Archive for the ‘Industry Experiences’ 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 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.

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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. 

2017Aug 30

SPAD Internship Profile: Matt Mueller and MLSE

Fourth Year SPAD student Matthew Mueller did his internship with Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment. Matt, through his busy schedule, was able to give us some insight into his role with MLSE in their Global Partnerships department and took the time to offer up some advice to future and current SPAD students on internship opportunities.

SB: What is it like to be working for MLSE, one of the biggest sports organizations in Canada and even the world? Were and/or are you a fan of any of their sports teams? Is that what drove you to work for them?

MM: Working for MLSE was an all around great experience. It was a tremendous experience to learn first hand from some of the best minds and personalities in the sports and entertainment industry. The great thing about interning with MLSE is that they provide you so many opportunities to be involved and learn about many different aspects of the sports industry. It was both enjoyable and educational to be part of an organization that is so highly regarded within Canada and even around the world. Before my internship I was a fan of their teams, but that is not the only factor that led me to applying to MLSE. Looking at MLSE as a whole, it is obvious that they are an organization that strives to be better every single day. They are a leader in the sports industry and are always looking for the next great idea, which is what drove me to apply for their organization.

SB: Can you give us an idea of what your internship is all about? What are your duties and day-to-day activities?

MM: My internship focused on servicing of MLSE’s partners on a day-to-day basis. My responsibilities varied every day depending on what was taking place over the coming weeks. Some days I would be busy helping plan events, while other days I would be fulfilling partner requests for things such as merchandise or tickets. I also had some regular tasks such as sitting in on status calls with partners.

SB: While you are working is there a sense of pride that comes with working for such a historic team?

MM: There’s definitely a huge sense of pride that comes with working for an organization like MLSE. When you look at their teams, they are so well known and highly regarded within Canada. The Maple Leafs also have such an outstanding and storied history that it is hard not to be proud to work for the organization.

SB: What advice could you give to current SPAD students that will be applying for internships in the future?

MM: One piece of advice I have for SPAD students is to do two different internships if they have the chance. Internships are such a great way to get a first hand learning experience and one of the great things about SPAD is that we are given the opportunity to have two internships. Another piece of advice I have is to apply for one internship in the position you have the most interest in, and another position you know nothing about. Going into the internship period, I could see myself working in partnerships, so it was a great way to “test out” the position and see if I really would like to work in that area. On the other hand, I knew very little about team operations and working for TFC taught me about a side of the industry that we do not learn about in SPAD and that I knew almost nothing about.

SB: What was your favourite or most memorable moment?

MM: It’s hard to pick just one moment; there were so many great experiences throughout my time with MLSE. However, if I had to choose one moment it would probably be GP Summit. GP Summit was an event in which MLSE invites their partners for a one-day conference to hear from leaders in the sports industry. The speakers and panels discussed industry best practices for sports partnerships, as well as the direction they are headed in the future. The day also included the live announcement of Sebastian Giovinco’s MLS MVP award as well as a panel with Brendan Shanahan and Masai Ujiri. Overall, the day was a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

SB: What are your future career plans? Has the internship given you any foresight into what you would like to do after graduation?

MM: I am still unsure of what I would like to do in the future, however both of my internships with MLSE definitely opened my eyes to the many options in the industry. It was a great opportunity to see how many different departments and how much work is put in to the day-to-day operations of a professional sports team. Although I don’t know exactly what I would like to do, both the team ops and global partnerships internships were exciting and fun jobs, and I could see myself doing similar positions in the future.

SPAD would like to thank Matt for taking the time to speak to us about his past and current experiences. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our current/prospective students to hear about some of the internships and jobs available to SPAD students.

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

 

2016Jul 18

Queen’s Sports Industry Conference

QSICThe sport business industry is one of the most difficult and competitive industries to break into. As a result, building a diverse and resourceful network of industry professionals is a core lesson taught to SPAD students upon their first moments in the program. From January 22nd to the 24th, seven SPAD students applied these lessons at the 11th annual Queen’s Sports Industry Conference (QSIC). The seven representatives of Laurentian University were among 120 delegates selected from a 500 student pool all of whom applied to attend this year’s conference.

