Since graduating from the University of Oregon with her BS in business administration with a focus on marketing, Liz Upward ’06 has worked in both brand management and client relations roles, for companies including American Express and the New York Road Runners. In 2018, she joined PepsiCo to manage their Gatorade Endurance brand.
What is your current role within your company?
As a brand manager for Gatorade Endurance, I oversee all brand marketing, sports marketing partnerships—events, athletes, and training teams—product innovation, and retail for the brand. I also had a recent role expansion into Gatorade’s Gx brand, where I focus on commercialization of beyond-the-bottle sustainability efforts and the personalization of nutrition products.
How did the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center experience help shape your career?
My experience with the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center helped validate my interest in the sports business landscape and connected me with others in the industry. Through classes, faculty, and the Warsaw Sports Business Club, I gained exposure to the variety of careers that I could explore and had access to the education and tools I needed to get started. The right level of guidance afforded me the confidence to start my journey and the space to learn how to develop the drive to be successful. After graduating, the Warsaw community helped me continue my path—facilitating lifelong connections to students, alumni, and friends, often bringing us together to reengage and expand our network.
What key sports business trends are you following right now?
Athlete intelligence and personalization is top of mind at the moment. Gatorade strives to fuel athletes for all athletic occasions, and we know those occasions are growing and evolving (especially with many market limitations on events and facility access) and that we must also grow and evolve with them. Many brands (including Gatorade) have developed innovation in products and technology to help athletes become more intelligent about their own needs and empowering them to advance their performance, regardless of level. The surface of this part of the industry is only starting to be scratched.
Any self-care tips, reading recommendations, binge-worthy shows, etc.?
I’m reading more books than ever right now, breaking away from screens and getting back to the good feeling of turning a paper page—currently it's Deena Kastor's Let Your Mind Run. My biggest self-care tip is to get moving! As a marathon runner, the lack of races has been hard, but it’s super healthy to give yourself a break. I commit to keep moving almost every day, even if it’s just a walk.