It was just a typical morning for HBSE Chief of Staff, Dana Seiden, as she caught up on news and emails to start her day. However, one email quickly changed her morning.
"I'm doing the same thing I do every morning: scrolling through my phone, checking out my emails and I opened it. It was from Van Adams who's the President of WISE NYC about the Women of Inspiration event, an event I've attended in the past. So I opened it and I'm scrolling and I had to do a double-take," Seiden explained about the moment she found out the Women in Sports and Events New York City chapter was honoring her as one of the three Women of Inspiration in 2020.
"The first person I called was my mentor. That was my gut reaction, I wanted to share a special moment with her," said Seiden. "She told me how I earned it and how happy she was for me. She was quick to make sure I knew I am deserving."
The celebrations started with a call to her mentor but would continue on for the next few weeks. As Seiden's network of friends, family members and coworkers found out, she was flooded with support.
"The support has been unreal. Just hearing from people in my circle, people from HBSE, people from old jobs and old coworkers. And not just hearing from them but hearing stories and them telling me the impact that I've had on their lives and their careers. It's just been totally overwhelming, totally humbling."
A particularly special moment for Seiden was when a group of her HBSE coworkers came together to honor her with a gift just before the WISE event.
"I received a card from the ladies of HBSE that was signed by 70 women sharing how they felt about me as a leader, how they've enjoyed working together, and just personal notes about our time together. Just to read that after the event, I was totally overcome with appreciation."
Seiden's career started with a foundational love of sports at a young age. This love fuels her every day through her job.
"I think back on my best memories as a child and important life moments. A lot of them are centered around sports. I always knew that if I could get a career in this field, it would be to help create those memories for other people, especially other little girls."
How would Seiden turn this desire to work in sports to a Chief of Staff position for two professional sports teams? First a stop at law school to develop a strong foundation of skills. Then a two year stop at Bloomberg Sports where she was an analyst and legal counsel. In 2015, Seiden joined the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers as Associate Counsel, and started learning the inner workings of these two professional franchises.
"Working in house for a professional sports team is a really good way to learn the inner workings of the organization and to establish connections with other departments. One of the best parts of working in legal was that when I would work with every other department and they would come to me and say we need something, I also had the opportunity to ask questions."
"I think something that is unique to HBSE, is everyone is more than happy to answer questions. I made connections which I think also set me up well for my current role because I already had these connections and relationships built with all of our other departments."
As those relationships she built helped her throughout her career, Seiden knows the importance of mentoring others and being open to new connections, especially with other women in the sports world.
"I think it's incumbent upon all of us to continue to open doors for other women and be mentors and make sure that, our seat at the table is used to continue to break down any barriers that are keeping anybody else back," said Seiden. "I reserve a chunk of my calendar, a couple of hours each week, to make sure I spend time with people. I will occasionally hit people up within HBSE and say, no agenda, I just want to get to know you."
"I've been so fortunate that people have been there for me, that are invested in my career, and it's contagious. All I want to do is make sure that I can pay it forward and do the same for the other women."
As she continues her work and mentoring others, Seiden is energized by the recognition as one of the 'Women of Inspiration' from WISE NY.
"This award means everything to me, it's humbling, it's exciting and it's energizing. It's also validating. Knowing that my effort and my work ethic and all the things I've done along the way in my journey is worth it, it has really just been so meaningful."
"In 2020, a year that's been challenging in a lot of way, it was a really special way to end it being recognized by my peers."