Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

2017Nov 15

A Creative Eye

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Steve Lange, originally from Brighton, Ontario is a 1994 Sports Administration graduate who currently works at BaAM productions in Toronto. Steve has an impressive resume of brand, event and project management experience in the sport event industry. With this he has developed and delivered innovative world-class events and brand experiences which include multiple Olympic and Paralympic Games. Through his busy schedule he was able to give some insight into these various roles and experiences. He also took the time to offer some advice to future and current SPAD students.

 

 

KC: What is your current Career?

SL: As Vice President, Brand Experience at BaAM Productions in Toronto, I lead branding projects in the Sports and Entertainment field. From creative strategy to delivery operations, 1200px-PyeongChang_2018_Winter_Olympics.svgI help clients bring their brands to life in an event environment.Creating a powerful visual backdrop at an event delivers a unique and memorable brand experience for athletes, spectators and the broadcast audience.Most recently I oversaw the Games time branding for the 2017 Invictus Games held in Toronto and m currently working with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea.

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KC: What past experiences have led you to this?

SL: olympicsAt the 1996 Atlanta Olympic and Paralympic Games I held a role in the “Look of the Games” department. I was responsible for delivering the Olympic brand to the Swimming, 1996-Atlanta–Summer-Olympics-logoBoxing and Badminton venues. I learned and managed the process from design to production to installation. It was here that I realized my passion for connecting the creative process and making it happen on the delivery end. I’ve directed the “Look” program at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and similar positions for numerous Olympic, Paralympic, Pan Am,Commonwealth, Canada and Invictus Games.

 

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KC: What brought you to SPAD?

SL: I’ve always been passionate about sports and had an interest in my business studies in high school. I was very fortunate to have a career councillor who identified SPAD as a potential fit for my future. Also, one of my coaches was a Laurentian grad who raved about the program and its opportunities. Seeing where some past graduates were working and the opportunity to get some practical experience in the Sports field through the internship program sealed it for me.

KC: How was your experience in the SPAD program?

SL: SPAD always felt like a family away from home. There was a work hard – play hard spirit that created a strong bond between classmates. The intensity of case studies such as presenting to the Montreal Canadiens were always challenging and rewarding. These learnings built the foundation for my career in Sports Administration. Many great memories and I am always proud to say I am a SPAD grad. This character is reflected today in SPAD’s well-connected alumni network.

KC: What internship experience did you gain during the program?

1993 SL: I secured a role with the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC. It was an incredible chance to see behind the scenes and learn firsthand what goes into producing a multi-sport event. I really loved seeing the finished product as a result of all the collaborative efforts and how much it positively impacted the athletes and participants. I am extremely grateful for my internship opportunity and experience as it literally started my journey in the industry I have been so fortunate to forgo a career in.

 

 

KC: What did you learn through SPAD that still helps you with your job today?

SL: I remember the emphasis on group work. While the focus may have been on an area of study, the process of problem solving and working with different people was invaluable. In my career, I have lead many teams and have always worked as part of a larger team on complex projects. The collaborative nature of the SPAD program relates directly to most of my daily activities on the job today. 

KC: Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?

SL: Take advantage of any opportunity to gain practical experience, including the SPAD internship and even volunteering for organizations that interest you. Always be willing to take on any work asked of you, and by doing a good job, someone will take notice and good things will come of it. I still do some work with people I met during my internship, hence the importance of maintaining a positive network. Finally, enjoy what you do.

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SPAD would like to thank Steve for taking the time to speak to us about his past and current experiences. It is in part to these talented and successful alumni that make the program what it is today.

 

2017Nov 14

Understanding the Sports Industry – Devon Hogan

Devon Hogan is currently the Group Sales Manager for both the Ottawa Senators and the Canadian Tire Centre. She manages and mentors a team of sales professionals that focus on establishing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients. Their main objective is to bring unique and personal experiences to loyal fans attending games.

On behalf of all SPAD students, we would like to thank Devon for taking the time out of her busy day to answer questions for the sole benefit of students. With 24 years of experience working in the sports industry here is her insight.

The following attachment holds the full phone interview with Devon. The interview contains 30 minutes of useful content provided by an individual with plenty of experience working within the sports industry. 

Q: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

My job starts from the moment I wake up. One of the first things I do is look at my phone to check what has come in overnight to see if there is anything that needs immediate attention. The only thing that would require immediate attention would be in the event that there is an upcoming game and tickets are selling very quickly. If something has come in overnight where somebody needed a few extra tickets and time is of the essence to get those tickets grabbed off of the system, we can get them for the client before somebody else grabs them.

Prioritize

Once I get into the office I deal with my three or four tasks that I plan to do at the very start of the day that are most important to get done first. If anything else comes up along the way as long as I have completed those tasks I know the day has become somewhat of a success. These tasks include following up with bigger groups of people that we have spoken to and they haven’t quite made a commitment to do a game with us, or following up with somebody within the marketing and graphics department where we are waiting on some piece of collateral that is integral to us being able to get something closed and sold.

Leadership

Because I do manage the department I have other people that report to me. In a lot of cases, their needs take precedence over what my needs of the day are. If they have anything where they are experiencing a problem or they need a quick ‘OK’ approval on something they come to me. We have full-time people that work with us but we also have interns. A lot of the time it is giving them projects to work on so they are helping us along the way. Depending on who’s doing what, sometimes somebody has done something much quicker than you would or conversely you are waiting on something and then it is circling back to find out what is taking so long. There is a lot of internal communication in going back and forth within the office but then it is also making sure that myself along with the other account managers that I work with are finding the times to make sure that you are outbound and going to find those new contacts to keep the business coming in.

