Unpopular Changes Made to Fan Relations Staff

When I started writing this blog my intention was to write about everything and anything related to the Fire.  In general I wanted to provide a place to find news, information, and discussion that wasn't provided anywhere through mainstream media outlets.  This post has nothing to do with the team's play, player additions, or coaching changes so indulge my rambling regarding an off field topic for a moment.

If you're a season ticket holder you may have received an email recently announcing some unfortunate releases to the Fire's Fans Relations staff.  An email entitled "A Look Towards the Future" announced the release of some members of the Fan Relations staff including Julie Jawor, Krista Stoddard, and Erika Heaney.  As a season ticket holder myself I can attest that my interactions with both Julie Jawor and Krista Stoddard were exceptional and both made every effort to address every question and concern that was posed to them over the course of the last several years. 

 

Julie Jawor in particular, was very accomodating, helpful, and energetic.  Her passion for the team and customer relations seemed genuine and refreshing.  Judging by the comments I've seen here and in other forums, I'm not alone in holding this opinion.  It's not often in professional sports that office employees such as Julie are recognized by fans and lamented in the manner shown over the last two days.  That alone should be an indication of the job she did in promoting the Fire and making the STH experience a favorable one. 

The loss of good employees is sometimes a casualty of difficult economic times and certainly none of us are informed enough regarding budgetary constraints or front office decisions related to reorganizing the sales staff in relation to the vision of a new team president to truly understand why the changes were made but as season ticket holders and paying customers you can voice your opinion.  If you haven't already emailed fan relations with concerns about your STH rep I can assure you that the Fire organization will see your comments here.  

2010 has been a disappointing year to say the least and this news certainly hasn't helped ease the frustrations felt by Season Ticket Holders and fans in general. 

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  • Guess you have to pay for those DPs somehow, at least it seems like these individuals you bring to our attention earned their pay this past year...

  • Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz on CJ Brown.....

    http://dailyherald.com/article/20101103/sports/711049932/

  • TFC hires Jurgen Klinsmann as a "consultant".....

    http://www.torontofc.ca/news/2010/11/toronto-fc-finalizes-klinsmann-deal

  • There goes Jurgen Klinsmann not being our coach...at least not now.
    Would love to see him come here!
    I wonder how much he travels to Toronto, he likes the warmth of living in Southern Cali I can attest I lived in Northern Cali but Southern has the best weather in the U.S.!
    Interesting him working with Preki if Preki in fact sticks around!
    He is a real hard ass and doesn't rub people the right way that Preki...or people would call him Pricky!!! LOL

  • In reply to smiley:

    Preki got the boot in Toronto already.

  • While it is sad for anyone to lose a job right now, do we know the season ticket retention rate and the number of season tickets and the number of staff over the past years? I just think it helps to know the whole picture.

  • In reply to lijien:

    This year's attendance is somewhat ahead of the previous year.
    The retention rate is determined by the quality of play and success
    on the field.
    Julie and Krista would be exceptional employees in any organization.
    (i don't know Erica, but she is probably as capable as well)
    The problem is that one can sell hamburger as filet mignon for so long
    until the customer catches on.
    Sales can take the MLS far, what they need to do is offer a competative and attractive product. They would be wise to put expansion on hold until they develop the weaker sisters of the league. What is frustrating is seeing the Fire be beaten out by teams with much lower attendance, but one has to wonder how long can some of these teams can survive given the financial losses year after year.
    The only reason the top European teams stay in business is through lucrative TV contracts
    and heavy corporate sponsorship.
    The NHL played decades with only six teams and managed to survive quite fine.
    The point is if an organization is trying to build customer loyalty, they don't fire
    the personnel that are most effective in developing this loyalty.
    This goes for the MLS as well as the Fire. If the league doesn't understand this they are being lead by amateurs and morons.

  • In reply to lijien:

    I agree that none of us are really fully informed on this decision. I can also attest to the fact that no matter how 'in the know' you are, no one really knows why these cuts were made except the ex-employees themselves and the powers that be. Unless they decide to shed some light on the decisions made, we'll never really know.

    But what I can say, as opinion, is that working with Julie and Krista (as both a STH and Section 8 Chicago board member) is that both were full of verve and exuberance for their job and building the club. Responsive and easy to work with, full of positive candor and a seemingly genuine love for what they did.
    It is unfortunate to see them go, and I am a little annoyed that we don't know why. Sometimes business decisions go against what we want personally, but I really can't see the logic in the decision. Unless it was simply economic and/or budget constraints, those two really couldn't be faulted for not relating to fans and/or dealing with STH's--so it could not have been a metrics thing. And if the club did fire them for some metrics issue, perhaps they should take a poll of those that were served by either of these fine ladies to see just what was going right, and what wasn't so they can amend their business practices accordingly. Even if the Fire couldn't retain their services, letting valued STH's, customers, and business partners know of the rationale would go a long way in not making this look as bad as it does.

    I am curious to see how they plan on building the club and the community around it while streamlining the business end--as it, right now, only seems to be a sad matter of $$ that has lead them to this regrettable decision. And that does not compel me to see the club growth in a positive way (at this moment)--and that is sad when some of your most supportive people question your motives.

    Both Krista and Julie will be missed, and it's another tough loss for those they worked with (both in-house and in general).

  • They've been reporting on footiebusiness.com about how the MLS has had some major sales training thing going on and all the graduates are moving on to clubs.

    http://footiebusiness.com/2010/11/03/soccer-business-bits-mls-sells-seats-broadcast-news-more/

    Don't know if it was existing employees that did the training or what. I don't know if this has anything to do with this move by the FO but there is some grand plan going on league-wide

  • I agree with you 100 percent with your statement.

  • WVHooligan takes a stab at the Fire's expansion protected list....

    http://wvhooligan.com/2010/11/04/2010-expansion-draft-list-chicago-fire/

  • Apparently WVHooligan hasn't seen Banner play, would rather protect Lowry than Banner.
    With our luck, no one would take Banner if unprotected.
    Otherwise he is pretty much on target.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Banner is horrible and yes Lowry is more worth having on this team than Mike Banner. Carr and Banner are USSF Division 2 material. WVHooligan said "Pause is the most underrated midfielder in the MLS." What games has he been watching. Pause buckles when someone puts pressure on him when he dribbles. They're are 8 to 9 defending midfielders in the MLS that are way better than Pause. I would hang on to Kinney and Dykstra (backup goalkeeper). Notice, he forgot to mention Ristic on that list.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Ristic would be a pretty big miss IMO.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I must be in the minority, but I didn't have that great an experience with these staff members. Sometimes they were very helpful, other times they weren't. I was a in section 107 with prepaid parking and was really quite surprised at the lack of service I got for how much money I spent. I actually didn't renew after last years dreadful home performances and am glad I didn't. Managed to go to a few games this year but I just can't face the traffic from the city knowing that my night will end in disappointment. The fact that very few of my concerns were ever addressed by the Fire didn't help.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    great finish to the NYRB v SJ match tonite

    NY dominates the game possession and shot-wise, and loses 3-1

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    San Jose scored against the run of play in the second half to really open it up.

  • How could this indoor team pick a stupid name like Riot ! Dont they know that the word riot is used all too often in describing soccer fans getting out of hand. And if that is not bad enough , it is named after past violence.

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