Women of the HEAT: Lya Abad
Years at the HEAT: 14
What has been your experience as a woman working in professional sports?
I’ve been a football and basketball fan since college, therefore working at the HEAT is a dream come true. The HEAT organization does a phenomenal job at hiring and promoting women into leadership roles. I must admit, as a woman, it felt intimidating starting off in a male-dominated field. However I soon realized that my voice mattered and my work ethic was being recognized.
Being in finance in the sports industry, how do you manage a day-to-day that’s constantly changing?
Change is constant. Once that’s understood, accepting change with a positive attitude will eventually lead to reaching our organization’s vision. In order to make something work, effectively, you need to have the right team to help you succeed. Thankfully, I do.
In your opinion, what role do women play in our much talked about “HEAT Culture?”
The HEAT culture is a strong one. There is a reason why I’ve been working here for 14 years. I feel appreciated and I’m happy. Diversity, inclusion and equality are all important to me on a personal level, so the fact that this organization tackles all three areas, makes the HEAT Culture the backbone of employee loyalty. The opportunity to have a voice and be professionally respected feeds my motivation to succeed.
What has evolved for you personally as a result of the pandemic within your role?
With the pandemic came an adjustment period in my life where I had to learn how to juggle a series of tasks that I normally wouldn’t have to address during my work hours. Although the first few months were a challenge, I quickly shifted my thought process towards how I could balance family and work instead of resisting change.
What’s something you’ve done to take care of your mental health this year?
Be more present and slow down.
A moment in time where you thought, “Wow, I have a cool job.”
The validation came when I received my first Championship ring in 2012. It was a cool feeling to realize that this ring represented an organization’s hard work, discipline and passion and that one day it could be worn by one of my sons.
Have you had any strong female leaders? If so, how do you think that shaped you?
Throughout my whole life, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by strong females who have taught me the importance of work ethic, respect and discipline. As a working mother, these learned traits have molded me into the woman I am today.
If there’s one thing you would tell your younger self, what would it be?
Use your voice, write your own story and remember success doesn’t happen overnight. Your time will come.
For your job, how important is it for you to know the game of basketball, or even be a fan?
Accounting is Accounting is Accounting. Concepts and numbers never change, but being a fan of the industry makes a huge difference.
One piece of advice you’d offer to a woman looking to break into the sports/entertainment world.
“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them”