Devils Marketing Head Jillian Frechette talks pandemic impact, Social Media and THOSE green jerseys
If you see a Devils' fan rocking the new Reverse Retro jersey around town, Jillian Frechette and her team spent over a year designing that in collaboration with their NHL partners at adidas and Devils' Hall of Fame Goaltender Martin Brodeur. Odds are you probably have seen a lot of them as it was one of the first Reverse Retro jerseys in the League to sell out.
"That was a wonderful project… we think about everything from the socks to the helmets to the crest," she explained.
Frechette is the Senior Vice President of Marketing - an all-encompassing job that sees her managing a big team of nearly 40… all from a distance.
"It's probably one of the bigger challenges I've had [in my career]."
She's referring to the global pandemic, and her front office team, including executives, marketing staff, content collaborators, game experience experts, and social media managers have been scattered across the state all safely working from home for the past 13 months.
"Certainly there's been frustration here and there, but we've been really fortunate to connect and be able to see each other on-screen daily," she added. "The fun part about work from home is little kids sneak on camera and you have a bit of a window into what your peer's life looks like on a daily basis and the challenges they might have."
Frechette jokes that she wonders what her nine-year-old daughter thinks about "office" dress code- a combination of yoga pants and running shoes with starched collared shirts some days, but says the bottom line is her kids see her working hard day in and day out, and she knows representation matters.
"People need to see that women can be both an executive and mother. It needs to be visible, that women can take and succeed in leadership roles."
Frechette joined the HBSE team in November 2018 after working for the Calgary Flames; one of the things that attracted her to the company was the number of women in leadership roles. Her experience in Calgary, in addition to her professional successes with Nike Canada, Saucony, and other leading sports brands, gave her insight into how women could make an organization better.
"I'm in great company and look up to a lot of those women I worked with. I'm very inspired by them and I find it very motivating to work alongside them."
Like many executives around the world of sports, Frechette was forced to regroup and conform to the 'new normal.' When there was a hard stop to the season last year, she and her digital team had to get creative to keep fans engaged and interested.
"We were live streaming simulated games- as we "played" our season with our roster through video games. That was a really fun time and it taught us we can be a little bit different and be a little bit braver and bolder," she explained. "On average for those 9 or 10 games, we had 35,000 fans tuning into our live stream and that was exciting and set the tone for us as we rolled through the many long months of a hockey void that we now call Covid."
Now that the abbreviated season is in full swing, Prudential Center recently opened its doors to 1,800 Devils fans - soon to be 3,600 - the only thing Frechette loves more than the smell of popcorn and french fries on a game day is the look of a jersey on a fan.
"Particularly little fans, and if those little fans happen to have a ponytail, that's awesome. I secretly have that emotional moment when I see that jersey is followed by a ponytail."
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