Q: When you get a chance to take a step back from work, how do you spend your time? 

Photo of Devon's family.

Photo of Devon’s family.

I am a mom of twins who are seven years old – Finn and Madigan. Between my husband and the kids, that is kind of what my free time consists of. They both play hockey for different teams and associations so they keep me busy running from rink to rink.

Q:  Would you say the sports industry is competitive when it comes to getting a job?

It is definitely competitive. If somebody is looking at getting into the sports industry the big way to get in is through ticket sales. The positions within ticket sales there is generally a lot of turn-over as it is very entry level, they are the people who are just getting started in the sports industry.

Do What Is Best For You

A bunch of people often realize “oh gosh sales is not for me” and then they move on. In some cases, they get in with sales but know they would really prefer to be in marketing or communications. They use ticket sales as a stepping stone to demonstrate their work ethic then proceed to what their true passion is. Other people just realize that the sports industry just isn’t really for them and work for a few short months in whatever capacity and just move onto something different. It is definitely difficult to get in but if you do a bunch of things right it can actually open doors pretty easily.   

Q: As a university student, did you always know what you wanted to do? How did you find your path?

I did – growing up I absolutely loved the NHL and being from Winnipeg I loved the Winnipeg Jets so that was my mission in life, to work within the Jets front office. Back in the day, we didn’t have the same sports management courses that we do now so for me I thought “what can I take in university that will show that I am interested in sport” and kind of set me up for an easier application with the Jets when the time came. I took a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Physical Activity and Sports Studies which is much similar to Human Kinetics. A lot of people that were in those courses actually wanted to be physiotherapists or chiropractors which involved taking a lot of science-oriented courses like anatomy and physiology. It let me put something on my resume that demonstrated that I really did have an affinity for sports.

Stepping Stones

At a very young age, I got on with the Winnipeg Jets on a part-time basis working as game night staff. I was a hostess in a section where I would work game nights and concerts to welcome people into the building, making sure that people got to their seats basically getting my foot in the door as far as the organization knowing who I was. I worked for them on a part-time basis in university for one summer in the ticketing department calling season ticket holders, getting their payments, and trying to relocate their seats for them if they wanted to move. It is not as if I had got my degree and then went in cold turkey to the Winnipeg Jets and applied, I had some building blocks to have the door open for me.

Q: When something didn’t go your way, how did you fix it? Can you provide an example?

Probably the biggest thing was when I had my dream job out of university working for the Winnipeg Jets and then two seasons later the team is gone and so was my dream. All I wanted to do was work in the NHL and I couldn’t do that at that point in time so I took the opportunity with the Manitoba Moose. I got sales experience where I wasn’t working within that capacity with the Jets when I first started out so having that sales experience is what opened the door for me to be able to come here to the Senators. Staying in sport was important if I wanted to get back into the NHL then working my way up from there.

Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

When you are growing up you don’t hear anybody say “I want to be a salesperson”. Being in this industry now for 24, coming up to 25 years of working within sport, most of it as an actual salesperson, that is not what I set out to do and I didn’t think that would be something that I would end up doing. I honestly kind of found it by accident and realized I was really good at it. It is about selling the building, giving an experience to fans and building relationships with people which I absolutely love which allowed me to get where I am.

Q: What do you love most about your job and what would you say is the coolest part about working for the Ottawa Senators?

Fans celebrate in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals at the Canadian Tire Centre. Wayne Cuddington/Postmedia

Fans celebrate in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals at the Canadian Tire Centre. Wayne Cuddington/Postmedia

Love What You Do and It Will Never Feel Like Work

I think the coolness is that you work for a team that is well loved within your community, that a lot of people envy the position. What I love most about my job is the satisfaction of those nights where the building is really full and we have between three and four thousand people attending the game that are there as part of a group. There is a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that we are filling up the building. It is also the little things where you are talking with somebody and their dad is coming out to celebrate his 90th birthday and there is a whole bunch of family coming in from wherever and you are enabling them to get the best seats possible – maybe sending our mascot Spartacat over to give a high-five and a happy birthday to create some memories for our clients.

It’s About Making Memories

When I first started in the industry it was all about selling tickets and people would ask “what are the discounts” or “what are the savings”, that was good enough for people. Over the years that has really morphed into people still wanting a savings because they are a group but also what extras can they get as well as what can make it more memorable. We are always tasked with what can we do so that they aren’t just coming to watch a hockey game but having an experience over and above that.

Q: What are your major accomplishments within the organization? Any major highlights of working for the Ottawa Senators?

Below is a video of an in-game recognition for one of the large groups the Ottawa Senators attends to. 

We have been the number one group sales team in the league for the last two seasons running. Over and above that, for the last, I would say 14 to 15 seasons we’ve been in the top 5 in the NHL. We are constantly delivering on the number of tickets sold per game but also the revenue that you are driving with that. There are a number of teams in the United States that will sell a lot of tickets but they might only be selling them for six or seven dollars whereas our net value on a group ticket is around the forty dollar mark which makes it exponentially tougher to sell a lot of tickets and still try to get a good deal out of it – I’m really proud of that.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

Q: How important is it for applicants to keep a level of professionalism on their social media? Is this something that your organization looks into when hiring?

For me, when I have somebody who has applied for a position the first thing that myself and members of my team will do is check out their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, basically creeping the person to see what it looks like.

