Archive for the ‘SPAD Guest Speakers’ Category

2017Nov 14

YOU’RE IN THE GAME!!!

 

Tom-Blake Cover Photo

By: Jacob Smith
November 14th, 2017

 

“You’re here baby! You’re in the game!” The phrase that stuck out to a tentative class of upper year SPAD students on the first day of sales. “You have to be ready. You have to start building relationships now, don’t wait until you’re in the real world, YOU’RE IN THE REAL WORLD. Everyone is always so eager to start their life after school, but what students don’t realize is the relationships you make now can propel you into future success. Don’t wait for something to happen, go out and make it happen.”

 

Tom Blake is currently the CEO of Sprout Wellness Solutions Inc. and has been for the last 6 years. He is also currently involved with the SPAD program at Laurentian teaching Championship Selling to the upper year students. Although Tom’s time is mainly occupied by Sprout and teaching, he still has a hand in Optimé, his first entrepreneurial endeavour. Optimé started in 1994 after an 18-year relationship with Proctor & Gamble ending as National Sales Manager. Optimé’s main purpose is to enhance sales tools, as well as build relationships in business, and has proved itself to be one of the top sales programs worldwide. Tom now uses those sales tools and techniques to enhance students social skills in his Championship Selling course.

 

Although from Sudbury, Tom did not pursue the Sports Administration program at Laurentian until spending time in Sackville, New Brunswick attending Mount Allison University for hockey. “There was a lot of shenanigans going on there and it was hard to focus on school, I was struggling academically. I forget how I found out about the program at Laurentian, but when I heard it was a Business Commerce degree that related to sports, I knew it was for me.”

 

Optime

Tom’s undergraduate internship was with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. After running and organizing events, as well as managing people on a daily basis, Tom felt the way he handled everything was a main contributing factor to future employment. “The Executive Director of CAHA Gordon Juckes wrote a letter outlining what a remarkable job I had done throughout my internship.” This propelled Tom into a career in sales with Proctor & Gamble.

 

When Tom first started working, he had many options. Job offers from the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Penguins, along with 11 other companies gave him many different opportunities. On his last interview, Tom was asked to give multiple examples of problem solving. After already giving two examples, he was asked to give another one, as it was a big issue within the organization. Tom then looked at the interviewer and said, “I’ve already given you enough answers, when do I start.” To which they replied, “You start Monday.” Tom touches on the importance of self-confidence quite frequently and emphasizes the truth behind demanding what you want in order to get it.

 

P&G

After careful consideration, Tom decided to take the Proctor & Gamble job as it would secure him financially. He also saw future growth opportunity within P&G that wasn’t as prevalent within some of the sport organizations he met with previously. He was very driven right off the bat, “I told P&G, I’m going to be a manger, I’m going to be a leader.” Tom said as he touched on the importance of having strong self-confidence.

 

Tom proceeded to talk about his experience with confidence early in his career. The CEO of Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment (MLSE) and owner of Knob Hill Farms at the time Steve Stavro, and Tom had an interesting encounter in one of Steve’s grocery stores. “I told him he had a problem in his stores, and he ended up yelling at me in front of everyone. He then started pointing at me demanding for my boss, until I pointed right back and told him I was the boss.” Tom then touched on the encounter. “Respect is a big thing in business. Once Proctor & Gamble heard about it, and how I was able to stand up to the retailer seeing as how they are supposed to have all the power, it was almost as if I had a halo around me.” He then went on to say how it was a very career-defining moment, as he was evidently more respected afterward.

 

sprout b&w ClipartTom’s unique style of leadership really came to light once asked about his biggest accomplishment. “My biggest accomplishment is leading people and having tremendous people results. I promoted a lot of people at P&G because I really tried to care and listen. I challenged people and tried to get the best out of them.” It was interesting to hear Tom talk about his biggest accomplishment relating to people and not personal achievement. “It’s all about people, there’s nothing more than people. They are very difficult to manage, but you have to love working with them and I was lucky enough to be good at that.”

 

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Since being placed in the real world, Tom had some advice for students in the SPAD program. “Develop a track record and realize you’re in the real world. None of this talk about waiting to get into the real world after school. Get results and demonstrate an ability to drive change. It doesn’t matter how minuscule, you must demonstrate success in everything you do and constantly get results. If you’re the person that’s the most proactive, you will be sure to get a great job from that. You have to be really good today. You have to show success beyond what other people are doing. It’s not all about marks, it’s about getting results. You’re in the game baby!”

