Archive for the ‘SPAD Professors’ Category

2018Jun 6

SPAD Heads to China

China flagThis afternoon a group of 11 SPAD students and 2 SPAD professors (along with two incredibly supportive staff – Hugo and Alex – from the Faculty of Management) boarded a plane to make the LONG flight to Shanghai, China. The goal for the next two weeks is to learn more about Chinese culture, history, and business, as well as understand the place of sport. With an incredibly full itinerary, the students will have the opportunity to learn from academic and industry experts, as well as have the opportunity for experiential education opportunities unlike any available in Canada.

Stay tuned to the SPAD Blog and to the @LU_SPAD Twitter account to hear more about the #SPADventures in Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing.

2017Nov 14



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 class. “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 Logo

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.



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 LogoTom’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.”


Tom Blake

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

2013Dec 24

Happy Holidays from the @LU_SPAD Blog Team

SPADindexNow that exams are finished, students have traveled home and are with their families for the holiday break. We, the SPAD Blog team, wanted to take a minute and reflect on the past year, look forward to the future and wish everyone a fun and relaxing winter break.

Over the past SPAD students have achieved some incredible accomplishments and the program has grown as a whole. Since January 1st, 2013 the following events have taken place within the SPAD family (all of which you can read about on the Blog):


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.


2013Dec 3

@LU_SPAD Frosh Scavenger Hunt

On November 24th, SPAD Council hosted the annual Frosh Scavenger Hunt. The event, much like every year, signifies the end of Dr. Pegoraro’s first year Colloquia class. The scavenger hunt is always a great way to bring the frosh class together, and test their SPAD knowledge!

The class was divided into 10 groups, with each team being assigned to a council member. Given the size of this year’s frosh class, Russ Lavis was needed to fill in as the final the group leader. A draft was held to determine each team. Council President, Sean Meyers, did a great job of finding embarrassing Facebook photos for the draft slideshow; no frosh or council member was safe!

The scavenger hunt is a test based on what the frosh class has learned in their first three months at Laurentian. The list features a number of questions and challenges, which requires each student to think on their feet. Many of the questions are based on general SPAD trivia, putting the frosh’s knowledge of SPAD history to the test. The class was even tested on how well they knew the SPAD council members, and their hometowns! Some challenges also required groups to find some of Laurentian’s most notable landmarks, such as the Ghandi statue outside of the library. Other challenges were slightly more complicated, and had higher point values because of it.


2013Nov 29

The 39th Annual @LU_SPAD Hockey Tournament

SPAD HOCKEY #2One of the most exciting times of the year is finally back upon us. The 39th Annual SPAD Hockey Tournament is finally back! The tournament will be taking place on January 22nd-24th at Countryside Arena, Home of the Voyageurs hockey teams. It is the one time of year that students can relive the glory days of their young playing days, bringing together both the competitive atmosphere of a hockey tournament along with the social atmosphere of a SPAD event. The combination of these two event creates and unbelievable experience.

The tournament will offer teams three round robin games plus the potential of playoffs. Two divisions will be offered, with both a competitive and mixed division being run out of the Countryside arena. Registration will be taking place from this week until the 15th of December at an early bird price of $900 dollars per team, and until January 10th at a regular pricing of $1000 dollars per team. Come down to the Great Hall on Mondays/Wednesdays from 11-4pm and Tuesday/Thursday from 1-4pm. Members of the organizing committee will be there, happy to answer any questions you may have and take registrations from teams who are prepared to sign up. Get your teams in quick as the early bird pricing only lasts until December 15th!

Check out the video from last year:

If you would like any more information on the 39th Annual SPAD Hockey Tournament, please visit the event at, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Hope to see everyone at the tournament!

Stay connected to the SPAD Blog on social media. Follow us at @LU_SPAD or like us on Facebook for all the latest updates.


2013Nov 25

Communications Crisis Simulation Recap

image_2On Saturday November 16th, 2013, third year Sports Media and Communications students took part in a communications crisis simulation. Most of the simulation work took place in the Fraser Building at Laurentian University. The purpose of the activity is to get students to think on their feet, and effectively respond to rapidly developing crises. It is a fast-paced day for students and faculty, but a great hands-on learning experience for all involved. There were a total of nine groups, consisting of four, five, or six students.

Each group of students received a scenario early on Saturday morning concerning an impeding crisis in their organization. With the information received, students had limited time to plan for their next course of action. Decisions were to be made on how the organization would react to the crisis through the media. This involved staging mock press conferences. Once ready, students made their way to designated rooms in the Fraser Building, where they would play out their respective scenarios to pairs of faculty members and special guests who each played the role of the media.


