Name: Martha Fuller
Position: CFO, Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Positions: EVP and CFO at Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Sports & Entertainment/Vulcan Inc.; director of planning and economic development for the City of St. Paul, Minnesota; auditor and consultant with Arthur Andersen
Notable For: Being the first female CFO of a National Hockey League franchise (Minnesota Wild, 1998–2002)
Her Take-Away: What I like about the NHL is that, unlike the NFL, which has enormous TV and licensing contracts, and where a lot of revenue comes to each team from league-level sales and marketing, in the NHL it’s really up to each club to be successful. You have to sell your tickets, you have to have good long-term relationships with season ticket holders, and you have to keep suite-holders and corporate sponsors happy.
One of the things I like most about my specific position is that I have more than just the finance area [in my domain]. The arena and its operations report up through me as well. That allows me to go beyond managing the numbers and be more hands-on than I might otherwise be. By working one-on-one with the folks on the arena staff I get a much better feeling for how challenging those jobs are, and I can help shape how we recruit for those positions, how we train for them, and how we evaluate our successes in those areas. It’s really nice to be able to put down the spreadsheets every so often and just go out and look at how the building functions on a day-to-day basis.