Gracie Mercado, B.A.’00


By Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.’96
Gracie Mercado poses for a championship photo with one of the Golden State Warriors

When Gracie Mercado arrived at the University at Albany as a freshman in 1996, she was a young woman who had not experienced a great deal outside of her Bronx neighborhood. For four years, she had attended a Catholic high school that prepared her for college studies, though it was very regimented. She had never held a job, nor had she handled her own finances. “I had never even cooked or done my own laundry before,” she laughs.

By the time she graduated with honors as an English major in 2000, Mercado had landed her first job in human resources. She also had a credit card and a cell phone and was paying her own bills.

“Albany gave me invaluable life skills,” she recalls. “The University prepared me for the real world. It helped me gain confidence and develop independence.”

Today, Mercado, vice president of Human Resources for the Golden State Warriors, is responsible for 220 employees on the business side of the basketball team’s operation. Before long, the number of employees will skyrocket, as the 2017 and 2018 NBA Championship-winning Warriors are building a privately financed sports arena designed to seat more than 18,000 fans. The Bay Area arena will host not only Warriors games, but a regular lineup of concerts and family shows.

logo for the Golden State Warriors

Mercado, who joined the Warriors in October 2016, will lead the organization in hiring more than 100 new full-time employees and thousands of part-timers to work in the new Chase Center. She is currently strategizing with her colleagues to prepare for the upcoming expansion. “We are incredibly excited about opening the arena,” says Mercado, adding that the prospect of the new facility was a principal reason she uprooted herself from New York to take the job in California. 

Mercado came to the Warriors very well prepared. From 2014 to 2016, she was vice president for Human Resources for the New Jersey Devils.  Earlier, during her seven years with the YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) network, she was promoted from manager to director of Human Resources. Mercado’s career also includes stints at fashion giants Coach and Ralph Lauren, where she held various HR positions, including one that combined human resources with finance. 

What advice does she have for SUNY students? “It’s OK if you don’t have your career all figured out at 21 years old,” she says. As an undergraduate, Mercado put a lot of pressure on herself, trying to chart a career.  She insists that isn’t necessary; “there is no perfect path to the perfect job.”  

Mercado notes that “Albany instilled a great work ethic in me and empowered me to write my own ticket.” 

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