Whitney Holtzman just might be Tampa's "Biggest Fan"
If you're talking to Whitney Holtzman and drop the name of someone in sports, there's a good chance she's met them, traveled with them, or represents them.
"I have my hand in a lot of different things, but [my main focus] is my company, Social Victories, and I began it as a social media/marketing consulting for leaders in the sports world."
But that changed when she realized that many of the pro athletes she was working with didn't have plans for their careers beyond sports.
Whitney with client Cameron Lynch
"I think the growth [of the company] is two-fold. I was focused on marketing in the beginning but got to know the athletes really well, and I had a panicked feeling. There were all these people around them that helped them get to the pros, but no one to guide them to build that 'second career'."
Social Victories has grown into a business platform with a purpose to help pro athletes develop their careers off the field, build brands, and become "the best versions of themselves".
Her job is more relevant than ever during a time when COVID-19 has many athletes sitting on the sidelines.
"I want to help them maximize their time during the spotlight. That time can end at any moment, and when they're done, they don't know what to do with themselves. But that transition is easier if you've thought about it. If you've been planning."
"The people I was working with had agents, but there was no one proactively vouching for them, telling their stories, and creating opportunities on their behalf."
Working with Whitney, most athletes find, is having someone in their corner who is genuinely excited about them and proud of the people they are.
After graduating from the University of Florida, Whitney worked with the Tampa Bay Rays, ESPN (later assisting in the building and launch of espnW), MLB, and VaynerMedia. Although her work took her all over the country, she knew she'd settle back in Tampa.
"I always say 'Tampa just gets me'. When I was growing up, I was around so many people, I got to do so many great activities outside, and I loved being here. I was in Manhattan for a few years and I kept thinking 'There's no place like Tampa'. When I was working in MLB I was always wearing my Rays gear and everyone said I should work in PR for the city because I just think it has all the amenities of a big city but with the ease of a small town. You can't beat that.".
We have all the amenities of a big city but with the ease of a small town. You can't beat that.
Her background is impressive, and with experience like hers, you'd likely expect someone distant and inaccessible, but the opposite is true.
In fact, when she launched her book "You are the First You", she had several promotional events planed, but then COVID hit, and those plans were thwarted.
"This city rose to the occasion. I put one post "The book is here" and the community really showed up. I think I sold 200 books just from people Venmo-ing me and other cash apps to show support."
And then she delivered them-- all of them-- by hand.
The gesture is one of many that demonstrates her commitment and connection to the people in the city she loves so much.
While Whitney often travels for work, her Instagram is filled with pictures of her attending friends' weddings, enjoying the river with her family, or standing behind-the-scenes as one of her clients gives a major interview.
It is a testament to the balance she says is so important.
She is career-driven, but she really thrives on the power of family.
"I am friends and family first. It's so funny that the career side [of my goals] has worked out because in college I didn't know if it would work out. I just knew I wanted a family, and I know that will happen in its own time.. but it's such a big priority for me. And that's something in the scheme of talking about my business that people don't get to hear about . But anything that comes up career-wise, it will take a back seat [to family]. "
Whitney has given presentations for some of the largest corporations in the country, worked with heavy-hitters, and is continually building an impressive Rolodex.
But at the end of the day, she'll always be a Tampa girl rooting for the home team.
What would you say is "Tampa's Best Kept" secret?
Our growing sports community is still very much under the radar. We have three pro sports teams, USL soccer, minor league baseball, a ton of athletes who live here in the off-season, there's also no income tax. Tom Brady is here and the SuperBowl is here and Jeffrey Vinik of the Lightning is so entrepreneurial.
We're underrated not only as a place to live but as a sports hub. Tampa has become an epicenter of all major sports. People should really keep an eye on us-- especially people who want to work in the sports world.