Your Personal Brand

As much as you think Facebook is private it is very much public. We have had people that would go on to check someone’s social media to look at their pictures and it is all just partying. Having said that, I try to keep it in context that obviously this is their personal page and that everyone likes to have fun but I think there is a fine line. The only other thing I would say about that is there have been different people who have worked for us both interns and full-time that have made their opinions known on social media about the team but they are once again speaking personally, however, being a representative of the team whether it is during an internship or actually working for the team, you are still a part of the team and we have had people lose their positions over comments made socially so it is something that is certainly watched.

Q: What factors would separate one candidate from another? What specific things do you look for in applicants?

For us being in Ottawa, one thing that always jumps out on a resume is someone who is bilingual. The next one for me is people showing leadership, for example in different things they have done whether it be through school or extracurricular activities such as taking the lead on different projects or someone who was the captain of a team or have coached. I firmly believe that when you are in sales you need to be a leader.

Q: Finally, What advice do you have to offer to those applying for jobs within the sports industry?

Experience, Experience, Experience

Get experience whether it be through volunteering or once you have a contact be sure to keep in touch with that person. This is your foot in the door. Never be shy about asking for an introduction because if you have one contact they might know someone who can help you get to your main goal.

Build Relationships

Asking for their advice and really trying to make connections within the sports industry is important. Use those connections to help you along the way because that is really what is going to differentiate yourself from anyone else.

Keep in Touch

Follow-ups are really important as well especially when somebody has interviewed you and following up whether it be later on that day or at the very latest the next morning just thanking the person for their time, opening up that door to having any other questions, I always appreciate that.

Once again, we would like to thank Devon for her time in giving some helpful advice to our students. We wish Devon and her team all the best in the 2017-18 season, Go Sens Go!

2017Nov 14

From a Basement to the World

For some people the game of golf can be a constant struggle to keep the ball in play and out of the hazard that seems to act as a golf ball magnet. For the world’s best however, it can be a game of inches. Dave Makarucha has dedicated the last 15 years of his working career to creating the best possible shaft for golfers everywhere.

Gawain Robertson (Left) and Dave Makarucha (Right), Co-founders of ACCRA Golf

Gawain Robertson (Left) and Dave Makarucha (Right), Co-founders of ACCRA Golf

                With a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University, Dave Makarucha eventually found himself working at Wilson Sports as a logistics supervisor. In 2002, he left Wilson Sports and started his own company with his now long-term business partner, Gawain Roberson. Together they started PGMC and became the distributer of United Sports Technology (UST) for the Canadian market.

                Originally working out of their respective basements in Kingston, Ontario, Dave and Gawain fostered relationships with custom club fitters across the country. In 2004 they purchased the brand ACCRA from UST with the idea of developing a high-performance golf shaft dedicated to club fitters. 14 PGA tour players put an ACCRA shaft in their bag in the first week. ACCRA Golf shafts have been in the bags for over 50 PGA Tour wins and was used by Luke Donald while he was the #1 ranked golfer in the world in 2011.

ACCRA has grown and continues to be a world leader in the high-end graphite golf shaft market. They are the world’s largest aftermarket distributer of golf shafts with club fitters located primarily across the United States and Canada.

Justin MacDonald and Ken Thompson of ACCRA Golf

Justin MacDonald (Left) and Ken Thompson (Right) of ACCRA Golf

ACCRA also works with Lee Porter Golf Solutions who is located in Margaretting, England. Lee is an integral part of the ACCRA business model and acts as ACCRA’s distributer for Europe and the Middle East, while the main office in Kingston, Ontario services the Americas, Australia, South Africa, and Japan.

Dave and Gawain recently started a relationship with True Temper to be their exclusive after-market distributer. True Temper Golf has a history spanning over 100 years and is one of the world’s leaders in steel golf shafts. With this new partnership ACCRA is set to expand bigger than ever before and take the world of golf by storm.

2017Nov 14

Q & A with Cameron Brooks

Cameron Brooks Pic 2I was able to sit down with 2015 SPAD graduate Cameron Brooks. Cameron is a well-spoken, modest, and caring individual. He has reached tremendous success after his Laurentian school life. He played five years on the Laurentian soccer team where he made strides on the field and off. I wanted to look at what made Cameron the person he is today, and how Laurentian and SPAD shaped him.

Q1 – What expectations if any did you have coming to Laurentian and SPAD?

I was originally expected school to easy coming out of high school. After my first mid –term I soon realized this was going to be more difficult than I thought. Academically I really needed to focus after going through high school with good marks. Also, I was really looking forward to the day to day living, meeting friends, hanging out; I wanted to live the full university experience.

Q2 – Any obstacles along the way through you’re university life?

Soccer definitely made me work hard and adjust to school. Every year you need to come to school early in the summer to train, and playing away games during weekends you miss mid –terms, giving me to deal with heavily weighted finals, which was a major stressor.

Living away from home first –year was a major adjustment as well. Like everyone I was not only learning how to be successful in school but how to live by myself. I did not have my family pushing me to finish my work and be productive.

Q3 – How do you feel that this program has helped you develop as a person?

SPAD definitely helped me become more social, I was always a quiet kid but not really shy. I had my opinions but I never had the urge to express myself. I am more willing to state what I think and am not worried about anything else.

Being able to present myself to others and in a business setting was something I practised a lot that I never really worked on before and this gave me the confidence to go to my workplaces with the same ability I learned.

