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Pointers From a Former Ball Girl

January 5, 2018


When she was in high school, Melissa Proctor wanted to work in basketball, so she just asked the Miami Heat if she could have a job. She was the inaugural ball girl. Now, she is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Hawks.


How did she get here? Melissa Proctor has long since been a ball girl, but in her mind she still feels like a ball girl. She says that back then, she was “hustling when no one was watching, not just checking the boxes.” So often people use their job description as a reference point to their work and seek recognition - but you’re getting paid for that. You’re supposed to do what’s in your job description. It’s the things you go above and beyond on that set you apart from others in the office. How does Proctor do that? “Bring your whole self to work,” she said. “Do your best work day to day.” If you want to be successful, make sure you’re constantly putting your best work forward every single day.


It’s important for Proctor’s team to be successful. If her team is successful then she knows she’s done her job right. How does she do that? “Be a team player, be open and receptive because good ideas can come from anywhere.” Rising up through the ranks, she has learned that working behind the scenes and socializing ideas or projects is sometimes the way to go. You don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. “Sometimes you win when people think your ideas are theirs,” Proctor said. “What’s most important isn’t how many people credit you for an idea or project, but WHO credits you. Having the CEO, president, boss know you did the work is more important than 500 people knowing you did the work.” She doesn’t believe in ego but believes in helping the team shine.


Proctor pointed at how often she runs into people who don’t advocate for themselves. Has there ever been a time where you get caught in the elevator with a higher up, or walk into the office with the big boss and they ask you how the job is going? Proctor emboldens those early in their careers to take the next step in the elevator and “make a plug for yourself and projects you’ve been working on.” Don’t just say you’re good and that the job is going well - highlight things you’ve been working on, point out specific things that are challenging you and how the experience has been beneficial. Said Proctor, “People feel if they do good work and put their head down that their work will be recognized, which isn’t always true.” Proctor believes in being a champion and needing champions in the office. She encourages people to “know your worth and not be afraid to speak out.” She has seen that a lot of times people just plain don’t advocate for themselves.


Advocating for yourself is a vital component to reaching your career goals. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and know that we at Sparkles and Sports support you in all of your endeavors.


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