The conference opened Thursday with a keynote address from Gord Hendren, President and CEO of Charlton Strategic Research. Hendren, a Queen’s Commerce graduate, shared his over 20 years of experience in providing strategic insights and marketing advice with the delegates. The Queen’s graduate was instrumental in the feasibility studies conducted prior to the expansion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, and most recently Toronto FC. Upon completion of the keynote, delegates commuted to the Four Points Hotel where the second keynote of the evening was held. Thursday evening featured Jim Barker, General Manager of the Toronto Argonauts to share his experiences both on and off the football field with QSIC delegates.

Friday was highlighted by the Breaking into Sports Panel which featured company representatives from Gatorade, MLSE, Eventcorp, S&E, and the Smith School of Business. Panelists shared their experiences in the industry and each provided tips on how delegates could make a lasting impression with potential employers. Delegates then moved into the Gatorade Case Classic where Gatorade representatives challenged delegates to create a marketing plan for a specific target market. In just under two hours, delegates formed a detailed marketing plan with the winning team awarded a trip to watch a Toronto Raptors game in the Gatorade suite with company executives.

The highlight of Saturday was the 2016 Baseball Free Agency simulation. Delegates were separated into three categories: players, agents and MLB team representatives. Each role brought along specific objectives that delegates were to obtain when negotiating player contracts. The simulation was presented by Sportsnet with data assistance from the Toronto Blue Jays Analytics team. Upon completion of the simulation, delegates reconnected for the closing keynote address from Bob Nicholson, former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Toronto Blue Jays.

All SPAD students were thoroughly impressed with the conference. “QSIC was a very well run, engaging conference that allowed students to network with professionals while also featuring the opportunity to experience a present day problem case competition,” said second year SPAD student Ryley Robinson. When asked about attending the conference in 2017, Robinson said “that’s a given”.

The Sports Administration program would like to thank the Smith School of Business and the entire Queen’s Sports Industry Conference organizing committee for their hospitality during the conference. The countdown is on for QSIC 2017!

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.

 

2015Nov 19

John Molson Sport Marketing Conference – SPAD Style

JMSM

30 #SPADbeauties out in force in Montreal

On November 5th, thirty SPAD students made their annual trip to Montreal for the 2015 John Molson Sport Marketing (JMSM) Conference hosted by the John Molson School of Business and Concordia University. Conference organizers were thrilled to announce that a record number of conference delegates attended the 20th anniversary of the event. SPAD students had the opportunity of networking with other schools from all over Canada and countless business professionals from the sport industry. 5 speaker panels, keynote speakers, a marketing case competition, a dinner gala, social outings each night of the conference, and for the first time ever – workshops, ensured the weekend was not only a busy but memorable one.

Thursday night kicked off with a panel discussion a first in JMSM history; Growing the Beautiful Game panel which featured executives from Major League Soccer and its Clubs where they discussed the quick rise and popularity of soccer in North America. Following the panel discussion, delegates moved into the adjacent room for a Networking Cocktail where we continued the discussion and met students from across North America. Thursday evening concluded with a night out at Hardwax Montreal. The JMSM classic of Rep Your Team was the theme of the night. Almost everyone in attendance showed up sporting their favourite team.

Friday kicked off with the blueprint for franchise for success panel which looked into the high-level strategies that two of the NHL’s elite teams implement for success on and off the ice. Geoff Molson talked about how even though he owned the Montreal Canadians, ultimately the team belonged to the fans. The importance of the fans was prevalent throughout this panel. Fans, and how you engage fans is very important in the sports world and I believe the SPAD students in attendance understood this fact – this is what our program is about – recognizing the importance of many different areas of sport. This interesting panel was followed by the backbone of franchise operations with Jason Faris and Ian Clarke. This panel dove into the strategies teams are implementing to achieve long-term sustainability and growth. From day-to-day operations, to costing, to new investments and development, this panel revealed how a sports franchise operates behind the scenes. As a student interested in the business of sport, it was inspiring to hear and learn how sport is run behind closed doors.

JMSM then launched their first ever workshops. SPAD students had the opportunity to attend 1 of 3 workshops of their choosing including; 1) the successful job applicant. In this workshop students learned how to stand out over the competition and what employers are looking for. 2) A new star rising: overview of the experience from re-building a hockey franchise (Part 1) where delegates had the opportunity to understand how to deal with the challenges a franchise can experience during change; and finally 3) how to get your foot in the door which was with two former JMSM executives who have successfully broken into the industry and how their experiences can help us do the same.

