From Hollywood to MTV to MLB to The Legacy Agency, Nelson Peña Is Living ‘The American Dream’
[img-caption]Nelson Peña, senior vice president at The Legacy Agency (TLA), has built his career through hard work, gaining valuable experience in companies such as MTV Networks and Major League Baseball. Born and raised in New York City, Peña never forgets that his parents are an inspiration. “My mother and father came to the US from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, respectively. Starting from scratch, they built up my father’s medical practice and made sure that my sister and I both received a graduate level education. I am very grateful for that.” (Photo : qpicture.com)[/img-caption]
Nelson Peña is in many ways living the “American Dream,” having worked on Wall Street, for MTV – including helping with the launch of one of their stations – for Major League Baseball (MLB), and in Hollywood. His career has certainly been interesting and his star continues to rise.
“It is humbling to say the least. The fact that my parents immigrated to the United States, re-built their lives, and then were able to provide a life of abundance for me and my sister is inspiring,” says Peña. “I don’t take anything for granted and I work hard every day to be the absolute best I can be.”
Peña is currently a senior vice president at The Legacy Agency (TLA), one of the leading athlete representation firms in major league baseball, recruited by the company to help start their new events divisions and expand into Latin America.
TLA acquired Peter E. Greenberg and Associates (PEG) in late 2012, giving Legacy deeper inroads into the growing Hispanic market. With the acquisition of PEG, TLA gained presence in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua – providing arbitration & contract negotiation, marketing, public relations, visas and permanent residency, financial planning, and charities and foundations services for Hispanic baseball players; making them one of the largest athlete representation and sports marketing companies in the U.S. Currently, TLA represents over 150 MLB and minor league baseball players.
Peña’s previous work experience made him a perfect hire for TLA. Prior to joining TLA, Peña worked in developing contacts and closing sponsorship deals in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Colombia & Venezuela on behalf of MLB – including the Latin American sponsorship for the World Baseball Classic.
“I was in charge of getting the sponsorships for the Dominican Republic team, the Mexican team, the Panama team,” says Peña. “A lot of companies want presence in the United States. They understand there is real value in that. So you have to do your research on the companies to see if it’s a good fit. You have to find out what kinds of things the companies are doing both nationally and internationally. Research and preparation are essential.”
Before linking up with MLB, Peña worked with MTV Networks, helping launch MTV’s Latin channels, including MTV Puerto Rico & MTV Tr3s – working on the business development side of various platforms to help get the stations off the ground.
Even before landing at MTV Networks, Peña had a wealth of experience understanding international markets, having for worked Citigroup in media banking – specializing in equity research coverage of companies such as Grupo Televisa, GloboCabo, TV Azetca, and AOL Latin America.
More than his MBA, Peña feels his ability to communicate has allowed him to transition from one career path to another. As someone who does business in various parts of the world, adjusting to different cultures and customs, as well as dealing with strong personalities – from Wall Street-types to professional athletes – Peña believes that listening is as much a part of his success as a solid sales pitch.
“You always have to listen. It’s the only way to build a relationship with your client, something that is vitally important anywhere, but especially in Latin America,” said Peña. “It has to be a part of your personality. You will also gain a clear understanding of what it will take to close a particular deal. There is no one formula. It has to be instinctual and a big part of that is really hearing your client’s needs.”
Peña, who has found success working at companies most people dream of ending their careers at, is very happy with TLA and believes that he has found the right place for his expertise.
“I feel like I am just at the start of what I want to attain. I want to continue to grow professionally and personally,” says Peña. “Becoming the best is always a goal but also enjoying what you are doing paves the road to long-term satisfaction. I want to leave a Legacy and thus why I chose to work at the Legacy Agency.”
Having worked as an actor both on television dramas like Fringe, CSI and Law and Order as well as in feature films with the likes of Oliver Stone, Peña’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. His star continues to rise at TLA as he has clearly found the right milieu for his talents.
“Joining TLA was an exciting career move for me. Coming from Major League Baseball, I have a solid foundation and a deep understanding of the business landscape of this industry,” says Peña. “As a former athlete myself, I know that I have drive and focus. However, finding fulfillment and balance are the more challenging aspects of any profession. Taking the initiative at the Legacy Agency to start the new property division, is just one example of how I have been able to do that. Stay tuned for more.”
[img-caption]Mike Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency, discusses the recent merger. Principe’s roster of clients includes C.C. Sabathia, Carl Crawford and Adam Dunn.[/img-caption]