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!

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