Citi’s Senior Vice President and Global Manager of Client Entertainment and Ticket Services (CEATS) and our INTIX 2020 Co-Chair is a proud husband, devoted father, avid golfer and lifelong Washington Redskins fan. Here, Danny reflects on playing his favorite sport, the artist he’s loved since childhood, wearing a top hat and tails during a royal day at the races, and why you must be at INTIX 2020 in New York City.
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Who do you admire most and why?
My parents. They have always been supportive of me and what I want to do in my career. They were tremendous role models in showing me how to be a parent to my child, what it means to be family and what it means to have a strong work ethic. My parents instilled the importance of religion, faith and tradition, which is an important part of our entire family. They have always been about caring for others and giving back to those in need, and they continue to do that now even in their retirement. I admire them for the values they’ve instilled in me and in our family. They’ve been examples of how to live my life in the best way possible.
Danny's mom Judy, dad Jerry, wife Susan and Danny celebrating Jerry's 81st birthday.
What is the quality you like most in a person?
To be themselves, have fun, be truthful, enjoy life and not take things too seriously.
What is the quality you most like in a colleague?
The ability to work together and provide honest feedback to each other. It is important to get along well, to be truthful, and to have the ability to take and give constructive criticism. I also value having relationships where you are kind of like family. Things are never perfect with colleagues, just like things are never perfect with family. So, when things happen and you disagree, you can have a knockdown argument, but then a few hours later, you’re back to being brothers and sisters. In the end, we’re all working for the same goal.
What qualities are important to you in a leader?
Good leaders hire the best people and then get out of the way and let them do their thing. There is nothing worse than a micromanager. Good leaders are quarterbacks for their teams. Also, never ask anyone to do anything you would not do yourself.
What do you value most in your friends?
Loyalty, camaraderie and the ability to have fun, talk about sports, family or experiences, and just do things together. You always know who your friends are when the chips are down.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
In the “who” part, it’s my wife and daughter. My wife Susan and I have been married for 21 years, and we’ve known each other for 23. She is everything I could ever want in a best friend, supporter, spouse and life partner. Our daughter, Rachel, who is 16 and will be a junior in high school this fall, is our world, and we will do anything that we can do for her. In terms of the “what,” since I was 7, my greatest love above anything else has been Washington Redskins football.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to play scratch golf; that would be phenomenal. Golf is my second love behind the Redskins. It would also be pretty damn cool to play the piano like Billy Joel or Elton John.
Rachel, Danny and Jerry at a Redskins game this past season.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement of all is hopefully Rachel saying that I have been and am a great dad. After that, really nothing else matters. But, if we’re talking professionally, I’ve been fortunate to have had a great career and feel like every stop along the way has surpassed the last. When I got my first job at the Georgia Dome, I thought that was the ultimate job. Then an amazing opportunity came my way in New York with the NHL, and I thought it could not get any better than working at the league office; it was a dream job. Then I got this job at Citi 12 years ago, which I never thought would have been in my career path, and it has been unbelievable. Yet, when I look back on the number of years I’ve been in this industry, I think my greatest achievement lies in the relationships I’ve established, the friends in the industry that I’ve made along the way, and being recognized by my peers as a true leader and influencer in the ticketing industry. To be honest, all those things are much greater than any professional achievement in any job that I’ve ever had.
Where would you most like to live?
In a place that has all the important elements: family, friends, community, great golf, a beach for my wife and the Redskins in close proximity instead of the 225 miles I now drive to see them. But, ultimately, it will be wherever Rachel is, which she knows must have golf and a beach.
Danny with friends Mitch, Pete and JP at the famous island par 3, hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
What is your most treasured possession?
My grandfather’s diamond ring. It was something he literally never took off. My dad was his only son, so when my grandfather passed away, my dad got his ring. My parents gave it to me when I graduated college, and it is something that our family and I treasure. I really only wear it on special occasions. It is nice to know he is there at those occasions with us, and I know it makes my dad happy to see it. I was also able to get two ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) football championship rings when I was with Maryland football as an undergrad. They can’t compare to a Super Bowl or World Series ring, but they are pretty cool.
What’s the best live event you’ve ever seen and why?
I have a couple. Not that they were the best, but having been to two Super Bowls with my dad when the Redskins won was certainly special. Keep in mind I was an adult by then, but it was just like I was a little kid. No matter how old you are, you can’t beat going to those games with your dad. My dad just turned 81 this year and is healthy and “young” enough to still go to games with me on Sundays. So, while our team is not very good, still being able to go with him to games, and to take my daughter with us, too, honestly makes these games the best events I get to attend.