After this delegates had a short break then went to their second workshop. These workshops consisted of public relations & crisis management, where speakers talked about how every organization must deal with unexpected circumstances and learn how to plan and react in the eye of the public. The next option was a new star is rising: experiences from rebuilding a hockey franchise (Part 2). And finally the last workshop choice for this session was marketing through sport, where delegates learned how to create a successful business relationship with a sports organization, from the corporation’s perspective. Delegates then were treated to dinner at Les Rotisseries St-Hubert followed by a casual night out.

Saturday started off with the next panel, Engaging a New Generation. The panel discussed strategies teams are using to garner fan involvement and loyalty. This panel discussed many interesting topics, including how current trends are showing that fans want social media interactions more than they want an autograph. This proves how powerful social media is as a tool for fan engagement. The next panel was The Discretionary Dollar where the panel discussed top level management strategies for selling tickets and driving revenue while maintaining a healthy profit. A big discussion during this panel was regarding ticket pricing and the secondary ticket market. It was mentioned that the secondary ticket market can harm a team due to the fact that once the ticket goes on the secondary market the team can no longer control the brand image associated with the ticket.

Next was one of the best parts of the weekend which was a one on one with Ken Holland, who is arguably one of the most successful General Managers in NHL history. Ken shared some stories from his time as a player in the NHL all the way to his 4 Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. Ken touched on some very key points when running any organization and that is to develop people at their own pace, it’s the only way to tap into their potential, and how every organization needs difference makers.

SPAD students then went to their final workshop where they could choose from: The art of negotiations where delegates were given the chance to learn how to negotiate from the best, former MLB general manager, Ned Colletti. Other workshop topics included engaging a new generation which looked at the panel from earlier and put it into a more hands on context and finally delegates had the opportunity to attend a workshop focusing on “inside the sponsorship deal” where speakers illustrated the anatomy of a sponsorship deal and the importance of activation.

The night ended with a keynote closing address from Bill Clement during the conference gala. The annual JMSM conference is a great opportunity for SPAD students to socialize with other aspiring sports marketers, as well as gain insight from the industry’s top leaders in the historic city of Montréal. SPAD delegates can attest that the invaluable information gained and learned from attending this event over the last few years, and the wisdom shared from guest speakers has contributed to our knowledge and experience and elevates SPAD students – we are contenders and the future of the sports business industry.

2015Feb 3

Internship Profile – Shawn Salaj (Montreal Alouettes)

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch 

For decades, the Canadian Football League (CFL) has provided Sports Administration students with an opportunity to launch their careers in the sports industry. SPAD Grad Marcel Desjardins began his career as a communications assistant with the CFL League Office, eventually rising the ranks to general manager of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. During the 2014 season, each of the four CFL eastern division teams had a SPAD student working within their organization. Shawn Salaj spent his third consecutive year as a Training Camp Assistant with the Montreal Alouettes, an experience that give him a tremendous amount of practical experience that he hopes to use in the future. We sat down with Shawn to learn more about his job:

 

Q: Hi Shawn, thank you for taking the time to speak with the SPAD Blog. I understand you are coming off of a busy summer and I’m looking forward to finding out more about your time in the CFL. Can you tell us more about how you obtained the position?

SS – For sure. I actually have a neighbour back in Ottawa who is related to a former SPAD grad who works in football operations for the Montreal Alouettes. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him over the years and he is actually how I found out about SPAD. Once he found out that I had accepted the offer to enroll in SPAD, he mentioned a training camp assistant position I could apply for if I was looking to gain some experience in the field. I applied for the position after my first year of university and I was lucky enough to get the position. I’ve been going back every year since.
Q: Can you describe an average day on the job?

SS – Basically my main job was to drive players and coaches around. Training camp was held at Bishop’s University which is about two hours outside of Montreal and it was my job to pick people up at the airport in Montreal and bring them out to camp. I also had to drive players to MRI’s if they got injured. When I wasn’t driving, I was just trying to help out with general administration tasks in the office they had set up at the University. That included, handing out room keys and meal cards to players, entering transactions into the database, assembling the players’ season ticket packages, and a lot of other things.

