For as long as she can remember, Heather Blackwood, ’07, has loved racing.
“My dad is a race fan, so racing was something we bonded over,” Blackwood explained. As she got older, this pastime became a career she wanted to pursue.
At Meredith, she found ways to incorporate her interest into her classes while she gained the skills needed to make that goal a reality.
“My business classes allowed me the opportunity to share my passion for motorsports,” Blackwood said. “I remember completing projects about the cost of sponsorships throughout racing. I think I opened some minds in my classes about how that form of marketing is very appealing to Fortune 500 companies.”
Blackwood supplemented her class work with internships in the field. “I was fortunate to do an internship at Charlotte Motor Speedway soon after graduating, and that opened a lot of doors for me,” she said.
Her career has taken her to Richmond International Raceway, where she worked in corporate sales. She then worked for an agency that handled NASCAR projects for Toyota. Her tasks included managing catering, driver appearances, and other VIP experiences for special guests.
She is now the client services manager at World Racing Group (WRG), the premier sanctioning body for dirt track racing in the U.S. and Canada. WRG manages more than 5,000 races annually at 120 tracks. Blackwood’s primary focus is on Sprint Car, Late Model, and Super DIRTcar series.
“I love seeing the final product — the race itself — come to fruition,” Blackwood said. “My role now is very grassroots. When I go to an event, I’m hanging banners and handing out decal kits to teams.”
The most challenging part of her job is not repeating things that have been done previously, and meeting the needs of her clients.
“My group of clients now is different from any other I’ve dealt with,” Blackwood said. “They don’t want fancy things, so I’m tasked with coming up with ideas that aren’t too extravagant but that still show a worthy return to these clients.”
Blackwood, who wants to someday work for NASCAR’s partnership marketing team, credits Meredith College with putting her career on the right track.
“My decision to attend Meredith was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The skills and confidence I developed are making a difference in my career,” Blackwood said. “I believe if I hadn’t attended Meredith I wouldn’t be where I am today.”