We are thrilled to welcome Marlyse Fant as the new director of development of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Marlyse previously managed sponsorship sales for the Philadelphia Eagles and Live Nation, and knows a thing or two about career transition herself. We asked her a few questions about how she launched her career, how she manages career transitions and who inspires her. Scroll down to hear the 10-minute interview.
How did your professional career begin?
“I was very fortunate in that my father required me to have a job well in advance of graduating from Bucknell.” When everyone else was enjoying senior week, Marlyse was in San Francisco interviewing with dozens of ad agencies, radio stations and TV stations. She landed a job with CBS Radio with absolutely no safety net. “I started my sales career understanding that you really eat what you kill, you have to continually work hard to fill the funnel, you don’t slow down.”
Is there a leader for whom you have great respect, and why?
“My father. He has owned his own business since the year before I was born… He’s a very employee-minded leader.” He encouraged her at a time when she was doubting herself, about to go for a big interview critical point in her career transition at the Eagles. “He told me, ‘Think about the message you’re sending for other young women in the organization if you don’t go for it.’”
As a mother, what advice would you give our community about tackling a career but also creating a domestic life?
“Forgive yourself. Take it easy on yourself. There’s a constant comparison and competition, even if we don’t intend there to be…it’s just not possible to be perfect. You have to just know that getting it done is better than getting it done perfectly, and forgive yourself a little bit and stop comparing yourself to other people.”
What are three tips you would offer to a woman looking to make a big career change?
“Rather than ‘reinvention,’ think of it more as an evolution, or a transition.
I like to tell other women to pick two or three things that they can really focus on changing or improving; it’s a little less daunting.
Ask for help. People are eager to do it. They want to help and they know that you’ll return the favor. It’s about connecting—helping people connect to other people. It all comes full circle.”
Has there been a career transition in your life that you would identify as being the hardest?
“When I left the Eagles, I had been there nearly 10 years…I had really become defined by it by the end…By then it was hard to differentiate my skills and talents from the team…because the Eagles were so popular, I started to question if I could do it someplace else or if it really was easier there. I needed to prove to myself that my skills were transferable and unique to me.”
What’s one thing that you take time for in your daily life?
“I wish I could say it was exercise, but for us as a family, every morning we all pile into bed and watch a cartoon or play a game. There’s a 15-20 minute day-starting routine, it puts everyone in a good mood, and is a really nice way to center yourself for the day.”
Marlyse Fant is director of development for the Pennsylvania Conference for Women and founder and president of Inquisitive Partnership Marketing, a sponsorship sales and marketing firm. Upon moving to Philadelphia in 2001, Marlyse joined the Philadelphia Eagles in a sponsorship sales role and eventually managed all sponsorship and premium seating sales efforts for the team before leaving in 2010 to negotiate national and global tour sponsorships for Live Nation Entertainment / Ticketmaster, the world’s largest live entertainment company.
Marlyse graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA in 1996 and spent the early years of her career in San Francisco, CA identifying new advertisers for CBS Radio and MyFamily.com / Ancestry.com and overseeing all concert venue sponsorship sales in CA and CO for Clear Channel Entertainment.
Listen to the full 10-minute interview here
Interview by Whitney Wilkerson