 

Contributor: Tom Blake

2016Jul 18

SPAD Speaker Series – Richard Peddie

Richard PeddieOn March 1, 2016, SPAD was pleased to welcome as a guest speaker, former MLSE President and established writer Richard Peddie. Richard made his way up to Sudbury to share his numerous experiences in his journey to becoming a sport executive as well as some key leadership lessons that he learned over his successful career. On behalf of SPAD, thank you to Ryley Robinson for organizing this event. Richard was adamant when he said how impressed he was with the initiative that Ryley showed. And from that Ryley had this to say “After this experience, I saw first had the power of social media. I was able to reach out to Mr. Peddie through twitter and he immediately responded to me. He was very interested in coming to Sudbury and speaking with SPAD students. It was a pleasure working with a true professional, considering his flexibility and battling the weather (Welcome to Sudbury!). I really enjoyed organizing this event because both Mr. Peddie, the SPAD faculty, and the students were all very passionate about the event.”

Richard started his talk by going over how powerful he believes the millennial workforce is now and has the potential to be. He believes that visiting universities like he did here at Laurentian is an excellent way to develop young sport leaders; the sport leaders that SPAD strives to build every day. Richard’s talk largely revolved around his “leadership gym bag”. A concept that involves putting every leadership lesson in the bag and when you need them the most pull them out and use them. To get his point across of how important this gym bag was he went over 7 key leadership lessons that he felt would reflect well on the audience. The lesson that struck the audience the most was lesson 5; which is getting your ticket punched. What this lesson teaches is that to be successful you need to do multiple jobs and get many experiences before you are ready for the big leagues; this is a lesson that all SPAD students should keep in mind as they develop themselves into sport business professionals.

After Richard’s talk he opened the floor to questions and challenged the audience to ask good articulate questions and SPAD did not disappoint. In response to a question about how students can make themselves more marketable, his answer showed how much he believes in his leadership lessons. He reiterated the importance of having a vision, having vales, and getting engaged: “everything you do, do it to make yourself better and you will become more marketable.” Another good question was asked about how to translate leadership skills into entry level jobs when new grads aren’t given many leadership opportunities when they are first starting out. Richard answered beautifully by saying that even if the opportunities don’t present themselves, go out and make the opportunities yourself; brainstorm new ideas and always look to solve problems. After an excellent Q & A session Richard was kind enough to stay behind and sign autographs and take pictures with the audience thus making the experience more memorable.

Richard Peddie provided the group with a unique learning experience along with some valuable advice and insight that students do not have the opportunity to get every day. On behalf of SPAD, we would like to thank Richard for taking the time to talk with us and providing some great examples of true leadership in action. 

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 21

SPAD Speaker Series: Bruce MacDonald

bruceOn November 12, SPAD Students were treated to their first speaker of this year’s SPAD Speaker Series. SPAD was pleased to welcome SPAD Grad Bruce MacDonald, who is the President and CEO of Imagine Canada. Bruce shared his experiences throughout his schooling and various jobs that got him to where he is today – a successful SPAD Grad. Bruce has been with Imagine Canada for almost two years and before that he held high-level positions with many organizations including CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada .

Bruce had a different childhood, he talked about how he grew up with his parents working at carnivals. “I got over the fear of talking to strangers,” He talked about how he learned to sell at a very young age from working for his parents at carnival games. Bruce talked about Social Good, the field he is in. He brought up 3 key areas of social good that companies can use; social purpose, social enterprise, and social good for profit. The room was captivated by Bruce and students found it very interesting to learn about a sector that doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as professional sport.

Bruce talkFollowing Bruce’s talk “The Changing Nature of Social Good,” the class was then offered the opportunity to ask questions that allowed Bruce to give the class insight on a variety of other topics. This included advice on what he thought was one of the most important things to do in order to be successful: network. Network whenever you have the chance because it can help you in the long run. The people you network with may not get you a job, but they can help you and give you chances that you may not get any other way. More insight was given when Bruce talked about how adaptability is the new key competency. With all the trends in the world, you have to be willing to change.

Bruce MacDonald (SPAD’83) gave the group a unique learning experience and some advice and knowledge that students do not get every day. On behalf of SPAD we would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to us, and good luck at Imagine Canada!

2014Dec 15

SPAD Speaker Series – Andrew Baker (Canadian Olympic Committee)

By Blog Contributor David Maika

The Olympics are a global spectacle that brings the world together every two years to marvel at world-class talent. The Olympics also require immeasurable behind the scenes preparation from Olympic Committees across the world. For 2005 SPAD Grad Andrew Baker, the passion for the Olympics has been burning for the past 9 years, as he is currently the Director of Games for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).

