been the kind of woman to wait for opportunities—in business or in her personal life. This big-picture thinking, calculated risk-taking executive learned the hard way that, with her goals, she would have to create opportunities rather than wait for them.

It’s a philosophy that’s navigated Wright’s successful career in one of the most male-dominated industries in the world— professional sports. And she did it without compromising her personal style or femininity.

[saf feature=”itunes” cta=”Subscribe & Listen in iTunes”]

Wright hadn’t even reached 35 when she earned a top spot as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami HEAT—arguably the hottest professional sports franchise in the world. She is a relatively young executive who’s enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of Corporate America and the professional sports world.

Her track record of success ranges from the corporate law firm setting to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Member Team of the National Basketball Association. Wright’s message has captivated audiences large and small (male and female), at forums that have ranged from the American Bar Association to The Golf Channel and the Super Bowl.

In her position at the Miami HEAT and the AmericanAirlines Arena (Arena), Ms. Wright advises on a wide variety of legal issues pertaining to marketing and promotions, concerts and events, corporate sales, merchandising initiatives and player- related matters.

Ms. Wright counts the drafting and negotiation of corporate and marketing partnership agreements, on behalf of the Miami HEAT and the Arena, with American Express, American Airlines, Bacardi, Comcast, Nike, Gatorade, Hublot, Kia, Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Hewlett Packard, Office Depot, Miller Coors, FedEx Corporation, United Healthcare, Adidas, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sony Electronics and T-Mobile, to name a few, among her accomplishments in her current capacity. With respect to Arena event operations, she regularly negotiates agreements for the staging of concerts and events (including Lady Gaga, Sade, Celine Dion, Usher, Justin Bieber, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Marc Anthony, WWE, Cirque du Soleil, Disney on Ice, Latin Grammy Awards, SOBE Wine & Food Festival and NFL Players Association, among many others) as well as for movie and television location shoots. Ms. Wright has also negotiated media rights acquisition and production partnerships for regional radio distribution of Miami HEAT basketball games and ancillary programming as well as technology initiatives for both the team and the Arena with respect to websites, social networking platforms and the development of smart phone applications and programming.

Ms. Wright previously served as the Senior Director of Business Affairs for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), a non-profit corporation that promotes women’s golf through the LPGA Tour and LPGA Teaching and Club Professional memberships. As Senior Director of Business Affairs, she developed sports marketing opportunities for corporate sponsors to leverage their affiliation with the LPGA in order to reach their target markets; presented strategies to activate golf association relationships and identified strategic brand extension and revenue generation opportunities. Additionally, Ms. Wright managed the LPGA’s international trademark portfolio and retail licensing business.

Among her successes at the LPGA, Ms. Wright served as lead counsel and managed a litigation team to the successful resolution of an intellectual property dispute spanning 5 countries. She also negotiated wireless platform, new media agreements and other programming distribution arrangements as well as provided legal advice regarding domestic and international television production and distribution agreements with ESPN, TWI, SBS and The Golf Channel. With respect to corporate partnerships, Ms. Wright negotiated and drafted international promotion and licensing agreements with corporate sponsors and advertising agencies, including State Farm, ADT, Schick for its “Intuition and Xtreme3” brands, Anheuser-Busch, MasterCard, MBNA (now known as Bank of America) and IMG among others.

During her tenure with the LPGA, Wright also served as the Senior Director of Legal Affairs and Director of Legal Affairs for the LPGA. In those positions, she was involved in several facets of the organization, including corporate governance, LPGA tournament contracts; sponsorship, licensing and retail merchandising initiatives; all legal matters related to LPGA.com; trademark management and foreign trademark prosecution; and television broadcast initiatives. Wright also provided legal advice regarding advertising campaigns, sweepstakes and other LPGA promotions. She is also a former associate in the Minneapolis, Minnesota office of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. in the E-Business and Corporate Transactions groups, where she practiced primarily in the areas of intellectual property, corporate governance and e- business law.

She speaks regularly on sports, licensing, sponsorship, corporate governance and diversity issues. Among others, Ms. Wright has lectured at conferences and seminars sponsored by the American Bar Association, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Bryan Cave LLP, Corporate Counsel Women of Color Conference, Why Not Sports Symposium for Super Bowl XLIV in addition to multiple college and law schools, including University of Miami, Case Western, Indiana University and Florida A&M University. She has also been featured in various publications, including the Black Enterprise, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine, African-American Golfer’s Digest, the Atlanta Tribune, the Atlanta Post, The DePauw magazines, and on The Golf Channel television network.

Ms. Wright has received several awards, among, them Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award; Black Enterprise Magazine’s 40 Under 40; The Thurgood Marshall Fund Distinguished Young Leader Award; Executive 50 Award and the National Bar Association’s 40 Under 40 Nations Best Advocates. An avid supporter of community development initiatives, Ms. Wright has served in various capacities on the boards of regional civic organizations, including the Board of Directors for Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and Advisory Board for the Corporate Counsel Women of Color. She is currently a member of the ACC professional organization and on the Board of Directors of USA Track & Field.

About Eve’s Book: Life at the Speed of Passion

Life is a contact sport, and no one knows that better than Eve Wright, a dynamic professional sports executive, entrepreneur, and mother. But asLife at the Speed of Passion
our world grows increasingly complex, competitive, and confusing, life becomes less about the luxury of doing what we want and the necessity of doing what we must.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Life at the Speed of Passion will revolutionize the way you think about what your life looks like, what you do for a living…and why you do it. Through her meteoric rise in the corporate and sports worlds, Eve has learned to master the craft of confident decision-making while blending it with personal integrity to create a life more passionate and purposeful than she ever imagined.

Life at the Speed of Passion will help you:

  • Focus on what really matters to you.
  • Cut the emotional and professional “fat” out of your life.
  • Streamline your personal and professional decision-making process.
  • Learn how to trust your instincts–and act on them with confidence!