What do you get when you combine a killer resume stretching from sports marketing to brand management, a natural ability to identify business growth opportunities, and a people-first leadership mindset? Meet Best.Day.Ever’s new Chief Revenue Officer, Tana Ashton.
Tana brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique skill set earned through sixteen years of experience in the professional sports industry to BDE. Her years playing D1 soccer at Loyola University showcase her dedicated and driven nature, adding a strong knack for leadership to her already stacked resume. She approaches every role in life with deep care—whether it’s leading a team, strategizing wins for her clients, or, most importantly, being a mom.
We sat down with Tana to ask her a few questions about her experiences and what she’s excited about for the future of BDE—
How has your experience (personal and professional) molded you for your current position as CRO of BDE?
Playing competitive sports growing up is what prepared me the most for my career. Playing my whole life, I learned so many valuable lessons like time management, how to work with teammates, and how to accept constructive criticism.
What is a critical leadership lesson you have learned in your career?
What I have learned the most from my career is that relationships drive business satisfaction and the most important piece to every business is the people. It’s the people that come up with brilliant marketing ideas, the people who power the products we use daily, and that build the technology we all need. I believe the core of a great business is creating a work environment that talented people want to work in.
As a woman in leadership in the male-dominated sports industry, are there any unique challenges you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today?
This is a tough one. There are unique challenges for women in every business, not just in sports. I think my biggest challenge was fighting this thought that since you are a woman, you can’t have it all. You can’t have a great career and be a wife and mom. I now know that isn’t true. I have been extremely fortunate to have some badass women to look up to in sports and some incredibly supportive men who have built me up and taught me to keep reaching my goals.
Who is a mentor that has made a difference in the way you lead?
John Pollard, head of live events at Samsung, is a role model of mine and someone that has coached me through a lot. A quote by C.S. Lewis that he says often and that I have hanging above my desk right now is, “you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
I have learned from John and others the importance of having meaningful relationships, not just transactional ones. The goal is for my team to know who I am and for me to understand them on a personal level as well. It’s a two-way street.
I want to fulfill a need that [the people I work with] have in their business life— find out what motivates them and better understand how I can fulfill that for them.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Direct and with open communication. I think two-way communication is important to any leadership role. I want to understand what motivates the people I work with, and I want them to understand who I am as a person as well.
People take criticism better if they know if that person cares about them as a person. It’s important to understand people in general, so if you see room for improvement, you can come from a place of care.
What is your driving motivator?
Definitely my family and friends. I have the greatest support system in the world, and making them proud is of extreme importance to me.
How would you describe the value Best.Day.Ever. offers to its partners?
BDE is the partner that cares about our clients’ business. We take the time to understand organizational goals and then deliver measurable results. On top of that, we deliver one-of-a-kind experiences to customers.
What growth opportunities do you see within the sports hospitality industry?
The biggest opportunity I see is to create more cross-collaboration. I think too often, businesses try to separate themselves from their competitors or create a distinction between the two instead of finding ways to collaborate and work together to deliver the best overall experience.
What are you most excited about for the future of BDE?
We are thrilled to have such a power-house leader join our team for the next stages—allowing us to extend our service offerings, foster a strong company culture and capitalize on even more wins for our clients.