Meagan Fester has been in the sports marketing space for a little over 10 years, having started with Octagon before spending the bulk of her career with Openfield. A brief stint with Saatchi & Saatchi preceded her being appointed Managing Director of CHAMP, a new sponsorship agency launched by the DUKE Group just a few weeks ago.
Q: Prior to your MD appointment in January, what were you doing and what attracted you to the position with CHAMP?
A: I’ve spent the majority of my career in the sponsorship space. After a very short stint in advertising, I very quickly realised that sponsorship is the arena in which I needed to be. When the opportunity with CHAMP arose, it was obviously something I couldn’t resist – to be part of a group that offers so much in terms of specialist services, an amazing culture and, most importantly, unlimited growth. The most attractive part of the new position is the integration – being part of a group with the full backing of specialist agencies in your corner is a key differentiator for us and we have already put in a great deal of work understanding how best to integrate the group’s offerings to ultimately benefit our sponsorship clients.
Q: As MD, what do you regard as your primary focus and areas of responsibility?
A: To ensure that the business is successfully built and managed under four fundamental pillars: People, Growth, Profitability and Reputation.
Q: What do you regard as your ‘big break’ in the sports industry?
A: I would have to say being asked to head up CHAMP is my biggest break. I’ve dedicated so much to my career over the years – this has meant lots of late nights as well as weekends and time away from family and friends. I wouldn’t change a thing and it was certainly worth every minute to get to where I am now.
Q: Are you currently working from home or the office?
A: I am working from the office.
Q: What’s your ‘home office’ like and do you share it with someone?
A: My home office is a shared space with my husband – we have recently changed the set-up in our office to accommodate both of us.
Q: How do you run a meeting?
A: With a clear agenda, actions and timelines. With a schedule jam-packed with meetings every day, what works best for me is to ensure that everyone attending understands the purpose of the meeting to avoid time wasting and all relevant actions are summarised at the end of it to ensure delivery.
Q: What does your daily routine look like? How do you run your job and your life?
A: Being a working mom, every day is very different from the next and routine does become very important, especially maintaining healthy boundaries between work and family life. Good boundaries are absolutely necessary and I must admit that I have become far better at it over time. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear has been a huge help for me.
Q: Early mornings or late nights?
A: Night owl – definitely!
Q: How do you cope with stress and how do you unwind?
A: I cope pretty well with stress in general. During my downtime I enjoy a good glass of wine and quality time with family and friends.
Q: What do you view as the biggest impact of Covid-19 on the way sport is run, consumed, commercialised etc?
A: Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the sports industry and specifically live sports events. Sport without fans isn’t really sport at all, so broadcast quality has been compromised and fans have not been able to connect with their favourite sport in a meaningful way. Rights-holders and sponsors have not been able to activate their sponsorships. Sponsors are not getting any “traditional” returns and sports bodies, federations or rights-holders depend upon the income from sponsorships. Although we see the industry slowly opening up again, there has been an irreversible change. The good news is that we’ve been able to fast-forward to the next 10 years in the space of 12 months and the magic that has been created is just incredible. I get excited about the opportunities Covid has presented – it has almost forced agencies, rights-holders and sponsors to think differently, accelerate their presence on other platforms, to once again be able to connect with consumers/fans.
Q: Where would you like to see CHAMP in 10 years’ time?
A: The end goal is for CHAMP to be a leading sponsorship agency. The success of the business relies on its ability to find “strategic creative solutions” that meet our clients‘ business challenges through exploiting the real connection points that exist between brands and consumers. Agility, forward thinking and relevance are the fundamentals underlying how we respond to these business challenges. Most importantly, however, everything we do for our clients and their brands needs to be underpinned by authenticity, relevance and a shared value, and that is my personal goal.