Q4 – In your days here you were a very talented soccer player. What has this sport given you in terms of your off field takeaways?

Cameron Brooks Pic 3

Cameron(left) with Coaches and Teammate

 

Communication was a major quality I used in soccer that is a great tool to use in my day to day life and my jobs. I was in a leadership role in my club and school teams in high school so it was something that I was acceptant of when I started seeing it passed on to me at Laurentian as well. I was always talking to coaches and teammates to get the best out every player including myself on the field. In every dressing room there are lots of different characters, the shy ones, the loud ones and soccer really helped me learn how to get along with all types of people and get an understanding for them.

I also had this sense of competition where I wanted to be the best I could be as myself and with the team. Obviously CIS was a tough league so I really had to work hard and try in order to do this. Like anything, my goal was to create as much success for myself and the others around me, which translates to my work goals now.

Q5 – Where was your internship and how was that experience for you

I worked my internship at XMC Sports and Entertainment, where I was a part of the sponsorship department. There were three other guys I worked with, where we became pretty close. There were no walls or barriers between us so we had to adjust to each other if we liked it or not. Everyone was pretty similar, so it was easy work setting. It was great to build meaningful projects you see put in motion. The experience really gave me a sense of accomplishment and prepared me for life after school.

Q6 – Are there any individuals that have helped guide you through this time?

Scott Rodgers was a big help for me along the way. He was one of my roommates, he happened to be SPAD President; he always took things pretty seriously which drove me to be better. There were times I wanted to slack or didn’t want to work on something, he would be the guiding light to push me to study. He balanced me out when I wanted to hang out. We would do projects together or individually where we always wanted to get the best mark, pushing each other to do the best we could.

Q7 – What jobs have you obtained after school and do you feel school fully prepared you for them?

I am currently working for CIBC bank in Sports Sponsorships. I have been here for 15 months and have enjoyed every second of it. I have a great team that I work with where I’m happy to go to work every day. My boss is a SPAD alumni and he has really took me undCameron Brooks Pic 4er his wing and has helped me a lot, and has looked out for me. He has helped me with developing contacts and with my personal brand.

One thing weird for me to see is from being in SPAD into a political organization like CIBC from the differences we don’t see in the program. Being this young in the business world has been an eye opening experience for me. You really look at yourself and what the public views of you with all the different steps you make.

As a SPAD guy everyone wants to work for their favourite team or just in a sports field. So that’s where I want to go next. I think this is where I’ll have the most fun while working so I do not want to pass an opportunity like this up.

2017Nov 14

SPAD Graduate Jonathan McNeil

Jjon mcneilonathan McNeil is a SPAD graduate of the 2007 graduating year. Since then he has had success at two separate companies in the security industry, and is currently closing in on his third year operating as the Regional Manager of Eastern Canada, at Lenel Systems International.

SPAD was not Jonathan’s original course of choice, he was leaning more towards chemical engineering, and due to a girlfriend, he chose SPAD and ended up really enjoying the course. During his time in SPAD he spent a lot of time working with extended family in marketing, where he thought he would originally end up. Along the way, with his internship, and the connections he made, those plans had changed.

Jon’s internship was with Exposoft, a company that creates software for registration at events, and the job that he was assigned to was to be a project coordinator. He chose this internship partially because it payed, and he also had a place to stay during the internship, so he could keep costs down. During this internship he met an acquaintance, who would eventually become his boss and now ex boss, and started hanging out together which would eventually lead to his firstHID_logo_3.5464d03d549f8 job.

This new friend asked him one night “would you ever do sales” and he answered with “everything you do is sales”, which lead to his first job at HID Global, who mainly deals with card readers like the ones around Laurentian University that deal with your student card. Jon places a lot of his success today with his now ex boss because he pushed his resume along to his bosses to get Jon this first job which lead to a whole new network of people and connections in the security industry. He was the youngest hire at the time, and may be still to this day, at 23 years old. Within HID he started as a regional account manager in the integration channel that dealt with system integrators or installers. His then boss got promoted, and he moved up to what was basically his bosses old job, just without the title. Which was essentially the regional manager of Canada.

During his seven years spent at HID Global, Jon gained some footing in the security industry, which would lead to his next position at Lenel Systems International, where he is today. Lenel sells software for security systems from access control, which is basically monitoring door entry, to using the Lenelsoftware for integration that can link that access control to video and audio. So, if someone opens door without access it could trigger a camera and audio device to get more information. In October 2014 a recruiter from Lenel contacted Jon and within the next four months he got his current position at Lenel as Regional Manager for Eastern Canada. This move gave him a better salary, so the move was very welcomed. This new job deals with more selling to dealers rather than before where he dealt with end users and installers.

This new job has provided him with more flexibility in terms of getting to work from home, but it does take him out town very frequently. He usually gets to be home for the weekends to spend time with his wife. Jon is really enjoying his current job and is always looking for opportunities to grow.

2017Nov 13

Q&A with Jamie Saull

1e250dbQ&A with Jamie Saull

Jamie is currently the Sr. Manager, Brand Solutions – Sports at Bell Media which is part of the larger Bell Media Strategic Sales Team. As Jamie puts it, “It’s a fancy way of saying I work in sport brand partnerships looking through a marketing / brand lens vs. a strictly sales-related mindset as we work with clients, agencies and partners across all brands, categories and sports”. His team’s goals and responsibilities are to make meaningful, impactful, and results-driven programs that benefit all brands involved, including TSN’s. They deal with both reactive and proactive projects – reacting to client asks and needs, while also proactively developing programs and brand strategies with the intent of driving future revenue.

