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Leaders & trailblazers: The NWSL's Julie Haddon

Part of: Women leaders & trailblazers

In August of 2022, the National Women’s Soccer League named Julie Haddon its first Chief Marketing Officer. Born into a family of diehard sports fans, Haddon carried that same life-long passion into her professional career. After starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers, she launched into a career that can only be described as a masterclass in marketing. Her resume includes top stints at DreamWorks, Twitter, SoFi and the NFL, where in addition to leading Global Brand and Consumer Marketing, she also led the Women’s Summit for Super Bowl 50 in 2016. 

Following her work with the Women’s Summit, and as an executive producer of the documentary “A Lifetime of Sundays,” which tells the story of four women owners of the NFL, Haddon had an epiphany. While on a flight up to Seattle, Haddon, who keeps notebooks on hand for when inspiration strikes, simply but powerfully wrote, “I need to make the world a better place for women through sport.” And so began her pivot to focus on her mission, ultimately joining Commissioner  Jessica Berman and the NWSL. 

What are some of the biggest challenges or surprises as a woman in your respective industry? 

One of the things that’s been so exciting is the amount of momentum that [the NWSL] is enjoying right now. We are raising the game of entertainment value, competition, fan avidity and culture — all the goodness that comes from sport. This is not women's sports of yesterday, this is like a startup with the “hockey stick” trajectory of massive growth.

As a lifelong entrepreneur, it’s not surprising to me. The NWSL’s time is here with the best in the world who play here. I'm really excited about this moment in time. 

What’s something you wish you knew then that you know now?

I say this all the time to my teams because I wish somebody said it to me back then: Failure is not a bad thing if you learn from it. On my team, we ask, “What is the harm?” If trying new things means we're going to get better, optimize. If there's a chance to capture some lightning in a bottle, get learnings and experience high growth – why not try it?   

When someone is early in their career, they can spend so much time thinking about what could fail instead of what can be learned. Not doing anything can also be failure.  

What work are you most proud of?

This is like asking me which child I like best! Right now, I would unequivocally say I’m most proud of the 2023 NWSL draft. We showed up as the league that we are and did it in a way that’s attracted new fans, turned our sights on the 2023 season and began ushering in the next generation of stars. It was a premium event across the board in the room and on TV. We didn’t just meet our goals for that event, we beat them. It was flawlessly executed, and I give a lot of credit to the exceptional team who pulled this off around the league. 

Failure is not a bad thing if you learn from it. If there's a chance to capture some lightning in a bottle, get learnings and experience high growth – why not try it?   

What’s been a key money life lesson for you? 

Setting yourself up for a strong financial future is the best thing you can do. There may not be immediate results, but in the long term, setting money aside and saving is foundational to future stability. 

What's your advice for young girls and future generations who want to follow in your footsteps?

Treat your career like a marketing campaign. Be okay to step in, learn and optimize along the way. Even learn from the failures as I’ve stated above. Try things, because even if it doesn't get you closer to what you want, it gets you closer to what you don't want, which still gets you closer to your vision in the end.

The financial views, information or opinions expressed are solely those of the individuals involved and do not represent those of Ally. 

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