Nicole Bienert, Vice President of Partnership, Retention & Analytics for the Miami Dolphins, and Georgia Native
Working for a two-time Superbowl championship team, in sun and rain-drenched Florida, and having a devotion to quotes by Buddha and Starbucks’ Caffé Americano: that is just part of the tale of Nicole Beinert, Vice President of Partnership, Retention & Analytics for the Miami Dolphins. Started in 1966, and home at one time to star quarterback Dan Marino, the Dolphins are one of the oldest NFL franchises in the Deep South division, and Bienert very much feels the responsibility (and enjoyment) of working for such a storied team – in fact, she notes that it is her favorite job ever. (Her former position at the NBA as Senior Director of Team Marketing and Business Operations comes in second!)
Beinert is originally from Peachtree City, Georgia, and credits her southern upbringing – known by the rest of the country as engendering a kind of kind-hearted, greet-the-day-with-a-smile, and mind-your-manners outlook – for remaining with her even at such a huge organization, and giving her a “caring” and “can-do” attitude. She supplements that approach with a big dose of current events, reading both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal every day, as well as catching up on the Today show every morning. (This sort of advice to be interested in the world around you in order to be aware of how it impacts your career realm has been given elsewhere in this series, and is kind of a stealth nugget of wisdom.)
Beinert also provides a remarkable list of interview questions for potential candidates, explaining why they should be asked, and what qualities they can reveal. Rounded out by a mention of her love of yoga, and props to Katie Couric’s bestselling book The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, Bienert’s interview below provides lessons for any woman interested in working in the never-boring, often memory-making sports and entertainment field.
Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
This is my first season with the Miami Dolphins as Vice President of Partnership Activation, Retention & Analytics. In my new role, I am responsible for implementing various partnership initiatives; developing activation plans for existing corporate partners; event-booking for stadium events; sponsorship analytics; managing an activation and retention staff; and overseeing the day-to-day relationships in the Dolphins’ client portfolio.
I joined the Dolphins with an extensive background in marketing, sponsorship sales and corporate partnerships; prior to my role here, I most recently served as Senior Director of Team Marketing and Business Operations with the National Basketball Association. At the NBA, I was responsible for the day-to-day league business relationships of the WNBA Atlanta Dream and Seattle Storm. I also served as a sponsorship consultant for NBA, WNBA and D-League senior team management.
Before that, I worked as Senior Director of Sponsorship Sales for Proxy Partners in Denver, Colorado, and prior to Proxy Partners served as Corporate Partnerships Senior Account Executive for the Denver Broncos, as well as Kroenke Sports Enterprises in the same role.
What are the first three things you do when you wake up in the morning, and the last three things you do before you go to bed?
I wake up before sunrise, and usually go for a jog to get my morning started. After my morning run, I’ll check a few emails, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and a few industry publication highlights. Next, I review my priorities, meeting schedule and goals for the day. Then I’ll turn on the Today show while I get ready and fix a little breakfast before I head into the office.
In the evenings before leaving work, I’ll usually clean out my emails and critical to-do’s, as well as skim through the day’s headlines from various industry publications. I walk the floor to check on my team. The last thing I do before I leave the office is review upcoming meeting schedule, create my goals for the next day, and update my to-do list.
What is your breakfast of choice?
- Americano and/or tea w/lemon and honey
- 2 poached eggs
- A bowl of mixed berries
- 2 slices of toast w/rhubarb jam
What keeps you energized and motivated at work?
First and foremost, my team motivates me every day to be the best leader I can be for them. I’m grateful to my team here at the Dolphins and find it extremely rewarding to watch them grow and develop and see them ultimately be successful within our organization. I absolutely love what I do.