 

EJ: What made you decide to choose SPAD over other programs?

JS: It was the only one I was accepted to (that’s a joke, though some of my profs and classmates may disagree). I always new I was going to work in sports – I just didn’t know how. First I was set on sports medicine (more laughter from the aforementioned group) and then I turned my sights towards Sport Law (again, see Medicine comment). Finally once I realized that not only would that take forever, but that I was actually pretty good at the creativity part, combined with the numbers element, I shifted focus. SPAD was the only program that offered exactly what I wanted – a Commerce-driven degree, with a focus specifically on sports. Couldn’t get any better. Believe it or not, but the fact the program was based in Sudbury wasn’t a deterrent for me. My grand-parents grew up here, and in fact, my grandfather’s family owned a small bakery across the street from the Beef ’N Bird – I think it’s now a Westons distribution center, but it used to be called Cecutti’s – which was my grandfather’s family. So aside from the program that aligned exactly where I wanted to be, I knew they also had good bread up there. Kinda checked all boxes.

EJ: If you had to pick one, what’s your most memorable moment from your time in the SPAD program?

JS: That I can repeat? Probably failing my first test – it was a kick in the nuts, that I can now say, was much needed. It provided that reality check that you need early (I got my first failure out of the way, very, very early). You learn a lot about yourself over those 4 years – a lot of which is how you handle, react and learn from (or don’t), various situations. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid if you do it over, and over and over. Non-educational? I got to emcee the Trailer Park Boys live show when they came to Sudbury in the Fraser Auditorium. I had to stand on stage in front of the entire building and try to be moderately funny as I introduced Ricky, Julian and Bubbles. I drank a lot. They drank more… it went alright.

EJ: I was reading the SPAD Alumni Profile back from 2012 and you said that after meeting Scott Moore he gave you some of the best advice you’d ever received. What advice was that? And how did it change your outlook?

JS: I used to make it a point (and still do) to be in the office before my boss every day – no real reason, it’s just something I’ve always done. I was always the first person in the room. I sat right in front of Scott. He came in one morning (he was usually in before everyone else as well) and he called me into his office. I had half my things packed and was ready to turn in my security card – no idea why, but figured why else would I be called in before anyone else got there. We spoke for a little bit, and he then said “I came across a guy early in my career who gave me great advice, that I still use to this day… he said, in his thick Scottish accent… ‘Scott… there are 3 things you should look for in people when hiring and building a team…. Attitude… attitude… and attitude’.” We spoke a little bit more about work ethic and attitude towards things, and he ended the conversation asking what my favourite sport was. I quickly said hockey and he opened a literal binder full of tickets – Raptors, Argos, TFC, Leafs… anything, and he flipped through to a page that had a pair of Leafs/Capitals tickets. He gave me the pair and said ‘attitude goes a lot further than people will likely ever acknowledge’. I got to see Alexander Ovechkin for the first time with those tickets. I took my boss because I was a kiss ass and also thought it was a test. She wound up taking us back to CBC headquarters after the Leaf game to the Hockey Night in Canada studio where we watched Game 2 of the double-header and I got to see how the magic was made. Kissing ass worked that night.

To this day, I remember that discussion. Whether I am hiring members of my own team, or working with people internally or externally, the focus is always on attitude. If you can get a sense of how someone else carries them-self, you can get a pretty good idea of how they’re going to work with you, with others and within the scope you need them to. The reality of our world is, to borrow a line from comedian Tom Segura, ‘some people suck’… it’s just the way life goes – so the attitude that you carry can help in both personal and professional settings. Attitude isn’t how you act, it’s how you approach things – different scenarios call for different tactics, but the attitude you have going in will shape that outcome.

EJ: Where did you do your internship? What was that experience like?

JS: I interned at CBC in the Media Sales & Marketing department. The experience was incredible. It was an industry and field I knew absolutely nothing about. Media is one of the more unique areas I’ve worked w263716_100530676782966_1373089684_nith and within. It changes every single day – new competitors crop up out of nowhere – some stick around, and others don’t. CBC taught me a lot about process, politics and practice. There was so much on-the-job learning that forced me to become nimble in how I approached things. There was a lot of red tape within everything we did so it taught patience and internal politicking and lobbying. There were approvals on top of approvals everywhere you looked. It was also a place that was steeped in tradition and success (Hockey Night in Canada) but it was also a place that was forced to innovate with very limited budgets and freedom to take risks given the government implications. The people there were incredible – that’s something I’ll never forget. The people make the place, the business and the brand. Whether that’s an employee or a consumer, it’s all about the people you deal with, market to, interact with, argue with, etc.

EJ: How did your internship lead to a future position?

JS: Someone had just left on the B2B Marketing team and they had an opening. Instead of posting and filling it, they gave it to me as an internship (much cheaper that way!). Once the internship ended, they still needed the body and since I’d basically just completed a 4-month interview, they offered it to be full-time. I like to think that my attitude and work ethic contributed to why they wanted me to stay. I was young, had no responsibilities, and nothing to lose. I had no excuse not to bust my ass. If after 4 months doing the job they felt I wasn’t right for it, it would have been a failure in so many ways… and as I mentioned earlier, I did my best to get my failures out of the way early in my university career.

EJ: What are some of the best experiences/moments you had at CBC?

