The Big Thinker: Monica Paul

Monica Paul

Monica Paul
Executive Director, Dallas Sports Commission

Monica Paul has a problem, albeit a good one. Dallas is expecting its biggest sports year in 2016, when the women’s NCAA Tournament regionals, a major bowling tournament, WrestleMania and three major Team USA events come to town. How do you top that?

“We’re going to have to be creative,” admits Paul, whose ability to think outside the box is why she was tapped to launch the Dallas Sports Commission in 2014 after six years with the CVB.

As one of only six females leading large-market sports commissions, she could stand out based on her gender. Instead, her defining trait is her ability to connect with sports planners and vendors to host successful events. Her experience in Colorado Springs—with USA Taekwondo and USA Volleyball—forged important professional relationships and gives Paul insight on how to get sports planners to say yes.

Her focus is on building bridges with local entities and international organizations as Dallas bides its time for another Super Bowl or Final Four (2020 or 2021 is the earliest for either). Paul’s time in the Big D is about to come full circle, with a 2026 World Cup bid is on the horizon. In 2008, months into starting at the CVB, she received the World Cup bid the day she left for vacation.

“There’s always pressure,” Paul says. “But when you love what you do—I won’t say it’s easy—it’s enjoyable.”

Peer support: “The bond among the few female heads of sports commissions is strong. I respect them all, and none of us hesitates to pick up the phone when needed.”

From mentee to mentor: Paul says she could never do her current job without learning the ropes at USA Volleyball. Now two of her favorite tasks are speaking to college students and watching her interns develop. “You see it in their eyes: Where do I want go? What is my next step?”