2013Mar 14

SPAD Professor Profile: Dr. Ann Pegoraro

Aus1 copyBy SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

For most professors, what they do in the classroom is only a small fraction of their job. Teaching is less than half of their job, as research and administration are other duties that also take up much of their time. In order to allow professors extra time for research projects and professional development, every couple of years they are given the opportunity to spend some time away from the classroom. This sabbatical is usually used to get some research done and have some time to relax but, much like the SPAD program itself, our professors are a little different than most. Over the last several months, SPAD’s own Dr. Ann Pegoraro has been using up all her saved Air Miles travelling around the world to broaden her already extensive knowledge on the sport industry. Dr. Pegoraro has been to some amazing places and had some great experiences, and we were lucky enough to get to talk to her about what she has been able to do on her travels.

Q: Where have you travelled to (countries, schools, sports organizations, etc.) over the last couple of months?

A: Well I have traveled a lot since September. I started out with some short trips in North America, first to the University of New Haven in Connecticut to finalize our partnership agreement with the sport management program there. This partnership focuses on sharing of student internships across borders and building future opportunities for students from both programs. I then spent some time on the west coast at the University of California – Long Beach. Here I primarily met with the Director of the Sport Management program to discuss their Masters in Sport Management and the potential for student exchanges at the undergraduate level.

In November, I embarked on travel a bit further abroad, heading to Australia and New Zealand where I again met with sport management programs at Griffith University in Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand. I also attended the SMAANZ Conference, a sport management academic conference hosted by the University of Technology in Sydney where I presented some of my research work on Twitter and Facebook use in sport.  Currently I am spending four months in Fort Myers Florida where I am mostly doing some research writing (and avoiding winter) but I am looking forward to meeting up with the 4th Year Class for their Consulting Trip to Miami in March.

Q: What have you been able to teach to others during your sabbatical?

A: I am not sure I have been teaching per se, as it has been more like sharing of ideas. It was great to learn what other sport management programs are doing both in the US and Australia. I was able to learn more about their approach and in turn shared a lot of the unique things we do in SPAD. Overall, I can say that everyone I have met is extremely impressed with the hands on and industry relevant learning that occurs in our program, and I am sure many will start to replicate it for their programs. Of interest to most is the 4th year consulting trip, as none of the programs I visited have such a course in their program. Of course there were also some unique approaches taken by these other programs that I hope we can incorporate into SPAD to make the student experience even better.

Q: In turn, what kind of knowledge of the sport industry have you gained over this time? 

A: I have had the good fortune to attend sporting events on almost all of my trips so far. I have been to WNBA games in Los Angeles, NFL in New England, NHL in Florida, Spring Training in Florida and will be attending the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans in April.  Besides being a sport fan, attending these varied events provides an excellent perspective to bring into the classroom and to my research. I also had the good fortune to meet individuals from the WNBL in Australia and discuss the possibility of future research work. I have learned interesting facts about how sport is organized in Australia. For example, the country does not have a university sport system and most sport is organized outside of school, through clubs. This leads to a very different path to professional sport. I must also say, I was sad that my visit to Australia did not occur when the Aussie Rules Football was in season as that is one sport I would have loved to see live.

Q: Of this knowledge, which do you think will be most important for SPAD students to learn?

A: Everywhere I went, the same message was evident, one of the keys to success in sport business is networking. Networking is what got me to visit Australia and see a whole new area of the world, and it is what provides most of the opportunities you will receive. Other knowledge that I learned and hope to pass on came from an excellent keynote lecture by Dr. George Foster from Stanford University and several panel discussions at the SMAANZ conference. Rather than give it all away on the blog, I will save some of this good stuff for the classroom next year.

Panthers copyQ: Coming back after a full year off, what are you most excited for looking to the 2013-2014 school year?

A: That is a great question, and a hard one to answer, as I am excited about so many things for next year. I will be excited to be back in the classroom, to share what I have learned and to interact with SPAD students again. I will be excited to meet our new incoming class, to see where the 4th year trip is going and to help build on the student success at the MIT Sloan Sport Analytics conference this year. I think I will just be excited to be back in SPAD fulltime again.

It’s clear that members of the SPAD program will do everything they can to quench their thirst for more knowledge of the sport industry. Dr. Pegoraro’s dedication to, and passion for, sport and knowledge will be further benefits for students to whom she can pass along what she continues to learn. We hope Dr. Pegoraro has an amazing time on the rest of her travels and we look forward to seeing her next September.