On Sundays, when the Atlanta Falcons “Rise Up” in the Georgia Dome, it’s time for Mallory Meissner to do the same. Shimmering pom-poms in hand, a beaming smile on her face, adrenaline pumping through her veins, she cheers on her team before thousands of fans.
On Monday mornings, Meissner is back to work. But this time she’s headed to a different field: her “day job” at Coca-Cola headquarters, less than a mile from the Falcons' home turf.
Team Spirit On and In the Field
That’s right, Meissner pulls double duty as an Atlanta ambassador. During the week, she works as a financial services manager at The Coca-Cola Company. And when she's not in the office, she pursues her passion for dance on the Atlanta Falcons cheerleading team.
The Falcons cheerleading squad performs at every home game and practices two evenings a week from June until the season ends.
It may surprise you that Falcons cheerleaders are required to have a larger commitment outside the team. All cheerleaders must have a full-time or part-time job, be enrolled in college, or work as a stay-at-home mom (a full-time job in itself). The Falcons cheerleading coach is a school counselor, and the choreographer is a chemist.
“They look for ‘wow women’,” says Meissner. “Wow women" are making a difference in the community and are true ambassadors of the Falcons organization.
“They like to say cheerleading is the icing on your cake. But it's not your entire cake,” says Meissner. Being a Falcons cheerleader allows Meissner to pursue her career and her love for dance without having to choose one over the other.
Dare to Dream
Meissner married the love of her life six months ago. But her very first love – dance – has been part of her life since the beginning. The Tuscaloosa, Ala. native can’t remember a time she wasn’t either taking or teaching dance classes. Tap, jazz, ballet... you name it, she did it.
In college, Meissner danced on the Crimsonette team at the University of Alabama, where she double-majored in finance and dance. She also received her MBA, interning with
As soon as Meissner moved to Atlanta, she looked for opportunities to continue dancing. That led her to the Falcons cheerleading team. She tried out four times before finally making the cut.
“It goes to show that whatever your dream is, you can achieve it,” says Meissner. “Even if there are setbacks. Keep chasing after something if you really want it.”
This is Meissner’s second season with the Falcons – and a historical one at that. If you check Mallory’s bio on the Falcons website, she put “go to the Big Game” at the top of her bucket list. And her dream is coming true... again. This weekend, Meissner heads to Houston to cheer at the Big Game when the Falcons face off against the New England Patriots.
“This season, the Falcons motto was ‘in brotherhood’," Meissner said. "It’s an amazing story how the team has rallied behind it. And from that, we’ve seen the city rally behind it."
'Rising Up' to the Occasion
“Rise Up” is the slogan that revs up Falcons fans and players on game day. For Meissner, these two words follow her off one field and into another. “Everything you do at Coke is about collaborating and working together to reach a common goal," she explains. "'Rise up’ means exactly that. At Coke, it means rising to the occasion, working with each other, working to support our customers.”
Meissner rises up to every occasion at
“Being a Falcons cheerleader is so much more than putting on an outfit and dancing on the sidelines," she concludes. "It’s really about being an ambassador for Atlanta. All of these women are role models in the community… from moms to students to employees at major Atlanta companies.”
In both roles, Meissner is part of one extended Atlanta family.