Chicago Sports Leader, Pooja Van Dyke
Pooja Van Dyke will be a panelist at SAinSports event in Chicago on September 21st.
Pooja Van Dyke, Associate Director at ESPN CreativeWorks has been working at ESPN for 12 years. She started as a Production Assistant in Bristol, CT- ESPN Headquarters. 3 days into working there, Pooja was cutting NBA and College Football highlights to run in SportsCenter and ESPNEWS. She developed a knack for creative highlights and won creative awards and accolades from her production team and beyond in the early years. It was then, she knew that she wanted to stay within the creative realm of storytelling. She grew up in the ESPN system and worked as a Production Assistant eventually an Associate Producer and worked behind the scenes with many critically acclaimed shows such as: SportsCenter, College GameDay, College Football Live, NFL Live, NFL Countdown, Outside The Lines, World Cup, etc. She worked alongside some of the most famous sport journalists such as the beloved Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, Dan Patrick, John Anderson, Kirk Herbstreit, Kenny Mayne, Chris Berman and beyond. As Pooja wrapped up her days in Live TV, she had an Emmy Nomination, an iron confidence and the backing of some of the biggest sports household names in the world.
Pooja had her eyes set on the big city. She shifted from Production to working in Brand Marketing and moved from ESPN HQ in Bristol to New York City. Pooja worked on several campaigns during her time with ESPN brand including This is SportsCenter, College GameDay Football, College Football on ESPN, MLB on ESPN, and World Cup. Here she picked up her second Emmy nomination working on This is SportsCenter ads featuring aerobics enthusiast Richard Simmons, ESPN MLB analyst Karl Ravech, MLB star Jose Reyes and NFL star Adrian Peterson. She traveled often to sporting events and traveling studio shows learning the ins and outs of brand representation and the importance of protecting the brand as it becomes relevant to advertisers.
With this insight and a hunger to learn more, Pooja joined a team called Co-Marketing. Within this small, but powerful team, ESPN partnered with advertisers to develop cobranded creative that helped sell advertiser objectives through an ESPN lens. Pooja and this 10 person team saw the importance of the work they were doing and quickly shifted goals to develop a stronger and bigger team. Pooja was a founding member of the team CreativeWorks at ESPN. Under this umbrella group, Pooja’s former brand team was merged with her new team to develop a stronger more efficient group- CreativeWorks. CreativeWorks was one of the first network internal creative agencies developed. Partnering with ESPN CreativeWorks allows advertisers to a full service idea center that delivers compelling creative solutions, inspiring our fans to connect with brands. Pooja has lead collaborations with multimillion dollar spenders and top-level marketers such as Apple, Beats by Dre, GM, Ford, Nissan, Home Depot, Gatorade and McDonalds. Pooja is instrumental in strategizing, creating and executing work presenting ad revenue for ESPN.
Pooja’s office is bathed in a deep shade of scarlet and gray to represent her Ohio State roots. Don’t let her College fandom fool you, Pooja is a Chicago girl who grew up rapping The SuperBowl Shuffle, watching Ryne Sandberg play and saw Michael Jordan play for $8 bucks. It’s no wonder that she ended up working in sports – she has been surrounded by some of the all-time greats.
Beyond sports, Pooja prides herself as being a mother to an awesome two year old and as a black belt in creative thinking. She lives and breathes music, recently turned in her Brooklyn membership card when she traveled back home to Chicago and may or may not have been the reason that The Cubs broke their curse and won The World Series upon her return.
South Asians in Sports will be hosting it’s first networking event in downtown Chicago, Thursday September 21st! Meet with Chicago’s Sports Leaders from several areas of the industry. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.