Melissa Proctor is the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena. Proctor joined the organization in June 2014 and oversees the club’s marketing team, creative group, brand merchandising, live experience, production, brand communications and Hawks Studios. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in design studies and branding from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at The London Institute.
In the past, Proctor had been selected for the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s class of 40 Under 40, and this year she will be honored on June 29 at the 2019 Caribbean American Cultural Arts Foundation’s annual Captains of Industry Gala in Atlanta.
What inspires you to show up at work every day?
The excitement and wonder of discovering what new project will be next. My role continually challenges me and allows me to grow through varying aspects of the business. Responsibilities could easily shift from overseeing a marketing initiative like designing our new City Edition uniforms with my team, NIKE and the NBA, to planning an upcoming College Park Skyhawks G-League event with 2 Chainz.
How did you determine your career path?
I never planned to be CMO [chief marketing officer] of the Atlanta Hawks. In high school, my goal was to be the first female coach of an NBA team … but I never actually played basketball. That goal did result in me becoming the first ball-girl — aka team attendant — for the Miami Heat, which started this journey. Taking the right classes, working hard, being open to assignments I wasn’t familiar with, and pairing with incredible mentors also played a part in the process. I have been and will continue to be open to whatever the universe has in store for me.
Describe the goal-setting methods you use and how do you evaluate your success.
I haven’t really set “career goals” in a traditional, linear way. Years ago, I had a mentor who introduced me to the concept of adopting guiding principles for my life.
These guiding principles are the three to five things that are most important to your career and your happiness. You then use these principles as a filter to vet any opportunity that comes your way. You critique the opportunity and ensure that your guiding principles are met or, in the case of a job, you can negotiate and ask questions early to make sure the opportunity is in line with your principles.
Describe the voice of success that you hear in your head.
“Nothing beats a failure but a try” is something my mother often said. Growing up, instead of accepting things as they were, my mom would always make the ask for opportunities. She even negotiated prices. This taught me that I should always have the courage to speak up and try because you never know what is possible. Her advice led me to successfully secure my first job with the Miami Heat and guided me to the funding that paid for my graduate school education.
Learn more about the 2019 Caribbean American Arts Foundation Gala at www.caribbeanculturalarts.org