 

Q:  That’s amazing that you got to be so close with the players. It seems like you put a lot of hours into your job.  What was the greatest challenge that you faced?

SS – The greatest challenge I faced definitely had to be the fact that I had to drive around Montreal every day. Being from Ottawa, I had never driven in Montreal by myself before and now I was responsible for getting players and coaches where they had to be. It definitely took a while to figure out the airport and how to get to parking as well as figuring out how aggressive I had to drive in the city.


Q: Is this a career you could see yourself doing?

SS – I could definitely see myself working in the CFL in some capacity. I love the game and I’ve really enjoyed my years with the Alouettes. I don’t really know what aspect of the business I would like to be involved in down the road because I’ve enjoyed doing everything so far but I would definitely like to work for a CFL organization some day.

10386277_10204005272109610_7896854097736485583_n

Shawn Salaj & I at the conclusion of a 2014 preseason game between the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Montreal Alouettes.

Q: What is the most important tool or skill that you learned in class that helped you succeed in your position?

SS – Honestly, the importance of networking is 100% the most important thing SPAD has taught me. I’ve always been that shy kid so I really had to make an effort to get myself out there and networking. Getting to know people with the Alouettes has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I’ve had the chance to meet some great people over the past few years.

 

Q: I know you are also passionate about CFL Football. What was the highlight of your respective experiences?

SS – The highlight of my experience would probably have to be when I had the opportunity to drive Chad Johnson this past summer. I just remember picking him up from the airport and there were people lining up to take pictures with him. I also had the chance to buy him McDonald’s which was an honour. Definitely throwing that one on the résumé.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for SPAD students who are looking to get into the industry?

SS – My advice to SPAD students is to start early. Don’t wait for your fourth year internship to get experience. Apply for positions you may be interested in right now. It’s a great résumé builder and having that experience before your internship could be the difference between landing an internship you really want and having an internship you are not all that interested in.

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences with the readers about your experience working in the CFL this summer.

2015Jan 16

SPAD at the World Juniors – Jan Egert (Video Coach of Swiss National Junior Team)

By Blog Contributor David Maika

Jan Egert is a SPAD graduate and is currently the Coordinator of Central Scouting for the NHL, as well as the Video Coach & Scouting Coordinator for the Mississauga Steelheads. Jan also recently worked as the Video Coach of the Swiss National Junior team at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Jan was kind enough to give SPAD Blog the time to ask him a few questions regarding his experience at the World Juniors and beyond.

DM: Thank you for giving SPAD Blog the time to ask a few questions. Before we get into the World Juniors, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

JE: I was born and raised in Switzerland. Moved to Canada in 1999 and grew up in
Westport, Ontario. I came to the Laurentian University SPAD program for five years. Completed four years of my undergrad and then the MBA in Sport Management at Laurentian. After that, I made my way down to Toronto. The sports stuff really started with my internship in SPAD in my 3rd year. I completed a four-month communications internship with the Ottawa Senators. There I met a few people who helped me out along the way; be it as mentors or as connections. I then started out as a scout for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Just a volunteer position and it’s really just developed from there. I made my move down here (Toronto area) and had to get a job outside of the sports industry. I worked in the travel industry for a couple years but always kept my thumb on the pulse of Mississauga. I was hired as a scout and then expanded to the Video Coach and that’s eventually where things started paying off on the video side of things. I started meeting more and more people and my network grew stronger. Then the Swiss National Team came around and I contacted a colleague that been quite successful in Switzerland. I figured I would see if there was an opportunity and the shoe fit. They added me to the coaching staff for the World Juniors.

DM: Could you give a brief description of your role as Video Coach for the Swiss
National Junior Team?

JE: My role of Video Coach essentially is to watch the games live on a laptop, through
the video stream. I mark anything and everything hockey related – from turnovers, breakouts, power plays, penalty kills, scoring chances, individual player shifts. That allows us to review in the intermission, to make an adjustment on the power play or teach a defenceman or forward to chip the puck here or make a play there for example. That was the in-game aspect. Pre-game I always analyzed the opponents’ previous game, power play, penalty kill so we could find any tendencies. It’s my job to identify tendencies for the coaching staff so we’re properly prepared for our next opponent.