JS: Watching Hockey Night in Canada from the studio and control room was pretty surreal. I’m constantly guilty of forgetting how lucky I am to work in the industry that I do. What we do for ‘work’ is what many people do for entertainment and leisure. Most people put their time in 9-5 and then go home to watch their Leafs, or Raptors, or TFC, or whatever it is they watch. I get to work on that stuff for a living – they pay me to do it. I feel like I shouldn’t mention it because they’ll take it away from me. Anytime I give a tour of the TSN studios, or would take people up to see where Hockey Night in Canada was shot, the look on their face says it all.

cbc-news-app

I was also in an elevator during one of the network’s most high-profile events (called the Upfront – each network does it, to release the upcoming year’s schedule), and Don Cherry walked in. This wasn’t Hockey Night in Canada Don Cherry, this was “I’m tired and going home” Don Cherry (looking back, they’re pretty similar). He was in the elevator with just his publicist and me. He called Scott Moore in the elevator and was complaining that he saw no Rock’em Sock’em DVDs in the CBC Shop – he gave the impression he thought nobody cared enough to stock it, and wanted the Head of CBC Sports to do something about it. I could hear the phone call, because both are loud men, and Scott had told him it was because they were sold out – it was a good thing. Don wasn’t having it – he didn’t want people to be disappointed if they came in looking for it, and weren’t able to find it. His name was on it and he didn’t want to let anyone down. It was pretty cool. 

EJ: What advice do you have for current SPAD students looking for internships?

JS: Stop writing “Proficient in Microsoft Office” – for the love of God, if in 2017 you aren’t, you shouldn’t have a University degree. But as someone who went through the process, and who is now leading a team who also brings interns on (SPAD student Tanner Keelan is working on my team right now… I think I have terrified him), the biggest thing I can say is to find a way to stand apart. It’s so cliché, but it’s true – and that doesn’t mean add colour to your resume. It means understand your audience – your resume is the first step to get you in the door, but it’s not the only one. Pick up the phone, work some connections and don’t just apply for every job or posting because you need to find an internship. Passion comes through, and lack of it comes through thicker. One thing I’ve learned is that people on the other side of the table are much smarter than you, in that they’ve seen applications, resumes and interviewees from all over. Personally, I hate template resumes. I work in a creative-driven field and I still get the generic Google Search Result kind of resume / cover letter – make me laugh, make me think, make me realize you actually took time to apply to this, and that you care, and even more so, that you really want it, and you’re better than everyone else out there – and don’t just say it… show it. I don’t know how, and I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but you need to find a point of difference. Again… this is only my perspective. There are some places that will love the standard Times New Roman, Resume Objective-filled applications, and that’s fine, I just want no part of it.

 

Also (I tend to ramble), don’t be afraid. If you know nothing about an industry or a property, but you have a genuine interest, go for it, what’s the worst that could happen? At the end of the day, don’t lose sight of the fact that you are a student and you’re up against other students. Nobody has 10 years marketing experience that will blow you out of the water. Transcripts aren’t shared with employers (thank the lord in my case) – you all have one first impression and there’s no reason yours shouldn’t be better than the next person’s. Skills can be taught, talent and attitude cannot be. Use it. 

EJ: For your SPAD Field Trip, you traveled to Dallas to work with the Mavericks. How did that experience help you in your career?

JS: It makes for a really cool story to tell people when you talk about where you went to school and the types of things you’ve done. It’s a real-world experience and your experience will really depend on the people you’re working with / for. For my project specifically, the team at the Mavericks in the room that we were presenting to, weren’t that engaged, if I’m being honest. They heard us out, but they didn’t really talk to us about what we were presenting (maybe they were being526733_100530250116342_1527613181_n polite). What I did take from the whole experience actually took place before the presentation. I can’t speak on behalf of my whole group, but I think we all took some learning from it. Throughout the entire process – months before we actually went to Dallas – the Mav’s were very slow to get back to us and to provide info and even a topic for us to work on. When we finally got it, we started working on it. When we got to Dallas we were told we were on the last day, so we had a few more days to perfect it. On Day 1 in Dallas, they called our prof at the time, the late Steve Harrington, and changed the topic – we were 3 days away. So we had to scrap everything, start over and really buckle down. Remember, we were in our early 20s with the ENTIRE class, on this massive field trip. Teams were coming back from their presentations with Torpedo kegs, unwinding and celebrating (deservedly so) their completion of the project. We had to lock ourselves in a boardroom and get it done. It was the most realistic part of the entire process (looking back). There’s a lot of “Life Comes At You Fast” memes out there – this was a real version of all of them combined. We finished, did our presentation, and then got wrecked like everyone else (we presented on St. Pattys Day… the Gods were looking down on us). It was, and still remains, one of the most unique, real, emotional, unfair, infuriating and intoxicating (on many levels) moments of my young career. It was awesome.

EJ: I’ve heard that at one-point Tie Domi almost killed you! I’d love to hear that story.

JS: I worked on a show called Battle of the Blades where former NHL players were paired with Figure Skaters in a reality / fan-vote kind of show – he was one of the contestants on the show. The show took place at the old Maple Leaf Gardens in that first season (it eventually moved). Part of my job was ensuring our sponsors were not only taken care of, but we had a VIP reception afterwards in the Hot Stove Lounge where our clients would mingle, drink and interact with the skaters. Before getting to the party, I had to personally give a behind-the-scenes tour of Maple Leaf Gardens (poor me…) from a production and historical perspective. One of the fun facts was that Tie Domi refused to park his Mercedes Benz in the VIP parking lot outside with everyone else, but instead requested (demanded) that he have a personal security guard for his car (this was the CBC… those budget asks were not getting approved) or he park it inside in the Zamboni bay. So, naturally, he parked in the building. One night after the show had finished, the party had wrapped up and everyone had left, I was walking back to our production office when I saw his car. He and his girlfriend were walking towards it, heading home for the night. They got in, fired it up and instead of peeling out, he threw it in reverse and floored it (likely doing one of those cool, reverse-and-peel-out kind of things) – the problem, was that I was behind the car and it came straight at me. It would have been a cool way to go – hit by Tie Domi in the bowels of Maple Leaf Gardens, but I managed to get out of the way, and lived to tell the story.

