Featured Member: Joanna Rohr


Whether playing rugby or organizing sports entertainment events for companies who’s mission she believes in, Joanna Rohr says it’s important to live and work your values. As our Featured Member she offers guidance about how to treat those above and below you and how her industry needs to change to support working mothers.


Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do?

I’ve been a sports marketing consultant and event producer for over 10 years. I’ve been managing sponsorship and events for brands such as adidas, Gatorade, Progressive and Under Armour. I pride myself in my strong Midwest work ethic, creative problem solving, and leadership abilities. I am passionate about connecting people through sport and entertainment experiences. I left the agency world a year and a half ago so I could have more work life balance to raise my daughter. When I’m not pursuing freelance passion projects, you can find me playing rugby, traveling, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors with my husband Paul and my daughter Bailey.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Producing the adidas Parley Run for the Oceans event in NYC, raising awareness of marine plastic pollution through running.


What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise? (Please think broadly here. This can be anything from a tricky boss or colleague to whether or not to return to a job after maternity leave.)

The hardest challenge has been trying to balance my career and raising a child in a country and an industry that doesn’t support mothers.


If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be, and why?

The biggest thing I would change is a more acceptable national maternity leave policy. It’s crucial for the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing that a mother and a child be together for the first few months. Working in the event marketing industry has such high demands on travel, often 50-75% of your time is on the road, it makes it impossible for a new mother to meet her babies needs when she has to go back to work 6 weeks later.


What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?

I would say not to hesitate to enlist the support and guidance of other women. Once you figure out what career or company you want to work for, don’t hesitate to let it be known. Women can be really helpful to one another, you just need to enlist the right support and ask the key questions and the doors will open.


Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?

When I’m pitching, I always try to put myself in my clients shoes and figure out their pain points. What problem are they trying to solve? What are they being measured by? Once you’re on the same page and in the trenches, your work will show, you’ll be able to find strong solutions and they’ll see you as a true extension of their team.


What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?

I love the creative problem solving that comes with my job. I hope to continue to help brands build events and partnerships that help them reach their goals. My goal would be to work with more brands and projects that I’m inspired by such as REI & Patagonia.


What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

One of my first bosses did a secret test during my first interview. While I was waiting, he had the receptionist spill a tray. There was water and papers everywhere and she was embarrassed. I got up to help her with a smile and told her if she hadn’t done it I would have. He told me I passed and that he only wanted to hire people that would help wherever needed and were kind to everyone. That always stuck with me. Treat the CEO and the Janitor the same and everyone will want to work with you. There have been so many times that my path has crossed with people I’ve worked with in the past. It’s important to make a good impression with everyone, senior and junior, you never know where they’ll end up, they may end up being your boss or client one day!


Who has been your biggest cheerleader // supporter // mentor? 

My girlfriends that I worked with at Match Marketing Group. They’ve been my biggest supporters in breaking out to do freelance work, they’ve even hired me over the past year!


How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?

It’s difficult to find balance but I think being kind to yourself during the process is important. I try not to beat myself up too much if I’m not doing a great job of juggling it all. It’s impossible to be a perfect mom but you can be a great mom. I do regular monthly check ins with my husband and myself so we can adjust however needed.


If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?

Nothing will turn out the way you planned, stay flexible and enjoy the ride!


How do you make work work for you? 

I make work work by only taking projects I’m passionate about and work for my family. Projects that aren’t too demanding with travel and have realistic timelines are key when you’re a mom.


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