When Tori Coleman was growing up, she remembers going to a Warriors game on Mother’s Day during the "We Believe era." Her family was entranced by the underdog Dubs, and the experience of the “Roaracle” crowd, throbbing music, and light show at the arena.
Coleman now is the Warriors’ Guest Experiences Manager, and she wants fans walking into Chase Center to have the same feeling of awe she remembers as a girl. She leads with one philosophy.
“It’s the golden rule. It’s something I just trained my staff on,” Coleman said. “It’s 'Treat others the way you want to be treated.' We try to provide the level of service that we would want to receive and they get that, and then some. That’s honestly the secret.”
Coleman's career with the Warriors began about five years ago. She worked part time as event staff, greeting guests at the door. Later, Coleman became an arena operations assistant. Then full-time opportunities came, and a promotion to Guest Experiences Manager at Chase Center.
Coleman thinks about thousands of people at the arena entrances when it’s time to fling open the doors.
“It’s a little overwhelming when you're first new to it," Coleman said. "I mean we're talking about 18,000 people just coming straight at you, asking where to go. And you instantly get used to it. I remember right after my first day, my supervisor was like, ‘You're going to come back?’ And I'm like, 'Absolutely, this is fantastic.' ”
Coleman said the top questions she hears from fans are 'How can I meet Steph Curry?', 'What’s the best place to eat?' and 'Where do I find my seat?'
She gently replies with a version of, “Steph is a busy man, he’s working right now…” as she guides them to their sections.
Coleman thought she’d be working as an athletic trainer when she attended California State-East Bay, majoring in kinesiology with a minor in social justice.
But part-time work with the Warriors blossomed into something more, satisfying her love of sports and her desire to support the community.
“I'm proud to be part of this team," Coleman said. "I told myself at a very young age, I wouldn't work for someone who didn't respect my values."
Coleman is on the leadership team for the Women of the Warriors employee resource group, serving as chair for the Women of Color subcommittee.
She explained the subcommittee is new and impactful.
“It’s all about amplifying our voices and making sure when something is presented, it is holistic for all,” Coleman said.
She continued, “I love connecting everyone. We all have a voice. I joke with my team I'm naturally an introvert, and it's funny being a manager of guest experience or [talking] to all these people!”
It’s possible, after about 13 months of COVID-19 forcing the doors closed, that fans will return to Chase Center soon.
Coleman knows exactly how it will feel, that rush of child-like awe that makes the senses tingle.
“Wonderful madness. I think it’s going to be so great," Coleman said. "My favorite part is actually the weirdest part ... When the lights go down, and everyone is looking at the players, I actually look up at the stands, because they're who I am here for.
“I love that moment of silence when they're pumped, they're listening to the player intros. And then we get it started.”