 

SPAD students were given the opportunity to network with Baker, as he took the time out of his busy schedule to come to Sudbury. Baker has been involved with 4 Olympics and 2 Pan American Games and was adamant on how students need to “create your own luck.”  Baker knows what it takes to reach the top and he wanted to share his journey working with the COC with current SPAD students.Even during his time in SPAD, Baker was passionate about being involved with the Olympics. He expressed his interest to professors and even reached out to a former SPAD graduate for an internship opportunity. Though he did not get hired for the position, he created his own luck. He showed his passion and was offered a job with the COC upon graduating in 2005. Though it was only a five-month contract, Baker worked hard, created his own luck and was offered another contract.

 

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Andrew Baker speaks to SPAD students from all four years about his experiences at various Olympics and PanAm games, including Vancouver 2010.

In 2006, Baker was promoted to the Team Operations Coordinator, where he coordinated the logistics for the 2007 Pan Am games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Baker talked about how these events helped him develop the skills required for the job and how he “learned to work in a pressure cooker environment.” Baker was again promoted, this time to Project Manager in 2008. His responsibilities included implementing the logistics plans for the Canadian team at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Vancouver Games was Baker’s favourite experience to this date, where he lived and worked in the Olympic village and was able to share and experience the excitement of Canada’s national pride being displayed. Baker then worked as the Manger of Logisticsfrom January 2012 to February 2013 before being promoted to Director of Games. Baker is currently working on the Pan American Games that are to be held in Toronto next summer, where he wants to help host one of the most successful Pan Am Games to date.

 

After laying out the timeline of his career, Baker explained his thoughts and what current SPAD students can do now to make their mark. Baker stressed the importance of networking, adding value to every task and always striving to learn. Learn by asking questions, listening, not being afraid to make mistakes and by writing your learning experiences down.

 

SPAD students were given a tremendous opportunity to listen to an industry professional and learn from the experiences he shared. Students were also given a question period, where Baker offered insightful answers. On behalf of all SPAD students, we would like to thank Andrew Baker for speaking to SPAD students and we wish him all the best at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games!

2014Nov 3

The Link Between Sport & Business – Mark Cecchetto

By Blog Contributor Alex Saunders

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

 

Mark Cecchetto, a 1998 SPAD graduate and current Vice-President (Marketing Frozen Food/Pizza) at Nestlé Canada, stood amidst a group of eager and curious SPAD students. This was the second opportunity for many of the current SPAD students to hear from this successful alumnus, as Cecchetto had previously visited SPAD classes. In addition to providing invaluable insight into marketing for the members of the second year marketing class, the topic of the day’s second discussion focussed primarily on providing students with relatable and relevant professional advice stemming from lessons learned from Cecchetto’s professional journey.

 

Since graduating 16 years ago, Cecchetto has worked for Onyx Marketing Group Inc, and Weston Bakeries before joining the ranks at Nestlé Canada in 2004 as a Marketing Manager. This former SPAD student has been very successful, as demonstrated by his rise from a Marketing Manager to becoming Vice-President of Marketing for the Frozen Food/Pizza division.

 

While Cecchetto’s work experience and professional successes have been outside of the sport industry, the link between sport and business was a prevalent theme throughout the discussion. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” was a tagline referred to often in the discussion as Cecchetto made the link between the competitive side of business and sport.  He pointed often to his disdain for losing and how in order to be a success in the business industry, one must have that same competitive edge that is present in the world of sport. In order to even receive the opportunity to be that competitive force in either the sport or business industry, Cecchetto made it clear that experience is crucial in gaining employment and may vary depending on what current SPAD students consider to be valuable experience.

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Cecchetto, pictured here, visits 2nd Year Sports Administration students in 2013.

Every single day is an experience. Don’t confuse my definition of ‘experience’ as just job experience. You have a million experiences. You have to make the most of them and get what you can from them.” Cecchetto further explained, “If you call somebody up and ask for 30 minutes of their time to pick their brain, you will be stunned by the number of people who say that they would love to help you out. Finding the confidence to do that is difficult. It is hard and you will get rejected but you will still be stunned by the amount of people who want to help you.

 

Cecchetto found success through his own initiative after graduating from SPAD. Faxing hundreds of resumés and applications to potential employers resulted in only a single positive response for Cecchetto. While he was slightly deterred, he received the job because of his experience and ability to perform the job effectively and efficiently. While fax machines may not be as relevant today, the lesson in the story still rings true. Today, Cecchetto is an incredibly successful example of what current and prospective SPAD students need to do in order to find similar success down the road. Taking advantage of each and every day to move forward and accumulate new experiences is infinitely valuable.