I was fortunate to know early on that I wanted to be a part of the Sports and Entertainment Industry. As such, I’ve spent my entire career working for agencies, sports properties or leagues all focused on Sponsorship Sales and Activation. I find great satisfaction in working with the world’s top brand’s leadership teams, and helping them grow their business. Analytics play a significant role in informing our partnership strategy, and it’s also a personal passion point of mine: I enjoy digging into the data, and sorting through all the puzzle pieces and moving parts in order to find the right solve/insights not only for our Partnership Development, but also for enhancing our partner’s marketing strategy.
What is the favorite part of your job?
The people and relationships formed both internally and externally. I’m grateful for being surrounded by intelligent people who allow for me to learn and grow each and every day.
What and who inspires you at work?
- Tom Garfinkel, Miami Dolphins President and CEO
- My team which includes staff from Partnership Activation, Retention, Analytics and Insights as well as Special Events
- The Miami Dolphins brand which at its core is the team on the field
- Our culture of being a results-based organization with a heart drives the mission of the Miami Dolphins Organization
Do you have a ‘Power Outfit’ that you wear for a big meeting or important work event?
Yes, I usually like to purchase a fresh new power outfit for home games, other big events and/or important meetings. Having a new look makes me feel good and sets my mood for the occasion.
What is your favorite leisure activity after a stressful work week?
I’m a “born-to-run” kind of lady, so any time I can get out for a nice long run and explore makes my happy and helps me unwind. Also, after a career-ending injury while dancing in college at The University of Georgia, I discovered the practice of yoga in an effort to rehab. Since then, yoga has been a staple in my life for both physical and mental strength and stability.
How does your culture/background influence your work?
I grew up in the South and believe my roots — which are influenced heavily by good ol’ southern hospitality — has helped me carry a genuine positive, caring and can-do attitude throughout my career.
What are your most steadfast ‘don’ts’ rules regarding work and the workplace, and what are your most cherished ‘do’s’?
- Positive Attitude
- Disciplined Work Ethic
- Competitive Yet Humble
- Good Values and Judgment
- Critical Thinker
- Curious Learner
- Disrespect, gossip, backstab or speak negatively of a supervisor, coworker or client
- Burn bridges
- Make commitments that you cannot keep
- Get angry, abusive, combative
- Have a negative attitude
- Say, “that’s not my job”
- Blame someone else for your mistake
What are the most important qualities of a good leader?
- Being confident, having a clear vision and being disciplined to that vision
- Being passionate
- Being innovative, and challenging conventional wisdom
- Having a positive attitude, tenacity and heart
- Showing an ability to inspire
- Being committed and leading by example
- Being honest and humble
- Maintaining healthy lines of communication
- Being fair, yet holding people accountable to results, and not accepting mediocrity
- Showing determination
- Exhibiting perseverance
What are the unforgettable traits of role models who have inspired you most?
- The ability to simplify and synthesize
- Great story-teller
- Competitive yet humble
What are three questions you like to ask during an interview to know if the candidate (or job) is the right fit?
I like using situational interview question in order to probe for the traits we’re looking for to be successful in the organization/team – like people skills, organizing work flow, flexibility, team player, character, determination, passion, drive, communication, persuasion, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, discipline and persistence, to name just a few.
So here are the questions to ask:
- “You’re a team leader; what would you do if the work of one of your subordinates wasn’t up to expectations?”
- “Describe a time where you had to work with someone difficult. What was the outcome?”
- “Describe a situation where you’ve had to persuade someone to accept your point of view, or convince them to change something.”
- “How would you handle a client who isn’t happy with your service, even though you’ve done nothing wrong, and they’re actually the ones who have made the mistake?”
- “Describe a mistake you’ve made professionally — and what you learned.”
What advantages do you see as a woman in the workplace?
My style is approachable, “door-open,” asking for different perspectives and seeing situations from a different vantage point, which I believe are traits anyone can carry.
What advice would you give to women starting their careers?
The same advice I’d give anyone starting their career: treat every day like a job interview, and always be learning.
What book would you recommend for women just starting their career?
The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric
What is your favorite quote you try and live by?
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha
Photo Credit: Jonathan Willy, Miami Dolphins21