Denver Nuggets celebrate Women's Empowerment Month: Jana Holden

by Kerry Anne Keogh

From intern to director, Jana Holden has done it all at Kroenke Sports and Entertainment.

Currently serving as the Director of Partnership Marketing Activation, Holden has been with the Denver Nuggets organization for 15+ years, starting as the game entertainment intern back in 2006. Since then, Holden has also held different titles within the ticket sales, hospitality, and partnership marketing departments before landing her current role. 

"I am proud that I have been in the shoes of all of my staff members, from our interns all of the way up to our senior account managers," Holden told Nuggets.com. "I feel like this really helps me assist them in their day-to-day duties and ultimately be an efficient and relatable boss."

Holden attended the University of Colorado from 2005 to 2009 receiving her bachelor's degree in marketing. She cherished her years spent in Boulder, learning valuable life lessons. "The biggest way that CU directly helped me in my career is that they encouraged us to do so many internships, which ultimately helped me land my internships with KSE."

"The rest is history from there," she joked.

Originally from Minnesota, Holden grew up watching hockey and joined team KSE as someone who followed the NHL closer than the NBA, but quickly fell in love with the Nuggets.  

"The Nuggets run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009 really sticks out as a fond memory for me," she said. "I remember those games so vividly and ever since I have learned to love and appreciate basketball so much more and obviously have turned into a die-hard Nuggets fan!"

Most recently, Holden was an integral member of the team that coordinated the new arena naming rights deal. It ultimately led to the incredible and innovative new partnership between the Nuggets, KSE, and Ball Corporation.

"Naming rights is something that not many people in the sponsorship world can say they've been a part of, as this opportunity does not come up very often. It was truly a team effort on so many levels and I feel honored to have been a part of the process since day one." 

The previous naming rights deal, Pepsi Center, had been in place since the building opened over 20 years ago. In a similarly trailblazing fashion, it was also pitched in 1999 by two women within the organization, Charlotte Grahame, Vice President of Hockey Operations at the Avalanche, and the Vice President of Basketball Administration of the Nuggets, Lisa Johnson. Holden has been inspired by both amazing women. 

"I have so much respect for both Charlotte Grahame and Lisa Johnson for their incredible contributions to the Avs and Nuggets," Holden said. "They both have been here since the beginning' and I love that they both spent the majority of their careers here at KSE."

She added, "On a more personal note, I am constantly inspired and in awe of my boss, Camille Hammond. She is a single mother of twins who makes balancing a demanding career and motherhood look easy. I admire her strength, patience, and grace so much. She also has incredible style."  

READ MORE: Nuggets celebrate Women's Empowerment Month: Camille Hammond

As for Holden's professional style, she attributes success to having confidence in both her opinions and abilities. 

"Don't apologize when you haven't done something wrong," she advised. "Speak up and don't be silent when you have something to say. But, remember that when you're talking, you're not listening."

Holden also shared these words of advice for other women currently working at KSE and those looking to break into the sports industry. 

"Working toward your dream career in sports takes a lot of patience," she said. "There are limited roles in this field and opportunities are far and few between. However, if you work the hardest and are patient, I've found you'll eventually find yourself in a place where you can continue advancing." 

There is a lot that needs to be executed behind the scenes to make the magic happen at sporting events and cultivate an enjoyable experience for the fans. Being a part of the team off the court excites Holden. 

"Sports are an amazing example of people uniting, celebrating, and working toward a common goal, but the thing that has kept me at KSE for so long is the people at the organization," she said. "The people in my department are my second family. We laugh, we cry, we spend nights, weekends, and holidays together. We celebrate marriages, babies, and grandbabies."

"We may not agree on everything all the time, but we have so much fun together and genuinely have everyone's best interests at heart and that's the most important thing."

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