 

You’re surrounded by opportunity. You just don’t always know it.”

 

The SPAD students of today were given an invaluable opportunity to hear from someone who knows what it takes to be successful within the business industry while also being given the chance to have their own personal questions answered by someone with an abundance of relevant experience. On behalf of all SPAD students, we would like to send our thanks and appreciation to Mark Cecchetto for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak to students who are in the same position he was in not too long ago.

 

2014Mar 14

4th Year @LU_SPAD Students Talk Internships

SPADindexOn February 27th, 2014, 4th year SPAD students took the time out of their busy schedule to talk to 2nd and 3rd year students about their experiences last summer and fall while working on their internships. The students, although approaching the busiest time of a SPAD students 4 year career with field trip, gave back to the younger students looking to complete their own internships over the next 1-2 years. These 4th years talked about their favorite aspects of the internships and gave advice to others about how to be successful while working on an internship. (more…)

2013Dec 10

@LU_SPAD Championship Selling GAME DAY™ Highlights

GAME DAY™ 2013

GAME DAY™ 2013

On Friday November 29th, 2013, Tom Blake’s Championship Selling course came to an end, with the 5th Annual GAME DAY™ held at Alumni Hall. Nine groups of third year SPAD students (with a few notable exceptions) presented case solutions to nine different high-profile companies. Students had the opportunity to put their sales skills to the test by presenting to representatives from companies, which included: The Canadian Paralympic Committe, Great West Life, LG Electronics, Molson Coors, Mondelez, CIBC, Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, and Sprout.

The Championship Selling course is unique to Laurentian University and SPAD. This is the 5th year that Tom has run the course through the program, and it offers a totally unique experience to students. Every second week throughout the semester, Tom would make the trip up to Sudbury from Toronto, to lead two, three hour sessions. During these sessions, Tom would lead great hands-on activities, which enabled students to practice their selling skills. Tom promised to teach willing students three things throughout the course:

  • How to get a better job
  • How to be better at the job
  • How to better at life

He delivered on his promise. Getting a University degree is the first step in becoming successful in the business world. However, it is experiences such as these, that allow students to develop and demonstrate the skills necessary to make it in the industry.

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2013Nov 4

@LU_SPAD Guest Speaker Profile: Mark Cecchetto- Vice President, Marketing Frozen Foods/Pizza at Nestle Canada

By SPAD Blog Contributor Noelle Kelly

image_1On October 28th, Dr. Pegoraro’s second year Sports Marketing class had the pleasure of welcoming former SPAD graduate Mark Cecchetto, the Vice President, Marketing Frozen Foods/Pizza at Nestle Canada. Cecchetto shared his experiences throughout his schooling and the various jobs that got him to where he is today. Mark was in the graduating SPAD class of 1998, and engaged the class with a brief history before getting the class involved in a case study of a real problem facing him in his position at Nestle Canada.

Cecchetto has been with Nestle for 9 years, working as a Marketing Manager for 3 years, Business Development Manager for just under 2 years, Director Channel/Category Development, Nutrition for a year, before finally settling into the Vice President of Marketing Frozen Foods/Pizza. Previous to working at Nestle, he had worked as a Marketing Manager at Weston Bakeries, Accounts Manager at Onyx Marketing Group Inc., and initially started out at Special Olympics Canada, where he did his internship and worked for a year after graduation.

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2013Sep 30

@LU_SPAD Guest Speaker Profile: Phil Legault (SPAD’86) – Canada Post

Staff headshotsSept. 07, 2010PHOTO: Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHCOn September 23rd, the School of Sports Administration welcomed back Mr. Phil Legault (SPAD ’86). Legault, presently Media Relations Manager at Canada Post, spent two days speaking to first and third year students about his various experiences in the communications industry. He was able to share valuable insight from his time working for various organizations, some of his positions include: Director of Communications at the Canadian Soccer Association, Vice President of Communications with the Ottawa Senators, and Communications Director at Speed Skating Canada. Having spent some time working in professional sport, amateur sport, and outside of sport; Legault had some very valuable information to share with students looking to pursue a career in the communications field.

While speaking to the third year Sports Communications class, Legault covered a number of topics from his years in the industry. He spoke at length about how the communications landscape has evolved over the years. He explains that technology has played a huge role in these changes and that the demand for information has significantly increased since the rise of the Internet and social media; “controlling the message” has become a greater challenge. Legault stressed the importance of being able to stay on top of trends in the industry, as things are ever-changing.

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