DM: As a whole, how would you describe your experience at the World Junior
Tournament?

JE: It was pretty neat to realize the magnitude of the event I was involved in and that I
had a direct impact, basically having a horse in the race. That was a weird feeling, it was really cool, but at the same time intimidating. I learned a lot during the two and a half weeks that I was part of the coaching staff. I think I learned more in that than I would have in a year or two in other places. It was a tremendous experience; eye-opening, humbling and reassuring that maybe the method to my madness wasn’t so far fetched.

 

DM: You are currently the Central Scouting Coordinator for the National Hockey League
AND you also work for the Mississauga Steelheads as the Video Coordinator and
Scouting Coordinator. How do you manage to balance both positions?

 

JE: I don’t sleep haha. It’s not easy. It really isn’t. The good thing is there is a lot of
synergy between the two. There’s a lot of overlap but ultimately both Mississauga and the NHL are very accommodating to my schedule as well. They’re both aware of the other so I’m very grateful. I don’t take advantage of it. In terms of work, I don’t count the
hours because I think I’d just say “you’re crazy for doing what you’re doing”. I think at
age 27, I’d rather put in the hours now where I have more flexibility; not in 10 years when I may have additional priorities, be it a family or whatever else there might be at that time.

DM: So you’re a graduate from the SPAD program. What aspect from SPAD has helped
you reach the positions you are in today?

JE: For one, the internship program. It allowed me to see how things worked in the
background. As a student, you don’t really know how things all work until you see it first-hand. You have to have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn lessons along the way, so for me the internship program was tremendous. In terms of curriculum, there’s not really one thing I can pinpoint. The entire SPAD curriculum was a foundation
and after that, it’s really what you make of it. There’s no golden ticket, no golden key to
say do it this way and you’re going to be successful. I think everyone is different and
every opportunity is different. Some people get lucky along the way, some people have to work for their luck. There’s no rule of thumb or guide.

The presentations we had to do throughout our tenure, being forced out of our comfort zone, being asked to take a chance are extremely valuable as well. Those are the kind of lessons I think that differentiate SPAD from a lot of other programs. Making mistakes is acceptable, as long as it becomes a lesson, not a habit. My field trip was in San Jose and going into it completely out of my comfort zone, not knowing what to expect, not knowing the people you’re presenting to. But I believed in my group members (Steve Rachkowski, Erika Campbell, Erin Vagnini & Nicole Thebaud) & myself; and understood that “If we’re prepared, we’re going to be okay here.” It’s those fundamental lessons that are extremely valuable and it’s not so much the 4 Ps of Marketing or steps 1,2,3. I don’t really apply that, especially in my role anymore, but I think the professionalism, the dedication to what we do and the drive to do things well. I think those are all things that SPAD breeds and I think it’s those kind of traits or characteristics that differentiate us from everybody else and that’s the kind of stuff that make us successful.

DM: It seems to be working for you.

JE: So far so good. I’ve fooled them up to this point anyway haha

DM: Do you have any advice you would like to share with the current SPAD students?

JE: My advice builds on each other. One is take a chance, swing for the fence. It’s better to swing for the fence, try to hit a home run and end up with a ground-rule double than to not swing at all. Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it. Be realistic; don’t think it’s easy to get into the hockey world or the sports world for that matter. I’ve invested many, many hours, made a lot sacrifices but I’ve also enjoyed every moment along the way. Swing for the fences, put yourself in the best position you can. Take a chance, believe in yourself and when you have that opportunity, make sure you’re prepared to make the most of it. People are going to react different ways and there’s things you can’t control, so don’t try to control them. Everything you can control – look to do so, make sure you’re prepared, make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row, so that when you’re stepping up to the plate, you know it’s a fastball coming and not a knuckle. Swing away.

DM: Make sure there’s no R.A Dickey knuckleballs coming your way.

JE: As cheesy as it sounds, it’s those metaphors and those models that you can lean on. I chuckle to myself regularly thinking about it. I haven’t made it far, but I’m quite happy with where I am at this stage of my career; and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

SPAD Blog would like to thank Jan for taking the time to talk and we wish him all the
best in the New Year!