But, in terms of spectacle, my family had a chance to go to the Royal Ascot races in London a few years ago. It was incredible to be there in top hats, tails, elegant dresses and fancy hats while watching the queen and her chariots go down the straightaway in horse-drawn carriages, with all the pomp and circumstances that the Brits do better than anyone else. It was one of the top sporting events I’ve ever been to. Combining sport and tradition, you can’t beat it. On that same trip, we also went to Wimbledon two days later, which after having watched it so many years on TV, was incredible. It exceeded all expectations. Then on this side of the pond, if you’re a golf person and you’ve never been to Augusta, there’s no other golf tournament that will ever come close. It is the mecca of all golf, period.
Susan, Rachel and Danny at the Royal Ascot Races in 2014.
What is your favorite venue and why?
My favorite venue doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. It was the home of the Redskins and where I went to my first football game with my dad in 1972. That place would rock unlike any other football stadium I’ve ever been to before. It closed in 1997, and if you ask anyone from Washington, there will never be a football stadium like it in D.C. for a team ever again. There are prettier, more glorious, more luxurious stadiums, but there will never be another RFK.
Who is your favorite musician or band of all time and why?
From a musical standpoint, I really run the gamut. I go from traditional to heavy metal to all different kinds of genres, but Elton John has been my all-time favorite since I was a kid.
What is your favorite place to visit or place you’d love to visit and why?
It’s not even close, Israel is phenomenal. I would go every year if I could and spend summers there. Our daughter Rachel is there for five weeks of her 2019 summer, and my wife and I are extremely jealous. Whether you’re Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, atheist or otherwise, Israel is just a magical country with so much history and wonderful people. It’s gorgeous, it has everything to offer and it’s amazing. Everyone should have it on the top of their bucket list places to visit.
Danny, Rachel and Susan in front of the Citi Chalet at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
First, be more patient. Second, listen to others more and take the advice of those who have experience. Finally, mistakes are learning opportunities, so learn more from your mistakes.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Play golf, go bike riding and spend time with my daughter.
If you were granted three wishes today, what would they be?
The first would be that my daughter gets accepted to the University of Maryland (which is where I went, so GO TERPS!), as it is her first choice of school, is successful and graduates. Number two would be that my wife and I have financial security and good health for the rest of our lives. And number three would be for three more wishes.
Danny and Rachel at a University of Maryland basketball game in March 2019.
What brings you the most joy or greatest meaning in life?
My daughter, friends, family, whenever the Redskins win on Sundays, birdies, eagles and breaking 85 on the golf course.
Why are you a member of INTIX?
Because it’s important and because of the people. It’s important because this is the organization where those in the ticketing industry can find their brothers and sisters to talk to, relate to and with whom they can speak the same language. If you’re a member of this industry, this is where you need to be. I’ve been a member for 26 years, ever since I first found out about what was then BOMI (Box Office Management International). In those 26 years, there’s never been a day that I ever considered not being a member. This is where the ticketing community is, and if you want to be part of the ticketing community, you need to be a member of INTIX.
What do you get from INTIX?
Support, camaraderie, friendships, professional advice and mentorship.
How do you use INTIX?
To develop professionally, network, develop friendships and to keep up on what’s new within this industry.
What does INTIX give you that is different from everything else you are doing?
I think INTIX is different because it’s the only place I can go where people speak the language that this industry speaks. It’s hard for people to fathom what a ticketing guy like me is doing working for a bank. I never imagined working in a bank to begin with, but when I talk with people who are my colleagues at INTIX, I’m not talking rates, mortgages, stocks and things like that. We’re talking ticketing, industry trends, hard tickets, soft tickets, digital tickets and mobile tickets — that’s the kind of industry speak that I speak. INTIX is where I can go to find my people.
Do you look to INTIX to learn about trends or develop relationships?
Both. Whether you’re new to the ticketing industry and a new member at INTIX who is thinking about going to the conference for the first time or you’ve been five, 10, 20 times or more, this is the place to learn. It’s the place to learn about trends. This is where the trends are developed. These are the people who are developing those trends.
In terms of relationships, there are many I developed at my first INTIX conference that have lasted to this day. These are some of my closest friends in the industry. There’s no other place like it to meet people within this industry. Come to the conference; it’s where you are going to meet the people to develop those relationships. You will find that they will turn out to be lifelong friends.
Who is your mentor?
I don’t have a single mentor, but I’ve had a few mentors along the way.
When I was a student at Maryland, the person who gave me my start in ticketing was Jeff Hathaway. Jeff ran the ticket office in the athletic department and told me that if I want to work in sports, the best place to start is the ticket office because that’s where the money comes in. He said if you know where the money comes in, you’ve got a head start on everything else. Jeff gave me my start in the industry, so I owe my career to him.
Another mentor along the way was at my job in Atlanta: the general manager of the building, Khalil Johnson. He had started off as a building services professional, setting up chairs and tables for events, worked his way up to an event planner, then to head of event services and ultimately to the general manager position. If he says, “I’ve done it before, and I started off doing it,” you can take him at his word that he’s done it. He’s very well respected in the industry and someone I have looked up to.