EJ: You started at TSN in 2010, how has your role changed since you started to now?logo-5127942d986fa88da595d549cb899f32

JS: How much time do you have? I started in the marketing department responsible for the promotion of our programming. It was a really cool entry-level job to get your feet wet at the broadcaster. You dealt with every single department and got to know all the show producers. At the time, “Social Media” was still a new shiny tool – nobody at TSN was really responsible for it, or was taking it on, so I just decided to do it. Some of our personalities were already on it (Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger), but that aside, it was kind of mediocre, as it was always someone’s other duties as assigned (i.e. not in their job description). Everyone just kind of let me do it, which was awesome – or so I thought. Since I was the guy who was the ‘voice’ of TSN, it also meant I had to always be on. I was tweeting from SportsCentre, pushing news out from one of the top sports news brands in Canada; I was sending out programming information if live events were going late; I had to deal with angry viewers complaining about us being the Toronto Sports Network – the day started at 6am and ended around 1am. Eventually, a new team was created called Integrated Solutions that took a few people from various departments (Digital, Sales, Production and Marketing – in my case) to form a sales-driven team that was focused on developing programs and projects that weren’t traditional sales ideas (contests, features made with client taglines, etc.) and we weren’t tied to a specific platform. We were charged with coming up with multi-platform solutions to client problems – by any means necessary. As our group grew, and we saw internal and external success (if you’re an avid SportsCentre viewer, we created the RAM 1V1 segment – which has been on-air, and sponsored, for 4 straight years – the only ever sponsored program that runs every single day, for the entire year), our team expanded and eventually took over the Brand Partnerships team. Today, as I mentioned at the start, my team is responsible for all programs and pitches that go to clients – either re actively or proactively – we also have an execution team, that brings our ideas to life once they sell, and we have our production team that produces commercials, content and more, depending what we develop. 

2017Nov 9

Former SPAD Grad Interview with Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith
By: Tyler Rivest

During his time at Laurentian from 1998-2002, Bradley played on the Laurentian Voyageurs Mens Soccer Team. Bradley states, “It was probably the best time of my life, I made lots of friends and so many great connections.” Bradley then graduated from Laurentian with a SPAD degree in 2002. Bradley says, “one of the things I liked most about SPAD was the small group of students that I had with me in SPAD and how we were all so like minded.” If Bradley could give any improvements for the SPAD program, he would like to see more then one coop/internship Confed-1opportunity. He also liked that he was able to stay at home and save some money.

As stated earlier, Bradley is now a teacher for a high school in his hometown. However, before he made the switch to go to teachers college, Bradley found himself in the Sport Industry. Just after graduating, he landed a job as a sport organizer with Soccer Canada. This job allowed him to use all his skills that he learned during his time in SPAD. While working at this job, he did marketing, scheduling, event coordinating, etc. He worked this job for about three years and decided that it wasn’t for him. So, he packed his bags and moved back to his hometown and began his life as a teacher. Something that Bradley credits SPAD for is his presentation skills. He states, “while your in SPAD, you are always presenting. Where as other programs they hardly present at all. And that’s why I think SPAD students haConfed-2ve a big advantage coming out of school.”

Bradley also offered some advice for students that are currently in SPAD or looking to take SPAD in the future. He says, “In SPAD, you have to find that balance of working hard and getting all your work done and having a good time, meeting new people and developing your network.” Bradley believes that SPAD is one of the best programs Laurentian has to offer and is very well known in the industry. Bradley went on to say, “I wish I could still be there, playing soccer, hanging out with the guys. But at the same time, I’m happy with where I am and I have SPAD to thank for that.”

2017Aug 30

SPAD to Host Inaugural Northern Sport Industry Conference

SPAD has announced it’s first annual Northern Sports Industry Conference (NSIC) set to host over 20 sport business experts and over 100 students. The event is set to take place March 2nd to 5th 2017 and will take place both on campus and at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sudbury.

In addition to key note speakers Geoff Beattie, David Chilton, Brodie Lawson, and Ryan Benoit, speakers will be divided into three panels:

Panel #1: International Sport and Sponsorship

  • Andrew Baker – Director of Games, Canadian Olympic Committee
  • Francois Robert – Executive Director of Partnerships, Canadian Paralympic Committee
  • Andrew Greenlaw – Senior Director, Sponsorship Marketing and Strategy, CIBC
  • Jennifer Delvechhio – Senior Marketer, Coke
  • Mark Cecchetto – Business Executive Officer, Nestle

Panel #2: Leaders In Sport

  • Kyla Csumrik – Account Executive, Partnership Marketing, NHL
  • Alannah Della Vedova – Brand Specialist, Loyalty and Innovation, Rogers
  • Peter Cosentino – President, DEC Sports
  • Mark Soder – Senior Manager, Brand Marketing – Golf, RBC
  • Blaine Smith – President, Sudbury Wolves

Panel #3: Breaking Into The Industry

  • Mckenzie Young – Marketing Coordinator, Ottawa Senators
  • Stephen Tihal – Account Executive, Partnership Marketing, NHL
  • Tyler Fitch – Account Coordinator, Season Seat Services, Edmonton Oilers
  • Chris Ackroyd – Manager, In-game Communications, NHL
  • Scoot Rodgers – Manager, In-game Communications, NHL

Delegates will also have the opportunity to work in two different breakout sessions. One with Laurentian University’s Director of Digital Strategy, JP Rains and another with Joey Abrams, former Assistant General Manager of the Montreal Alouettes.

