Sports marketing

Former Allen star Ebony Barbosa leaves her mark in sports marketing – The Morning Call

Ebony Barbosa knows what it takes to compete as a top-notch athlete.

She was an outstanding athlete in three sports at Allen High School, then played Division I volleyball at Youngstown State.

It’s no wonder she says, “Growing up, sport was everything to me. It was my passion. »

While in college, Barbosa also developed a passion for visual merchandising. So the challenge after graduation was to find a career that incorporated these two passions.

She found this role as global basketball marketing manager for New Balance, where she travels across the country and also works with several NBA players.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I wanted to figure out what my career path was going to be like and I’ve always had a passion for basketball, volleyball and athletics. Being around my brother [Allen legend and current Executive Education coach Ray Barbosa] and my cousins ​​and other family groups and friends, basketball has always been a big part of my life. That was it for me. So it’s definitely a good fit.

Barbosa earned a degree in fashion merchandising and wanted to get into a retail business or the sports industry.

“He wanted to be on the cutting edge of sports meeting fashion, so I came into New Balance and started as a store manager for corporate headquarters and as I started to build more relationships internally, I realized there was more to offer there in terms of positions. While working for the brand, there was a position in sports marketing where you had to work directly with the athletes on behalf of the brand. C It was something I really wanted to be a part of.”

Barbosa said the kind of positions she wants don’t open up often. So when the opportunity arose for her, she did not miss her shot.

“New Balance is amazing in terms of growth, family, culture and the opportunities that have arisen,” she said. “I’ve been in the business for six years now and in this current role for about a year and a half and I love it.”

NBA players she works with include Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Zach LaVine of the Bulls, Jamal Murray of the Nuggets, Dejounte Murray of the Spurs, Darious Bazley of the Thunders and Aaron Nesmith of the Celtics.

“These are guys we’ve signed to our brand and they embody the overall family culture that New Balance promotes,” Barbosa said. “They are surrounded by good people and they are good players on and off the pitch. They are elite athletes who have made a name for themselves.

Barbosa works with the pros in their daily initiatives.

“I’m basically the communication piece between the athletes and the brand and I also make sure that whatever initiative comes their way, whether it’s marketing or a product, it’s the best solution for them,” she said. “I’m kind of their voice in terms of where they fit. I am the person who speaks on their behalf while we attend these meetings. Everything that comes up must be authentic to that player.

She said she had only had good experiences.

“They’re all great and unique in their own way,” she said. “Every guy we have on our team really wants to be part of the brand, and you can really see and feel that when you talk to them. Everyone has their own personality and it’s nice to see those personalities shine through and see who they really are.

Barbosa lives near Boston with her husband, Adam Jones, a Parkland High graduate and multi-sport athlete himself. New Balance is headquartered in Boston, although its work requires extensive travel for NBA-related events.

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“We have a train station right behind our building and I’m two stops from the TD Garden where the Celtics play, so I can get to their games in 15 minutes,” she said. “Things are going well right now because I love being awesome with the brand and there are so many cool things we’re doing with the brand. I’m definitely looking to grow with the company and see where my professional journey takes me. , because there are so many opportunities in this space.

New Balance is always on the lookout for new talent to add to the family, but they won’t add just anyone, even in the highly competitive sneaker landscape.

“We try to get to know the players and have real conversations to see if it will be a good fit,” she said. “You have to take that time to get to know the players and their agencies. It’s really important. We want to understand what we need as a brand, but also what will make players feel comfortable. Every day is a new experience and that’s what’s so exciting about my job. I love the challenge of solving problems, while enjoying working with great people.

Barbosa, an Allen graduate in 2005 — she was the school’s senior athlete of the year and Lehigh Valley’s athlete of the year — still belongs in the big category. She worked hard for everything she earned as an athlete in high school, club and college and is now doing the same in the business world. It’s no wonder she gets along well with some of the best basketball players in the world.

Many things she learned from sports led her to succeed in business.

“The most important thing is teamwork, being part of a team and making adjustments to make the team work,” she said. “When I was young I was on so many different teams at different levels. I’ve worked with so many different people and I’m doing the same now. You’re always adjusting and adapting when you meet new people and you build those relationships.You have to learn and grow from each experience.

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