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Marla Messing has the coolest job in the world. The former Latham & Watkins associate is chief organizer for the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Eight years ago, the University of Chicago Law School grad was practising at Latham’s L.A. headquarters and happened to work two doors down from partner Alan Rothenberg, who had been appointed head of the organizing committee for the men’s 1994 World Cup soccer tournament. He needed a full-time assistant. Messing decided to sign on, left the firm, and rose quickly to become the EVP in charge of ticketing, entertainment and special events for the Men’s World Cup Organizing Committee. “I didn’t see it as an enormous risk,” said Messing. “although it was definitely a step back in terms of compensation and in terms of status.” In 1996, she volunteered to write the business plan for the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The rest is history.

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