Students can take the time to learn, network, and enjoy themselves at the conference with a full weekend of planned activities, meals, and socials.

For More Information please visit: https://www.northernsportsconference.com/

Instagram: @NSIC_LU

Twitter: @NSIC_LU

Facebook: Northern Sports Industry Conference – NSIC

 

2017Aug 30

Coca-Cola & the Canadian Olympic Committee Visit SPAD

SPAD had the honour of welcoming SPAD grads Jennifer Delvecchio (SPAD ’05), Senior Manager – Strategic Marketing with Coca-Cola, and Andrew Baker (SPAD ’05), Director – Games for the Canadian Olympic Committee as guest speakers on November 21st and 22nd.

Jennifer spoke first with a group students on November 21st, teaching them about her experiences from SPAD and her journey post-grad. She shared her experiences working with athletes like Lebron James and Genie Bouchard and provided valuable advice on working with athletes and pairing them with your products for endorsement.

Growing up in a small town, Jennifer made steps towards gender equality from a young age. She was the first girl to play hockey in her hometown and emphasized the fact that she can do anything regardless of the fact that she is a girl; “I am a person or athlete first and a woman second.”

On November 22nd, Jennifer and Andrew spoke together in both sections of second year sport marketing classes. They focused on the Olympics and how their jobs intersect and work together at the Canadian Olympic Committee and Coca-Cola.

Andrew told SPAD students about his commitment to the C.O.C. and how hard he had to work to get to where he was. He started with the organization right out of SPAD and climbed the ladder by making himself indispensable no matter what role he was in. From data entry to reception he always made sure to go above and beyond.

Jennifer and Andrew ended their presentations by listing “JD and AB’s Final Thoughts”

JD’s Final Thoughts

  1. Your relationships are critical in your career
  2. Your reputation is your professional currency
  3. Self evaluate – be brutally honest
  4. This business is a lifestyle
  5. You can have it all, just not all at the same time
  6. Enjoy the ride

AB’s Final Thoughts

  1. Work hard… really hard… really, really hard
  2. Be in the right environment
  3. Use the skills of your generation
  4. Find your leadership reference guide and follow it

SPAD would like to thank Jennifer and Andrew for sharing their experiences and providing valuable advice to our students. We wish them the best on their future endeavours and hope to see them again soon.

2016Jan 5

SPAD Speaker Series: Joey Abrams

 montreal-que-january-28-2014-veteran-receiver-s-jOn December 14, SPAD was pleased to welcome former SPAD Grad Joey Abrams, who was the Assistant Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel for the Montreal Alouettes, had just been promoted days earlier to Assistant General Manager. Joey shared his numerous experiences in his journey to becoming a CFL Executive with some students interested in football operations. He talked about various jobs that got him to where he is today; a successful SPAD Grad. Joey Abrams has been with the Montreal Alouettes for almost 11 years, and most of his professional career.

Joey was adamant when saying that for SPAD students our vast alumni are our greatest tools; they all want to help support current and post grads, and he commented on the importance of Tom Blake’s new mentorship program that will be starting up soon. A big part of the talk we had with Joey was about how he took advantage of opportunities. When Joey graduated from SPAD he told us he took an internship with the Alouettes. moving from Sudbury to Montreal for the opportunity, even though it was unpaid and he was giving up a paid job in Sudbury. You might wonder why somebody would do that, but Joey explained it was because he had a dream, he was young, and he wanted to take advantage of the door that was opened for him. He always wanted to be a General Manager for a professional football team. Without that unpaid internship and taking that opportunity, he might not be where he is today.

IMG_2811The small intimate setting in the new SPAD Learning Lab allowed for lots of interaction between Joey and the students, as Joey answered every one question and gave some very useful pointers such as needing to recognize that failure can be a better teacher than success. He also noted that during confrontations take nothing personally – it’s just business, and finally not to be afraid to disagree. He indicated that these points have proven to being crucial to him being successful in his career and in life.

A cool story that Joey told was about a coach with the Alouettes. This story was about the first team meeting every year where they would discuss plans for the upcoming season. Everyone expecting to see his new formations and tactics to win games and every year he goes up and writes “its a people business.” I think this relates to SPAD and what Joey was trying to tell those who attended. The message is about networking and how powerful it is; the more people you know the more doors that will open for you.

As a last takeaway from our talk with Joey I think the most important aspect of what he said was to set your goals, and to set them high. He gave us 3 steps; Where do you want to be in “x” number of years; how are you going to get there; and then once you are done you need to fight for it. I believe the students who attended got some great insight on how they can improve themselves everyday, and for that, thank you Joey Abrams.

Joey Abrams (SPAD ‘04) provided the group with a unique learning experience along with some advice and knowledge that students do not have the opportunity to get every day. On behalf of SPAD, we would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to us, and wish him good luck with the Montreal Alouettes.