Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight: Christina Vasquez
In the third installment of our Kings.com series for Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight, we sat down with Director of Ticket Operations Christina Vasquez as she discussed her heritage and her journey to where she is today.
How would you describe your role with the Sacramento Kings?
“Tickets, tickets and more tickets! You guessed it, my role mainly consists of managing tickets and inventory for everyone in the Kings organization: coaches, players, Front Office, executives, Team Members, Community Impact, etc. In addition, I also manage requests for clients outside our organization: NBA League office personnel (referees, visiting teams, VIPs, etc), prospecting clients, etc. I basically work with every single department in our organization to help facilitate all ticketing needs.”
“I also have some job duties in which I work closely with our Finance department with regards to ticketing revenue and audits.”
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
“I enjoy the interaction I have with everyone the most, especially my fellow Team Members! I do whatever it takes to help them with all their requests for clients and themselves. I know how hard everyone works for this company regardless of any situation we encounter."
“Since I oversee all ticket requests, I’m able to get to know each of my fellow Team Members on a professional and personal level, which we’ve been able to share so many laughs, tears and cheers! I love it when they accomplish their work goals, because I know I had a small part in making it happen for them. We work together and always find a way to do what’s best for all situations and requests.”
In what ways do you celebrate your Latinx heritage?
“FOOD! I love all the foods that come from so many Latinx/Hispanic cultures. I have friends from all backgrounds and culture so depending on what type of food I’m craving (Spanish, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.) I will go visit that friend!”
“However, my all-time favorite food is Mexican (surprise) since I grew up eating that daily! There are so many different recipes depending if you’re from the old country, new age, or fusion style…they’re all great! Holidays are the best because that’s tamale season!”
How would you characterize your journey to where you are today?
“Oh my, where do I start? In a nutshell, my journey: three ownership groups, three arena name changes, one beautiful new arena, two lockouts, a seven-year sellout streak, many exciting playoff games (and heartbreaks), a couple relocation attempts, several protests, and a pandemic.”
“As you can see, my journey has been quite long and consists of 23 years and still going strong with this organization…and I absolutely love it! Since I’m a straightforward person and don’t take no for an answer that’s helped me in every aspect of my career. When I started at the Kings, I applied for the Ticket Sales Receptionist position and did NOT get the job (to be fair someone got it that they already knew). Nonetheless, I say this proudly, because I didn’t stop there, I just said, ‘ok, what other position can I apply for? An internship? I’ll do anything and learn anything.’ That was July of 1996, the year we were notified about getting the first WNBA team, the Sacramento Monarchs, so it was pretty exciting.”
“Ticket Sales hired me as an intern, so I stuffed envelopes, made cold calls (not exciting) and basically did whatever they asked and just kept learning. I even ventured out and helped other departments. Seven months later, I applied for an accounting position and was hired in February of 1997. I was told my work ethic really sealed the deal for me out of all the applicants who had more experience and education. I worked in the Accounting department for a couple years or so until a new position was created to manage tickets and inventory, which is the one I’m basically in today. Since it was a new position, there were a lot of trials and many mistakes that I made, but I learned so much and haven’t stopped. I’m always open to change, which has really helped me grow my position and myself.”
“So, the only real question is, how can one possibly go through all this and be as young as I am?! My journey continues…”
What challenges do you think confront Latinx in the United States today?
“Essential skilled workers, Immigration reform, DACA, ICE/Detention centers and many others are the challenges we face as a culture. The more educated people get about these important topics, I can’t imagine the world would not be a better place. The lack of reverence the Latinx/Hispanic culture gets is so disappointing to me.”
“Take the farm workers for instance, these ARE essential SKILLED workers through pandemic, fires, heat waves, horrible air quality, freezing temps (in some part of the country) and yet, many do not get the PPE they need just to do their jobs and they literally feed us! Every time we eat any kind of meal, the chances are highly likely that an essential worker picked, sorted, harvested and grew the food for us with the skills they have.”
What advice would you offer fellow Latinos/Latinas/Latinx who are striving to succeed in the sports and entertainment industry?
“My best advice is to always, always, always ask questions when the opportunity presents itself. This is my favorite thing to do and this is how I learn. Once given a chance, take it on full force. Realize your goal and learn all aspects of your position so you can learn to be proactive. The key is to learn to anticipate what will come up next and what the solutions can be, because something always comes up.”
“Have confidence in yourself, even if you don’t have the answers or the experience and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. What you don’t know, learn; what you want to learn, do. Nothing and nobody can stop you from learning, especially today with access to the world, literally. And finally, persevere like we’ve always done as a culture. We’ve never been afraid of hard work and long hours. We do whatever it takes.”
Why is it important for members of the Latinx community to vote in the upcoming election?
“Everything is a trickledown effect so we must be smart and educated with all the information and the options we have this coming election at every level! When people say to me, ‘why even vote, it hasn’t done any good?’ My response is that changes don’t happen overnight and can take a lot of time, but it’s more likely changes will NOT happen if you don’t vote! Voting is a powerful tool that we have access to use all because of the many people before us who made it possible. Opportunities given to us should never be wasted.”