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New Marketing Manager Sicard Ready To “Find Out What The Core Wants”
Mary Sicard isn’t a disc golfer – yet. But that didn’t stop the Professional Disc Golf Association’s newest hire from wanting to go toe-to-toe on the course with Executive Director Joe Chargualaf, who has been playing for nearly 30 years.
“He’s going to take me out and introduce me and walk me through the sport,” Sicard said. Then she added, with a laugh: “I think I’ve already challenged Joe [to a round] at one of the meetings we’re going to be at.”
That intrepid spirit – plus a resume that boasts almost two decades of in-depth marketing experience – helped Sicard stand out from a field of more than 60 applicants. She officially starts as the organization’s new marketing manager on April 18.
A self-described “Army brat” who hails from San Antonio but now makes her home in Augusta, Georgia, Sicard comes from a successful eight-year tenure with Ingersoll Rand’s Club Car, a leading manufacturer of golf carts and other commercial utility vehicles. Her strengths lie in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing, and she brings with her a long list of successful campaigns and strategies. She has also founded numerous small businesses, including a digital marketing firm where she built and maintained websites and focused on search engine optimization for 15 years.
An avid tennis player who has captained numerous United States Tennis Association teams in Georgia since 2000, she saw the words “rapidly developing international sports organization” in the PDGA’s hiring post earlier this year and jumped at the chance.
“I love organized sports, and when I saw the opportunity posted I knew it was probably once in a lifetime,” Sicard said. “When you look at it, you’ve got a growing sport. I’m someone who absolutely loves the outdoors, I’m athletic.”
Sicard sees her mission with the organization now as two-fold: She wants to continue to honor disc golf’s heritage as part of defining the PDGA’s brand while making the membership experience a “top priority.” And she plans to do that by adopting many of the skills she has acquired from the corporate sphere.
“Even as a non-profit, you must adopt the for-profit brand-building practices,” Sicard said, “and that’s what I bring to the table.”
Chargualaf is excited to have Sicard come aboard and is confident she will have an immediate impact on the organization.
“We were extremely impressed with the depth and breadth of Mary’s marketing experience, and I can’t wait to see how she applies it for the PDGA and disc golf as a whole,” Chargualaf said. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to promote the sport and attract new sponsors, and she comes to us with a proven track record of success in these areas. I’m especially looking forward to introducing her to disc golf and seeing the smile on her face when she realizes the amazing product she gets to work with as part of the PDGA team.”
Elaine King represented the PDGA Board of Directors on a selection panel comprised of Chargualaf, Director of Operations Mike Downes, Technology Director Steve Ganz, and Tour Manager Andrew Sweeton. She said Sicard’s experience in tennis and her ability to organize players on a grassroots level will translate well to the position.
“I think she had a true understanding of the type of athletic organization that we are,” King said. “I think she has a good appreciation of a big demographic [section] of our players, which are people in the Masters and older divisions, people who play locally but are really interested in the overall organization. Almost all of our players play locally.”
Though she is new to the sport, Sicard said that puts her in a unique position. She’ll “ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening” as she learns the ins and outs of disc golf, but she also knows she brings plenty of value as an outsider.
“The beauty of it also is I have marketed everything from slurry pumps to a blues festival. There’s no great magic to it,” Sicard said. “It’s a matter of getting in there and finding out what the core is and what the core wants.
“I think that’s what I bring to the table, is I don’t have tunnel vision.”
She might need it when she hits the course, though.
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