Melissa Proctor headshot

Headshot of Nadine Dietz

By Nadine Dietz

55 mins ago

I first met Melissa Proctor, CMO of the Atlanta Hawks, when she taught a Masterclass at Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit alongside Adam Grossman, CMO of the Boston Red Sox and Julian Duncan, CMO of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I was blown away from the first minute, I knew I had to have her as a guest on CMO Moves.

An inspirational leader who went from Ball Girl to CMO, per the title of her recent book, she has had such an interesting journey driven by her determination and perseverance. Encouraged by her mother early on to go get her dream job in the NBA, it took all her effort and creativity to get that first opportunity to be a ball girl. That same creativity became her ultimate asset securing all the stops between ball girl and now CMO.

Today, on Martin Luther King Day, we share her story of success as well as her big news. For three years she’s been working on an important moment that will take place later today.  The Atlanta Hawks will be wearing their new uniforms that proudly say “MLK” on the front of their jersey, not Atlanta, not Hawks, but simply “MLK”.

And it isn’t just a uniform. The three-year journey included tremendous research to fully connect and empower the city of Atlanta, working with the community, local organizations and the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. And a commitment to the future to ensure equity and equality are better embraced and understood by all.

“We’ve been doing this work for a very long time and now we’re really encouraging our fans to come along with us. And if that’s marching or protesting or volunteering or whatever it is, really educating on the legacy of Dr. King, which was one of the things that King of State was adamant about as we did our deal from the very beginning, we really want to ensure that the next generation of Atlantans and Hawks fans understand the work that Dr. King did. And also not just reading about Dr. King, but also reading King. A lot of people don’t know he wrote a number of books, and so we’re going to have a book series on our website and [share] or our game day experience and on our social channels.”

Melissa and her teams’ work will not only be recognized locally but already has earned global recognition from none other than the Pope. Yes, I said the Pope, who when he learned of today, asked that an MLK uniform be shipped to him so he could bless it and send it back.

Not only do I feel fortunate to be able to share Melissa’s story today in honor of Dr. King, but I finally get to use the infamous Pope emoji for good reason!

Tune in to hear all of Melissa’s amazing moves that got her fully in the game and able to drive such meaningful action.