2013Oct 14

@LU_SPAD Alumni Profile: Adam Johnston – Senators Sports & Entertainment

The NHL is back, which means a busier schedule for many of SPAD’s alumni. Recent graduate, Adam Johnston, is currently working as a full-time account manager for the Ottawa Senators (Senators Sports and Entertainment). Adam has kindly agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a little bit more about his everyday duties with the Sens, and offer insight to current students looking to pursue a career in the field.

200px-Ottawa_Senators.svgQ: Thank you for taking some time to answer our questions. Can you explain how you got started with the Senators? What’s it like working in Ottawa (Kanata)?

AJ: My pleasure to answer your questions, Kel. I was supposed to be doing an internship with the Communications department of the Senators in the fall of 2012, but the NHL lockout eliminated the opportunity. I was really looking forward to the internship, so it was a bit of a disappointment but allowed me to really enjoy the last year of my degree. I asked my contact in the communications department (SPAD Alumni) for a referral to the sales department because I started to figure out that it was the area of the business I was most interested in. I interviewed for a sales internship and received the offer shortly after. After interning there for a couple of months an account manager position opened up which I applied for and I have been working in the role since that time. Ottawa/Kanata is a great place to live and work with a ton to do without the big city feel of Toronto.

Q: Was working for a hockey organization one of your aspirations when you first entered the program?

AJ: Growing up playing hockey and being a fan of the NHL, I always thought it would be interesting. I didn’t have a clue what actual jobs would be involved on the business side of the sport at the time but always something in the back of my mind I suppose.

Q: You are currently working as an “Account Manager” for the Senators. What kind of everyday duties does that position entail?

AJ: I manage approximately 600 of our season ticket holder accounts with the Senators. The position is a combination of sales and customer service. My job is to keep those season ticket holder’s content and add value to their investment with us by developing a working relationship with them. I also have a sales aspect of my job where I look for opportunities to grow my current accounts as well as develop new outside business for the team. I spend the majority of my day conversing through e-mail and phone with my clients and potential customers.

Q: Before obtaining a full-time position in with the Sens, you interned at the Georgia Games, as well as with the Senators. How have those previous experiences helped you prepare for your current position?

AJ: The Georgia Games experience allowed me to work with a lot of different types of people and learn how to get along with different personalities which is extremely valuable in my current position. It also taught me that sometimes you will be required to work far beyond the typical 9-5 in order to properly execute your product or service. The Sens internship allowed me to learn a ton about the professional sports industry and in particular ticket sales as well as the professionalism required to work in a corporation.

Q: Having had a lot of working experience before getting to where you are today, do you have any advice for students who are currently pursuing internships?

AJ: My advice for an internship may be different from most. I think the most important thing to consider when choosing an internship is to consider who you will be working with and what you will be doing on a daily basis. I enjoyed my experience in Georgia, where I was very independent and had a lot more responsibility than with the Sens, but I was working alone for most of the internship. How much can you really learn when you are only applying what you already know and not learning from people around you? I think the most important thing you can learn through an internship is how people in the industry conduct themselves and to learn from them. I suppose it differs based on the individual and what you are looking to get out of the internship but that has been my experience.

Q: What do you hope to get out of working with the Senators? What are some of your goals while with the organization?

AJ: At this point I am content with my position in the organization. I am the youngest employee of my department and still have so much to learn. As I grow in the position, I want to start taking on the management of our bigger and more valuable accounts and eventually move into a management role with the sales and marketing departments.

Q: Finally, has working for the Senators forced you into becoming a fan of the team?

AJ: It really has. I spend a lot of my day speaking to my clients who are obviously huge fans of the team and it is contagious. I used to be (read: still am) a Red Wings fan but that comes second now. It was pretty uncomfortable this summer when Alfie left the Senators for the Red Wings…

I also wanted to mention that I am happy to answer questions or offer any advice to ANYONE in the SPAD Program whether it is about your current academics, internships or moving into a job post-grad. Feel free to reach out through LinkedIn or e-mail me at johnstona@ottawasenators.com.

The SPAD Blog would like to thank Adam for his time, and wish him all the best in his time with the Ottawa Senators. Be sure to stay connected with the blog by following @LU_SPAD on Twitter and liking our Facebook page

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