Interview with Silvia Pelli Director of People & Culture at TEAM Marketing

Silvia Pelli is the Director of People & Culture at TEAM Marketing, the international sports marketing agency which, among other things, is responsible for selling the commercial rights of all UEFA club competitions. The company was named one of the Most Attractive Employers in Sport by a report recently published by iWorkinSport. This is one of five interviews with top recruiters in the industry featured in the publication.

The study surveyed more than 1,600 people from 83 countries representing all continents, with the majority already working in sport, and asked them a simple question: “If you could choose to work anywhere in sport, where would that be?” At first, the respondents chose organisations divided into ten categories and, at the end, they indicated one single preferred choice, overall – the “Employer of their Dreams”. 

The publication features rankings of the most attractive employers in sport divided in the following categories:  Football Clubs, Sports Teams (other than Football), Sports Teams in the USA, Sports Leagues, Sports Governing Bodies, Event Organisers, Sports Marketing Agencies, Sponsors, Sporting Goods Companies and Sports Tech.

Additionally, the report presents the aspects that candidates rate as most important when deciding where they would like to work.


TEAM has been a Top Employer in the iWorkinSport Survey for multiple years now. Why do you think it consistently finds itself so highly ranked?

For over 30 years, our dedicated and ambitious team have helped build some of the best football competitions – including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League – while also creating a thriving network of long-standing commercial partners. Working at TEAM is an amazing opportunity to contribute to the success of these prestigious sports properties, while being inspired by industry-leading professionals in an open, international and vibrant culture.  

In fact, it’s our unique culture that really sets us apart from other companies. We strive to create a culture where all employees are free to be their true selves, without judgement or exclusion. We prioritize building meaningful connections and encourage staff to become their best – to grow their talents, knowledge and careers.

Our research shows that TEAM does well at attracting talent. What strategies do you have in place to ensure you retain your best talent?

At TEAM, our vision is to be the best place to develop a career in the sports industry. We do this by cultivating a TEAM community that allows all staff to thrive, promoting clear and transparent communication throughout the business and focusing on individual development.

Our leadership is approachable, available and actively seeks feedback and input. Whether at monthly Q&As, in the cafeteria, at networking, social or educational events, everyone has the opportunity for their voice to be heard.  

Staff have numerous opportunities to get involved with different initiatives and committees (e.g. sustainability, DEI, social, weekly sports, volunteering days), where they can find a sense of belonging and spend quality time together outside their main function.

We have a strong emphasis on collaboration to really discourage silo-thinking and build a strong community.

Our blend of dynamic personalities, stories and skills is one of our biggest sources of energy and pride: staff represent 30 different nationalities and maintain an equal gender balance. We tend to hire candidates early in their career and then promote internally. This means we are always getting new, fresh ideas, have representation from a younger generation and can provide fulfilling career paths.

We take mental health and job satisfaction seriously; in addition to an always-available and receptive HR team, we offer external counselling services and an anonymous platform for raising questions/concerns.

Showing our staff they are valued and appreciated is essential; we do this through our official recognition programme, based on a culture of feedback and comprising various activities, including the possibility to give public shout-out or nominate colleagues for their exemplary behaviors aligned with the company's values. We also do it by regularly publishing employee stories to highlight their strengths and experiences.


Employee's desires and needs are changing. Can you speak to the changing trends you are seeing? 

In recent years, we have observed several trends, where probably the most significant is work flexibility: the possibility of working remotely for one or more days a week. Another significant trend is the opportunity to be part of a community that engages beyond strictly professional goals, in areas such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion.

Additionally, employees are motivated by innovative environments that are open to change and where everyone can contribute, express their opinions, and be involved in cross-departmental projects that contribute to both personal and company growth. Employees want the opportunity to develop and grow in various areas.

TEAM addresses these needs by continually looking at ways to improve our processes and our culture to be as inclusive, supportive and fulfilling as possible. As a starting point, we conduct regular staff surveys to understand staff sentiment, their concerns and how we can do better. This drives many of the initiatives led by our DEI committee as well as informs Leadership Team decisions.

The sports industry has become an extremely appealing career choice. As the industry continues to professionalise, what advice do you have to offer those trying to break into the industry? 

Passion and dedication are probably the initial ingredients, but then we need to add hard work. It is certainly beneficial to attend university or professional courses and to participate in events such as job fairs, conferences, and presentations where you can meet industry professionals and create a solid network that can help you take your first steps within the industry.

For those applying to a position at TEAM Marketing:

DO: Act fast; when you see an interesting position, apply quickly as we receive a lot of applications.

DO: Attach a cover letter to further explain your interest and motivation. Customize it for the role and provide enough information so we can build a comprehensive picture of you, your background and experience.

DON’T: Misspell words in your CV or cover letter; take the time to make sure it is professional

DON’T: Exaggerate the CV or the letter; always be accurate and truthful

For an interview: in addition to preparing well (research TEAM, our client, our culture), remember to be your authentic self. An interview is a time for us to learn about you, but also for you to learn about us: listen, ask, observe and be curious.

Can you talk about the importance of ongoing education in the sports world? What do you like to see on the CVs of prospective employees regarding education? And what ongoing education opportunities are you offering your employees?

The sports industry, like many others, requires continuous evolution, with education as the cornerstone of development. Depending on the role, different types of education are necessary. We highly value candidates who invest in their growth through both technical training and soft skills development. Managing one's time effectively and choosing to invest it in professional and personal growth is immensely valuable, highlighting a mindset open to learning and development.

At TEAM, we have recently reviewed our training offerings, alongside our entire development and performance system. We have implemented a process designed to develop employees' potential and eliminate interference to their achievements. We have created diverse learning curricula, expanded, and structured our soft skills training programs, with a strong emphasis on leadership, change management, and feedback skills. Additionally, we welcome and strive to accommodate other requests from our employees for various needs, including highly technical and role-specific training.