Amy Latimer and tending TD Garden | Bold Types | Boston Globe


[driving music] Hi, I’m Janelle Nanos, business reporter with the Boston Globe, and this is Bold Types, conversations with Boston’s business leaders. Today we’ll be talking with Amy Latimer, president of TD Garden. Amy, here we are in the heart of the new Hub on Causeway with, um — which is in the midst of a big construction project! Tell us a little bit about the heart of the Hub. —This is the site of the old Boston Garden,
this is the new entrance for the TD Garden, all of our fans are gonna come right in here. So this is a great palate for us to get people
to feel energized and excited before they come in. But also this a part of our mixed-use development. It is going to change the neighborhood,
and I think it helps fill some of the needs of the neighborhood, right? The grocery store, and a movie theater, and just — we’re always short on, you know, hotels, and the neighborhood vibe has changed a little bit. It just changes this entire space that’s been a parking lot. [cheerful piano music] —I know we’re actually feeling cold, but this does still give you chills, to stand in the middle of this space and to know
that you are making all this happen. Tell me a little bit about that. —So it’s thrilling on so many fronts. You know, happy to have the expansion and the development out front, and then the success of the teams, right? Celtics had a really good season, second round. But to see that Stanley Cup in the ice down there
gives you chills more than the ice actually does itself. Like it’s just — to have all this culminate at the same time keeps us busy and a lot of things moving but it’s worth it, it’s just so worth it. So I think I have the best job in Boston. I love coming into the arena,
even when there’s not anyone here yet, right? Because this is a little bit of, um, calm before the storm. And then all the energy of all the people come in, and it’s really exciting, and it’s not just Bruins and Celtics and concerts and other events. It’s wonderful that we’re ever changing, right? And we always have a different demographic
and a different group coming in. But they’re always happy to be here, so it’s a great place to work. —So your history, you have sports in your history,
I know you went to college on a basketball scholarship. Tell me a little bit about how that steered you into the TD Garden space. Do you feel like it was just bound to happen? —Uh, no! Actually, it wasn’t.
[Janelle laughs] So I did play basketball in college
at the University of Rhode Island — loved it — and I thought I was going to be a lawyer,
and I thought I was going to go to law school, and I went to graduate school,
and I ended up here for totally different reasons. I was in a totally different space,
I worked in political fundraising, and my husband moved up here, and I had the opportunity to come work
to open this building as a consultant. Few months later they called me back and said,
“Would you like to come back to be the director of marketing?” And I had no idea what I was doing, I can honestly say that. I was like, “Okay, it sounds like a great job.” I really didn’t understand the magnitude of getting that position
and how few and how rare they are. And I have been here ever sense, probably eight different offices,
seven different jobs. —What is it about the Garden that’s just so special to you? You’re not a Boston native, you grew up in Maryland, so, I mean, how did this sort of magic take over? —Well, I do feel like I’m a transplant that’s rooted now. And, so I’ve always had a love of sports, And I can’t say that I was as knowledgeable about hockey
growing up in Maryland as I am today. [crowd cheers] And I fell in love with just the live aspect,
and I have such respect for those athletes. Certainly I’ve loved basketball all along. It does always change, all these different events,
every year could be your year. And so I have the opportunity to make sure we’re cutting edge
and staying ahead in technology and everything else, and to be able to be sort of the steward of this arena is fantastic. —Tell me about, more about, the future fan experience. There are so many things that you have to think about now
when you think about a sports experience, ’cause it’s not just the sitting in the seats. It’s the digital component, it’s what’s happening on Instagram,
it’s what’s playing out on Twitter. How are all of those things factored into the live experience here
in the Garden itself? —The way we think about the guest experience,
it’s really from street to seat. Then it’s about food and beverage and that experience, and being able to smell the food being cooked, and having those cocktails,
and changing out the food. But we get a lot of feedback from our fans, what things that they want, so we make sure that we’re nimble and we’re meeting their needs. So that guest experience is probably the most important. Security’s important to make sure they feel safe,
they’re in a clean facility, and that it’s the content they want to see. —Sports betting is one of the big things
on the horizon as we look to the future. How do you see that incorporate into the game experience,
into the live venue experience? —I think it just become a natural within the building. I think in Massachusetts, I think they’ll eventually pass
that sports betting will be legal, and I believe again, mobile— The people are gonna be using it on their phones,
they’re gonna be sitting in the stands, it might be about this event, it could be about something else. I think that the whole next generation everything—
everyone is today on their phones, but even more so, right? That they’re gonna want to interact and follow their favorite teams
and be able to bet. —We call this series “Bold Types,” so we always like to ask people, you know, what’s a point in your life where you feel like
you’ve had to take a bold step? To make a change in your career
or to make a decision about something big. Where do you feel like you’re being bold in your day-to-day life? —I think it was a bold step for me to take the job here. And then probably a few more bold steps is that
I kept raising my hand for jobs that were — probably I was 70% qualified, but not 100%, not on paper the perfect candidate. And it was a lot of risk. And I acutally kind of like that, and I was like, “I can — I believe like, I feel like I can figure it out,
I have great people around me.” So I think that boldness comes through when I keep
raising my hand for new opportunities. —You’re a woman in an industry
that is dominated in so many ways by men. How do you feel like you play in that space, if you will,
to use a sports analogy? —I am not a shy player. I feel confident in my abilities and what I know I’m doing, and I probably show up and feel like I deserve to be here. And I use my voice. I think if people hold back and don’t use their voice,
’cause maybe they think they don’t fit in with the rest of the group, then you’re doing a disservice to the group that you’re representing. And I feel like I don’t hold back in using my voice and my opinion,
because that’s actually why I’m here. —If you look back on your legacy here,
what are some of the things you’re most proud of? What are the things you’re still hoping to accomplish? —Being in this role. And being a woman in this role, and hopefully showing other woman that their opportunities are endless, and that somebody that didn’t know and didn’t have this clear path
could have this wonderful opportunity. I think working on the development and the expansion out front, and it’s really — it was the Jacobs family vision,
but I’m happy to bring it forward. I will always — you know, I’ll probably be 80
driving by that front entrance and think, “Oh, I had something to do with that!” Like, it’s just exciting. [cheerful piano music]

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