SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 4, 2014

Topsfield executive runs the show at TD Garden

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — TOPSFIELD — Since the fall of 2012, TD Garden President Amy Latimer has been overseeing day-to-day operations when the Celtics or Bruins play, or when ice shows, concerts, sporting events or other attractions come to Beantown.

Latimer, a sports fan who played college hoops, said she loves running the Boston sports mecca, despite the challenges.

Having worked at the arena since 1995, she’s ridden the ups and downs with the Celtics and Bruins — and found the ride much more fun when they are winning, as the Celtics did in 2008 and the Bruins in 2011.

“First of all, it’s a great place to work, to host two great Boston sports teams, the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics,” she said. But there’s more to it than that. The Garden also plans to host the Frozen Four, the NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey tournament, and the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.

With the variety of events, no two days are alike.

“I can come in one day, it would be a Bruins game, and the next day, it could by Miley Cyrus,” Latimer said. Family shows bring out little girls in costume. Live music can bring out a diverse bunch.

She can’t be at every event, of course, but she makes the rounds beforehand and says she has a great staff to help her out.

“I’m here for the majority of Bruins games and many of the Celtics games,” Latimer said.

With the Bruins postseason having come to an end all too soon this spring, the Topsfield resident is now going to work in Boston amid the sound of jackhammers as she oversees a two-year, $70 million “extreme makeover” of TD Garden as it approaches its 20th anniversary.

The Legends Club will be expanded and given a new look. There will be a new pro shop, refurbished and redesigned concourses, and upgraded technology throughout.

Latimer wasn’t in the sports industry before coming to Boston with her husband, Jody, with whom she has three school-age sons who play a variety of sports. She worked in fundraising in Washington, D.C., before being hired as a consultant for the opening of the arena. Shortly thereafter, she became director of marketing.

“I just worked my way up from that,” Latimer said.

Latimer does have a background in sports. She attended the University of Rhode Island, where she earned a political science degree on a full basketball scholarship, and she was a starting player her junior and senior years. She was also the team’s captain.

Before becoming TD Garden’s president, she spent six seasons as senior vice president of sales and marketing, overseeing all sales and marketing strategies for the Bruins and TD Garden.

Sports Business Journal named her a “game changer” in 2011. Before that, she launched the arena’s first e-Business department in 1998. She then became vice president of ticketing.

Latimer has also taken part in the arena’s charitable work, serving as executive director of Garden Neighborhood Charities, the arena’s philanthropic arm. She serves on the board of Good Sports, which provides equipment to sports organizations that can’t afford it.

On Monday, she was one of 10 women honored by Strong Women, Strong Girls, a mentoring program for girls in low-income communities.

She does have something to tell young women, she said. Sports taught her a lot: how to multitask, work with others, work under pressure, work with a team, follow directions and lead.

“Sometimes, you have to work with a person you don’t like,” Latimer said.

She has spoken at the Dream Big! Leadership Conference, which aims to empower young women through sports.

“There’s a lot of bright, very competent women out there,” but more of them need to ask for the job or role to get ahead, Latimer said.

“It’s OK,” Latimer said. “You are not being pushy. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.