Women’s History Month: Patience Purdy (Trenton Thunder Director of Community Relations)
Added by Matt Kardos on March 23, 2012.
There is so much that goes into a sports organization that people don’t always think about or know about. Behind the scenes things. Office personnel, admin assistants, and more. Many different departments all come to one to try and develop the best sports organization possible. Today, in our women in sports celebration for Women’s History Month, we feature Patience Purdy. Patience is the Director of Community Relations for the Trenton Thunder. The Thunder are the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
With baseball season just about here, Patience took some time to answer some questions from Double G Sports Trenton Thunder beat writer, Matt Kardos…
To start, can you tell us a little bit about your life leading up to what brought you to Trenton. Where are you from? What school did you go to and what was your major there?
I was born in Florida and moved to Tucson, AZ at age 13. I started school at the University of Arizona studying English Lit but left early - then finished a BA/Communications later on.
Have you always held an interest in sports or was it inherited as you got older?
I’ve always been a fan of sports, but my interest definitely grew over time.
Do you root in particular for any professional sports teams?
I root for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Chargers. There isn’t a better place to see a football game than in sunny Southern California.
How important do you think it is for women to have a role in sports, whether it be in an on-field capacity or in a front office or executive position, similar to yours?
It is extremely important. Playing competitive sports teaches the importance of teamwork. Working in a sports related environment is very similar; we work as a team for the team. Women on the field or in the office provide a necessary element of diversity, in thought, perspective and approach.
Have you experienced any particular challenges being a woman in the sports industry?
Yes, I can’t recall the colleges of every current NFL QB, how do you guys do that!? Seriously though, there are challenges working with a predominantly male staff, and I imagine those same type of challenges exist for men who work in fields that have more women. Men and women are different and we have to realize and accept those differences in order to work well together. I am lucky to work with a great group of intelligent, creative and respectful men (and women).
Have you always been involved in charitable and community projects, say for instance, in high school?
No, I volunteered for different things but was not a champion for any particular cause. Working in Trenton and seeing the impact that we can have on the community has been very rewarding for me. Our venue provides awareness for so many great organizations that they couldn’t get elsewhere.
How did you get the opportunity to work for the Thunder?
I applied for a job with the Thunder when I first moved to New Jersey. I called the General Manager daily until I got an interview. I started in the ticket office and gained more responsibility over time. I became active in the community and grew into my current role.
Can you tell us what a typical day is like for a Director of Community Relations?
In order to stay involved in the community I serve on a number of committees, so I have to stay on top of that schedule. I coordinate our chamber of commerce memberships and make sure we attend events, participate in expos. I respond to requests for donations and appearances. The days will change once the season gets going. I organize our season ticket holder bus trip and coordinate our dog adoption program. This year we introduced a new community grant program as well as a fundraiser to support it, so I am working on that.
You are well known for your tremendous dedication and hard work in the community, what inspires that dedication?
The community. We are surrounded by a wonderful and diverse community here in Trenton and the surrounding region that really care about each other. It makes it very easy to be involved.
How fulfilling was it to realize your hard work was recognized by being nominated for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award?
I was honored.
I understand that you created Dog of the Day adoption program for the Thunder. Can you explain the program in brief and how it all came to fruition? Do animals hold a special place in your heart?
We feature a different adoptable dog at every home game. We work with 10-15 different rescues/shelters in the area and they walk an adoptable dog on field during the second inning. We provide our fans with the shelter/rescue information as well as a short bio on the dog. We do not get involved in the actual adoption process as each shelter/rescue has their own requirements. Animals hold a very special place in my heart. I think anyone with a pet would say that. They just can’t help but make you smile.
What are some of the other community and charity events the Thunder sponsor or hold?
We have our annual Good Deed Day. This season it is July 28th. At that game we work with several local non-profits and do collections of food, clothing, school supplies, toiletries as well as the blood mobile from the Community Blood Council. We encourage the donations by inciting our fans with Thunder experiences etc. and we increase the incentives based on the number of donations. This year we will hold our first Trenton Thunder Charities Treasure Hunt to support our Community Grant Program. We host the National Kidney Foundation Walk, we have jersey auctions, we do a Gift of Baseball program every year for the holidays, we have a ticket FUNdraiser program and much more. You can see more detail on all of these programs on our website under the Community page.
Of all the charitable efforts that you have been a part of, what are you most proud of?
I can tell you which was the most eye opening for me. Two years ago our front office staff participated in a team build for the Trenton Area Habitat for Humanity. We split into two groups and worked together to build a house for one of their clients. It was fun and a bit funny as we all tried to figure out who to follow and what to do next. The eye opening part was when spring came around and a group of eight of our players participated in the same type of event. Watching them work together as a team so smoothly was really special. There were no power plays, they simply followed the teammate that took charge and cooperated so perfectly with each other. It gave me a lot of insight in to what happens between players on the field. There is a great deal of trust and respect between them.
Patience was nominated for a national award.
Previous Women’s History Month Interviews: