Archive for the ‘SPAD Students’ Category

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!

2017Oct 31

Starting From Scratch

By Jason Rankin

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.26.36 PMJust fourteen months ago, in September of 2016 I was approached by professor, Dr. Amanda Schweinbenz. She asked me to try out for the Laurentian rowing team. Twice I declined to join the team due to having my mind set on school and making new friends, although on the third try I was given a piece of paper with the Olympic qualifying times displayed on it. I was told if I could achieve those times, I could start training for the Olympics and with that my decision was made, and shortly after was in a boat.

My name is Charlie Alexander, and I am from southern Ontario, and live in a small town called Fergus. Growing up in Fergus was great, I would spend most of my free time at the mechanic shop down the street, working on my Jeep, or learning from my father and friends who also worked there. Never would I have pictured myself rowing competitively in those days. Becoming a police officer or joining the RCMP was my dream as a child, however my love for the outdoors drove me to chose a different path. Currently I am taking the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program at Laurentian.

It was in my first few weeks in the program when I met Amanda Schweinbenz, who has been the rowing coach here for about 9 years and has helped produce many successful rowers such as, Curtis Halladay and Carling Zeeman. With no rowing experience at all, I accepted her offer to join the team. Even though it seemed like a remote possibility, I decided to go for it, and committed with everything I had, even though I knew nothing. Amanda helped me through everything, and taught me from scratch all there is to know about rowing. She quickly became my trusted coach and mentor in the sport.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.36.07 PM

Balancing school and my busy training schedule isn’t easy. I sacrifice some much needed sleep, for our 5:30AM starts only then to come home to make breakfast, then once more head back for another row at 11AM and then once more around 4PM. All of this is completed while getting to class and finishing all of my homework and it is all worth it in my mind. The feeling I get when pushing through a long hard workout on a cold morning is something I’ve never felt before, and only something that I can describe to you as a “rowers high”. The sound of the water splashing at the back of the boat as it slightly lifts off the water with every stroke, and hearing the slight hum of the hollow bodied hull, when everything is just perfect, is somewhat blissful.

My main goal is to reach the Olympics, specifically I am striving towards the 2020 Summer Games held in Tokyo, but a more realistic goal is the following Summer Olympics is 2024 in Paris. In just my first year of eligibility for rowing I have competed in 5 events, most notably the Head of the Trent or HOTT, and the OUA finals. At the HOTT race, I placed 4th and at OUA’s I won the bronze medal. In October, I was named Ontario’s Strongest Male Athlete of 2017 presented by RBC, which is the most important achievement of my career so far. Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.32.42 PM

Never would I have thought I would be rowing for a chance to compete for my country, but with just a year under my belt in the sport, I am pushing my limits and looking to join the Canadian National Rowing Team, as soon as I can. It’s only a matter of time and experience until I will be seasoned enough to join and contribute to our national team.

2017Oct 31

Another Day’s Work

rowingMy name is Matt Day, I’m a second year student athlete at Laurentian University.  I’ve been playing a support/training role on the school’s rowing team for a year and a half now.  I was recruited in my first year through the school’s novice program where I was selected by Coach Gergely.  Before joining Laurentian’s team, I had no past experience with rowing as a competitive organized sport.  From what I’ve seen, this program has been an amazing learning experience for me.

If I was asked to give an explanation of what rowing is, I would have to describe it by saying, it’s a group of crazy people, sitting in boats, enduring pain, and going fast.  Rowing is a highly competitive endurance sport where athletes compete in 2km distance races.   In order to prepare for these races, myself along with the other members of the team have to train non-stop, starting practices at 5:30 in the mornings every day.  There is nothing quite like seeing the still lake on these calm mornings as the sun rises.   Weights training is done a few days a week.  We also prepare with race planning, and goal setting.  Some of my personal recorded rowing statistics include my time per 500m, which averages to around 1:50min, and my power output which averages to around 800watts.

Although I am an athlete at Laurentian, my main focus is my studies.  I know that I can’t sacrifice school for sports.  I’m glad I gave rowing a shot as it has changed my life as a student at Laurentian, as it has made me rethink how to prioritize schoolwork and balance my workload.  I’m currently enrolled in the outdoor adventure/leadership.  Balancing schoolwork and training has been hard but I’m learning how to manage and prioritize my time well enough, while still leaving time for myself.  I always pick school before the team, whether that means missing a practice to finish an assignment, or going to bed early so I can be well rested for the next day after morning practice.  With the recent strike, I found myself slipping into a bit of a lazier routine.  I started falling behind on schoolwork for a bit, and was getting into the habit of sleeping in, but I was able to quickly get back on track.  I do leave a little time when I’m not rowing or doing schoolwork to myself.  In my free time I’m either playing video games, playing a bit of guitar or trying to make it to the gym.  I also really enjoy eating, I do eat a lot.  

rainbow rowing

Overall, I’m just an average student athlete, that’s getting by as a student and as an athlete.  Being on the rowing team hasn’t made me any less of a student and being a student hasn’t made me any less of an athlete.  I’ve grown a lot in the almost two years I’ve been on this team and I’m honoured to be a member of the Laurentian rowing team and the Laurentian outdoor adventure/leadership program.  

2017Oct 31

Dear Hockey, Thank You

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.40.05 PM

Thirteen years ago I stepped on the ice for my very first time. If you ask my dad, he will probably tell you that teaching a four-year-old to skate is no walk in the park.

Growing up in Northern Ontario I think most Canadians can relate their childhood memories to staying up late on cold winter nights to break out a scrimmage on your homemade backyard ice hockey rink. I couldn’t even tell you how many nights my dad spent out there flooding that rink with a hose so it would be ready to play on. Just a young kid strapping on my skates to tear down the ice, I had no idea that this sport would change my life so much.

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Photo by Laurentian University

I remember my older brother Myles was just learning how to skate where he joined a hockey team shortly after. I have never seen someone enjoy something so much, so I decided to give it a try. I started out in tyke and didn’t get the chance to play a ‘real’ game until the following year in novice. Over the years I bounced back and forth between the boy’s league and girl’s competitive. I made my final switch to the girl’s competitive league after having both positive and negative experiences in different leagues and here I am today playing in my second year as a centre for the Laurentian Voyageurs Women’s Hockey team. 

Thirteen years of hockey. Believe it or not, this is not how my sports career started. With help from the rest of family, my parents had this crazy idea that I should be a ballerina, so they put me in ballet. Anyone who I am close with knows I hated it. I mean, like most people I enjoy casually dancing, like when a killer song comes on in the dressing room before a big game, but to do it every day of my life it just wasn’t for me.

Photo By Esso Cup

Photo By Esso Cup

I was born to play hockey. Getting a chance to play in the Midget AA Nationals, The Esso Cup, in my second year in Midget AND winning gold confirmed that.

Nothing about this experience was easy but playing this sport my entire life has taught me how to deal with any challenge thrown my way. We only had one week to prepare for our flight to Red Deer where every other team finished provincials earlier. Most of us girls never played three twenty minute periods before and to play like that once a day for a solid week straight was an obstacle. The entire thing was very nerve-racking but that’s something you just have to put aside in the back of your mind. You have to stay focused on the game, or you’ll never be happy with how you played. 

Photo by Esso Cup

Photo by Esso Cup

We pulled out a huge 7-2 win against the Red Deer Chiefs in our third game at Nationals, who would’ve thought they would be the team we’d be playing in the finals. Looking back at that final game it was extremely exhausting. We started to worry as the game went on and we were still tied 1-1 close to the end of the first period with our captain (Karli Shell) scoring our only goal. With 3 minutes left on the clock in the first, I was put on the ice for a long shift. One of our defensemen passed me the puck to finally break out, and all I was focusing on was to get the puck deep in their zone and change because I was dead tired. I dumped the puck and headed off to change. As soon as I got to the bench I saw my entire team jump up, and in that moment I realized that we just scored. Little did I know my captain scored our game-winning goal from a pass by yours truly but if you check the stats I never was counted for that assist. It’s frustrating but any player in the league knows it happens too often even in the OUA and CIS.

I’m still in disbelief today that this all happened. It’s dreamlike now. Almost too good to be true. Everything was all really well organized, we were treated like professionals. We had an itinerary to follow, provided meals and Coach bus transportation. There was an opening and closing banquet, two of my teammates even sang in front of everyone by request of the entertaining singer.

There are so many things I have got to do because of hockey and many more open doors for me to come. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thank you, Hockey. Without you, I would have never known I could love something other than my friends and family so much.

Thank you for teaching me how acting on aggression doesn’t always lead up to the results you want, how you have to put in the time and work to be the best you can be, and that you don’t have to stop when things get tough.

Thank you for allowing me to build relationships with teammates and coaches, and to learn more about myself as an athlete and as a person to a greater extent than what anyone else could have ever taught me. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I couldn’t be more proud of what I have accomplished.

As long as you are a part of my life you will continue to teach me things about myself that I would have never had the opportunity of knowing. I know what I want and who I want to be thanks to you. One day I would love to play for Team Canada but even if I can’t make that happen just know that I will always be keeping active and involved in this sport.

I will continue to learn whether it is from watching, hearing, or experiencing the game. I will work hard to play a physical game like Martin St. Louis, to be a playmaker like Sidney Crosby, and who doesn’t want to be hammering pucks into the net like Alex Ovechkin or John Tavares.

You drive my competitiveness, you keep my life exciting.

You are intense. You are engaging and all-consuming. I love every part of you and just being able to go out on that ice to try something new will probably never get old for me.

At this point in my life, I can pretty much say that hockey will always be a part of me.

Who knows where I’ll end up when I’m done playing for Laurentian that is still two years away, but for now practice is over, it’s game time.

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MYLA MCCORMICK / CONTRIBUTOR

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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

Farewell Mr. President – Roberto Bagnato

17fa44fAs the 2016-2017 school year comes to an end, it’s time for SPAD council members to pass their torches on to next year’s group of student leaders. This year’s council organized a year to remember with events from SPAD curling to a SPAD students favourite day of the year, Saint Spaddies day.

Third year student, Roberto Bagnato, took the time to share his experience as this year’s Student Council President and offers advice to new students and his successor and President for the 2017-2018 school year, Carter Rock. 

SB: Why did you choose to run for this position and what made you want to represent the program as their Student Council President?

RB: I first ran for the position of President on Council after my first year of SPAD as an eager student looking to become more involved in the university and the program. Unfortunately, I wasn’t elected in my first campaign but was happy to support the work of a great guy and even better President, Neal Steven. My drive to create positive change didn’t cease to exist after first-year, which lead to my campaign for President of the 2016-17 SPAD Council roughly one year ago. As one of one the university’s “premiere” programs, and the country’s top sports business degree, I thought there was more to be provided to students to enhance their experience in the program. Looking back, I think this year’s Council has done a phenomenal job of doing so by adding additional SPAD events, creating more opportunities for SPAD students and alumni to connect, and continuing to support the SPAD social scene.

SB: Tell us about SPAD as a program and your experience in it and how it has shaped your brand.

RB: SPAD is really a one of a kind program. There isn’t another program in Canada that provides you the opportunity to pursue a business degree with a specialization in sport. As a brand, we’ve been known throughout the industry as one of the suppliers of top-end talent for a number of years. Projects such as Game Day, second-year consulting project, and Field Trip are entrenched in the program. As a result, I think the SPAD brand has shaped into a larger, confident, family-type group who can dial in and focus when need be, but can also organize a program-wide social event in a matter of minutes. Challenges throughout the program such as creating the inaugural Northern Sports Industry Conference, to surviving core year, has shifted my brand to someone with more confidence and patience in their own abilities to make it happen when it matters most!

SB: How has being on council prepared you in any additional way for your upcoming internship as a fourth year student, and the real world?

RB: Council is a fantastic opportunity for all SPAD students and I highly recommend all students try to become more involved with the program. Being on SPAD Council prepares you for the challenges that come with running events, fundraising for initiatives, and engaging and supporting a large group of individuals. The added responsibility that comes with being on SPAD Council allows you to be proud of when your event or project goes well, and allows you to learn from your mistakes when they do not. Event planning, problem solving, and fundraising are all practical skills that I’m sure will be applied to my upcoming internship and later on in the “real” world.  

SB: What advice do you have to offer to those applying to SPAD and those coming to the program next year?

RB: SPAD is so much more than a university program. SPAD allows you to make friendships and connections with like-minded individuals who are all trying to break into the sports industry. No other program offers the content, opportunity, or connections that SPAD does. The next four years will be some of the best of your life so don’t settle with a program that doesn’t excite you. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine myself at another university or program. How many other students can say that they’re excited to head to class to find out if Lebron James is clutch or if bobbleheads really do affect attendance? If you’re passionate about the sports industry, don’t think twice about heading to Laurentian for the SPAD program.

SB: What advice do you have for Carter taking on the role as SPAD President for the 2017 – 2018 year?

RB: Carter has done an amazing job on Council in the last year as 2nd year rep. Whether it was representing his grade, engaging with the entire program at events, or acting as a liaison to the university, Carter has always been a fantastic representative of the SPAD program. As he continues his tenure with SPAD Council, it’ll be important for Carter and his Council to always keep their purpose as a group in the forefront of decision making. I have no doubt in my mind that Carter and next year’s Council will do a fantastic job in their roles. I am excited to follow their success over the next year!  

SPAD would like to thank Roberto for taking the time to speak with us and wish him the best of his luck in his fourth and final year.

2016Oct 24

Student Profile: Jennifer and Dania Arrive in Austria

14671343_10210505216844476_7860131875434533149_nLast year we spoke with SPAD students Jennifer Thomas and Dania Johanson who were chosen to be SPAD’s first ever exchange students. Jennifer and Dania have now settled down in Austria and have taken the time to chat with us about everything they’ve experienced since landing in Kufstein on September 27th.

SB: Being in another country who’s native tongue is so different from ours, do you find that there is a language barrier?

 

JT: We go to an International School that teaches its classes in English so everyone in the university knows how to speak the language to varying degrees. Though, for most people it isn’t their first language. When we speak in class our professors ask us to slow down because we’re speaking too fast.

 

DJ: In town it isn’t too bad. When we first landed, we went into town looking for amenities and it was really hard trying to communicate with people and find what we wanted. Most people know at least some basic English or have co-workers who can, and we eventually figure it all out.

 

We are trying to pick up on some of the language. We have learned some basic phrases and words such as “how are you” and “My name is Dania” but there are some sounds that we struggle to pronounce. Our favourite word is “Fachhochschule”, which is equivalent to the word University in English.

 

SB: What’s the coolest part of being at an international school?

 

JT and DJ: There are so many people from so many different countries. Our core group of friends consists of people from Finland, France, and Australia and we socialize more with people who can speak English fluently. It’s the same way for other people, most people hang around with the people who share their first language but not exclusively. Everyone is interested in each other’s cultures because we are all so different, we joke around and make fun of each other. There are lots of stereotypes; one of our friends keeps saying we’re from Nova Scotia.

 

SB: Culture has been said to have an affect on people’s preference in sport. How do you think this has affected your discussions in class?

 

JT: In class the other day we were talking about events and I used the World Cup of Hockey as an example and our whole class bursted out laughing. They make fun of us and hockey all of the time. Europeans have a lot of love for soccer so it’s what most people talk about.

 

SB: What is your overall class structure like for this year?

 

JT and DJ: Our first semester started in October and will end in February, although we will be home for a couple weeks for Christmas. After this semester, we have four weeks off in which we plan on backpacking around Europe. Our second semester starts in March and ends in July.

Our class schedule is very different than the one’s we would have at Laurentian. We never have a week with the same schedule, there could be a week when we have the same class Monday to Friday and then we end with an exam on the Saturday, others we have every couple of weeks.

 

SB: What is your favourite class?

 

JT and DJ: Austrian History and Culture. It’s a Saturday class and we basically go to different historic locations in Austria. The first week we went to the fortress that’s located in Kufstein, we can actually see it from our window. Tomorrow we’re going to Innsbruck, and in a couple of weeks were going to Salzburg. We get to see so many different cultures, the cities are so close together but they have such different cultures because of their differing history. It’s interesting because Austria’s history is so much older than Canada’s history; it’s all very new to us.

 

SB: What’s the best place you’ve been so far?

 

JT and DJ: Neuschwanstein Castle was awesome and the most impressive. It looked like something out of a story and was the castle that Disney first based their animated castles off of. Everything about it was surreal.

On the other hand, we went to a concentration camp in Germany and it was really eye opening. We felt weird the whole day after. The whole situation made us feel so emotional. People were crying and no one spoke. We just walked around and paid our respects.

 

SB: What is the best piece of advice you would give the Austrian exchange students that have joined SPAD in Sudbury for the year?

 

JT and DJ: Attend and join as many extra curricular activities as possible throughout Laurentian and the Sudbury community. At FH Kufstein, they don’t have structured intramurals like Laurentian does so they should take advantage of Laurentian’s and really get involved in the school, make the best of your time there. (more…)

2016Oct 4

SPAD Frosh Day 2016

froshAfter a summer full of internships, friends, and fun, it was time to head back to the books for SPAD student during their first week back to school. For first-year SPAD students, it meant it was time to get acquainted with Laurentian University and the Sports Administration (SPAD) program. Founded in 1972, the SPAD program has been a tradition-rich program since it’s early years at Laurentian. An annual tradition for first-year SPAD students is the SPAD Frosh Day.

SPAD Student Council welcomed the program’s newest students, bright and early at the Laurentian Track and Field Stadium. Upon check-in, each first-year student received their first pieces of SPAD swag. After a few quick introductions, the group got into some ice-breaker activities and learned about each other’s most embarrassing stories, competed in a laundry line race, and even participated in a few Harambe memorial chants. Although ice-breaker activities can be a little awkward at first, it is only a matter of time before this group of frosh look back and have a few good laughs at the activities that transpired.

After a quick lunch courtesy of Topper’s Pizza, the first-year students boarded the bus for Dodge This Paintball. Frosh and Student Council members were divided into teams upon arrival at the paintball park for a classic, Frosh Day battle. The troops participated in games such as capture the flag, free-for-all, and a clan battle on the various maps on the Dodge This Paintball campus. Council member, Josh Bousada, put together a fantastic video which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJHCXYcjUtI.

Upon returning to school, the first-year students were given some time to wash all the paint off and freshen up for a new tradition, the SPAD Program’s Meet N’ Greet. SPAD faculty and SPAD students were brought together to reconnect after a long summer away for some food, music, and laughs. Congratulations to first-year student Julian Hull who won the raffle grand prize for a custom sports jersey of his choice.

SPAD Students’ Council would also like to thank all who attended and hope to see you soon at our next SPAD event. To all the SPAD Frosh, welcome to the family. Get ready for the most amazing four years of your life here at Laurentian University!

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!

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.