Karen Sullivan who was at MetLife Stadium was instrumental in providing support when I was starting off in the industry. There have also been others who I have been friends with along the way.
Bill McNamee was the person who gave me the opportunity at Citi and was someone who I learned a great deal from, respected and with whom I had a very close relationship. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago from cancer, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him while I am at work. My current manager, Danielle Jennings, is also someone that I learn a lot from. She allows me the freedom to grow and develop in this job, and I know she is always there to lend support when needed.
Danny and Susan at the Barnstable Brown Party the night before the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
Who or what inspires you?
The ability to do the right things and make things happen. I love it when we connect things to make someone’s experience — whether it’s at a game or an event — memorable, and they truly appreciate the fact that they were able to attend. Being able to put a smile on someone’s face because they had a great time. It is also rewarding when we get emails from our Citi colleagues who we have helped with tickets or an event and they have a great experience with their clients that leads to more business; that really is what inspires me. Here at Citi, we always want to be the best for our clients.
What do you love most about your job?
It allows me to do a lot of different things. I love that my manager and my bosses allow me to do my thing and allow me to grow. I love that I have a great network of senior executives that I’ve developed relationships with more than your average individual at our company. I love that I am respected for what I can do at Citi and that I’ve been able to establish our ticketing department from scratch and grow it into a leader within the financial services industry.
For those who are wondering why a bank has a ticketing team, let me share a bit about what we do at Citi CEATS, which stands for “client entertainment and ticketing services.” We are a centralized department that manages all of the company’s season tickets, luxury boxes and individual ticket purchases. Our department also manages our golf memberships and does boutique events at major sporting events.
What do you love most about our industry?
The people. It wouldn’t be anything without the people. I love the fact that it is a fraternity or sorority of people who, no matter what, have each other’s back. I love that you can pick up the phone, introduce yourself as a fellow INTIX member and say, “Can you help me out?” Inevitably, the answer is, “Absolutely; if you’re a member of INTIX, I’m happy to do so.” It’s an industry that cares about its members and its members care about each other. I think this is the heart and soul of our industry.
What is your most memorable career moment?
I’ve been fortunate in my career to have a ton of memorable career moments. I’ve worked on Super Bowls; I was at the Olympics in 1996; and I’ve been to almost every sporting event there is in the world because of my job, so it’s hard to pick one. In terms of personal career moments, I would say one of the days was when I got to play Augusta National. That was pretty cool. Also, back in May, I hosted a client event down at a golf course outside Baltimore called Caves Valley, where we have a membership. It just so happened that after we were done playing, President Obama was on the driving range warming up for his round later that afternoon. I know one of his former cabinet members, so I figured I had an in. I went over and introduced myself and he came over, took his hat off, shook my hand and chatted with me for a few minutes. It was incredible. As my manager Danielle would say, those were both, “I love my job” kind of days. But if you ask my mom, she’ll say her most memorable moment was when I got her Barbra Streisand tickets back in the late 1990s.
Danny, Susan and Rachel at the 2019 NFL Alumni Super Bowl pre-game party after Danny won this truck in a putting contest.
What is your most memorable INTIX moment?
I have two. The first was in 2010 when Karen Sullivan won the Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award, for which I nominated her. Early on in my career, at the Georgia Dome back in 1992, whenever there was something that we had a question on, my general manager always said, “If you don’t know how to do it, call another stadium. Call the Meadowlands.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I would call Karen. She answered hundreds of my questions without ever giving me a hard time. Always with a smile, always with patience. I will never forget that. To that point, I always pay it forward by helping others who have questions. That’s what we do at INTIX.
My other memorable INTIX moment is when Linda Forlini won the Lifetime Achievement Award this past year. There is no one who will ever better represent what INTIX is all about than Linda. To say her recognition was overdue is a complete understatement. I think everybody who was there when she won was just so happy to see her finally being recognized. I can’t think of a better moment at any conference I have attended. Of all the people who have won that award, and for all the people who will ever win that award from now on, there is nobody who will ever be as deserving or who will embody the spirit of this organization as much as Linda, period. So, I am not sure that moment will ever be surpassed.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
If you haven’t attended an INTIX conference in the past and you are thinking about attending, there is no better time or opportunity than coming to New York City in January 2020. While it’s not a tropical paradise in terms of weather, there is so much that New York has to offer in terms of the city, entertainment, nightlife, restaurants, shopping and more.
On top of that, your INTIX 2020 co-chairs are working hard with Maureen to make sure this conference is different in a number of ways. We have new ideas that we are looking to implement that will make it even more fun than ever before. We’ll still have the same incredible opportunities to learn and grow professionally, but when there is time to have fun, we want to do it in different ways. With that, we hope you will register and come join us for one of the very best INTIX conferences that we’ve ever hosted.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @dmfrank7 or Instagram @dmfrank7httr.