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Women's History Month: Verena Rasmussen

Verena Rasmussen has worked in athletics throughout her career. Spanning several professional organizations, she is one of the few women in Utah who has been touched by the highest levels of sports the Beehive State has to offer.

Rasmussen is a recent hire for Real Salt Lake, serving as the Club’s Vice President of Partnership Services and Operations. After almost seven years with the Utah Jazz in the National Basketball Association, Rasmussen has traded in the court for the soccer pitch, joining the Claret and Cobalt under the leadership of President John Kimball.

“I met with John Kimball and let him know of my interest in coming to lead the Partnership Services and Operations department,” Rasmussen said. “There was a palpable confidence in the vision of what the Club could be, so I was excited to come on board.”

While with the Jazz, Rasmussen served as the Director of Partnerships and then the Senior Director of Sales Operations, during which she oversaw the activation of major accounts, as well as millions of dollars in annual revenue.

However, perhaps her most notable achievement was with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

First hired in January of 1995, Rasmussen was part of the group that helped Salt Lake City, Utah earn a host bid over Quebec City, Canada, Sion, Switzerland, and Ostersund, Sweden. It was the city’s third attempt at a bid, and on June 16, 1995, the International Olympic Committee officially announced Salt Lake City, Utah as the host for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Bringing a worldwide event to the state of Utah saw Rasmussen serving in a variety of roles, including with the organizing committee, food services, accreditations, protocol, as well as creation and management of the IOC and Olympic family hotel.

As the games approached, Rasmussen took on the main role as Chief of Protocol and Director of International Client Services.

“Our department was in charge of the family hotel, interpretation services and the Olympic family lounges and seating,” Rasmussen explained. “At the time I had 33 full-time employees underneath me, as well as more than one thousand volunteers.”

The games themselves were instrumental in the growth of the state of Utah. After their completion ski and snowboarding tourism rose 47%, while revenue grew 67%. Rasmussen was grateful for the part she was able to play in it all.

After nearly a decade spent working on this project to bring the Winter Olympics to fruition, Rasmussen turned her focus inward, growing her family, before ultimately jumping back into the sports industry with the Jazz.

“Sports are an incredibly unique industry, it’s work that’s also fun,” Rasmussen shared.

Now, with Real Salt Lake she is continuing to follow her passion in sports while also working with young women in her department to hopefully carve out a path for them to achieve the same, if not more, than she has.

“At the end of the day I want to be seen as a go-to person, I believe we are all better when we help each other.”