“Jamaica makes up a big part of my heritage.” – A conversation with Jamaican-American Melissa Proctor the EVP/Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Hawks

Melissa Proctor

Melissa Proctor is the EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena. This role oversees the club’s marketing team, creative group, brand merchandising, live experience, production, brand communications and Hawks Studios. Proctor’s accomplishments range from being honored in the UK by Leaders in Sport to domestic accolades by Inc. Magazine. At Wake Forest University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication then attained her master’s degree in design studies/branding from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at The London Institute. Melissa is a Caribbean American Cultural Arts Foundation, Inc., 2019 Captains of Industry Honorees. She will receive this honor at the 2nd Annual Captains of Industry Awards & Gala on Saturday, June 29th at the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, 75 14th Street, NE at 6 p.m.

Q: What is your connection to Jamaica?
Jamaica makes up a big part of my heritage. My father was born and raised in Westmoreland. I spent my summers growing up with my uncle and cousins in Kingston taking the bus to Spanish town to visit friends and eating ice cream at Devon House. Then going to see my Aunt in MoBay and eating festival at Doctor’s Cave, going to lunch at Pier 1 or my favorite the Pork Pit. As an adult I embrace and celebrate my culture and pass it down to my daughter Marley.

Q: How did you become interested in the professional basketball industry?
My cousin and I watched lots of basketball games on TV growing up. I decided then that I wanted to be the first female coach of an NBA team. It was an uphill battle since I had never played basketball or even attended a live professional game.That spark led me to a job with the Miami Heat as the first ball-girl (team attendant) for the team while I was still in high school.

Q: What was your profession before you started working for the Atlanta Hawks?
Much of my early career was spent working in entertainment at Turner Broadcasting. I worked in brand strategy for many years as well as in many creative roles. My last job at Turner before coming over to the Hawks was as Vice President of Brand Marketing & Content at upwave (a now defunct digital health and wellness brand at Turner Broadcasting).

Melissa Proctor

Melissa Proctor

Q: Currently what is your biggest challenge marketing the Atlanta Hawks?
Marketing the Hawks is incredibly exciting, especially as we continue to evolve. Atlanta is a city of passionate people but many of the residents are born in other places and grew up cheering on the team from their youth. Now, they live here and love the city; we may not be able to fully convert them, but we want to make sure their children are Atlanta Hawks fans. We want to get them playing basketball at one of our many courts or camps and clinics around the city and coming out to Hawks games to cheer on the team. It’s about building the next generation of Hawks fans!

Q. What time do you wake up and do you have a routine?
I’m up at 4:30a or 5a every day. As I open my eyes, I thank God for life each morning and count my blessings. I then try to read something to get me motivated to tackle the day or get caught up on emails. I also try to workout a few days a week. When my daughter is with me, she is my favorite alarm clock and I love spending time just talking to her before we get up for the day.

Q: Growing up my hero was…
Oprah! Everyone wanted to be just like Oprah or at least get a chance to meet her…I’m still working on meeting her 🙂

Q: The book, movie or song that changed your life?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X had a real big impact on me as a child. The book and movie by Spike Lee. It made me feel like I could do anything and showed the power that one person can have on the world.

Q: Seven days, six nights, all-expense paid, my vacation destination is…
I’ve always wanted to go to Bora Bora, South Africa and Morocco. So more than likely one of those three.

Q: My favorite guilty pleasure is…
Reality TV and The YBF

Q: My favorite Jamaican food is…
I can’t pick just one. I love oxtail, fried breadfruit, red pea soup, bun and cheese, Horlick’s, grapenut ice cream and anything with Wray and Nephew.

Q: Thanks for your time. Do you have any closing thoughts?
I’m very thankful for this acknowledgment.

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About the author

Xavier Murphy