A Weekend of Insight and Inspiration – An Inside Look at the JMSM Conference 2015
The John Molson Sports Business Conference is Canada’s largest student-run sports business conference, and each year it has grown with more delegates and top tier speakers. For their 20th anniversary, JMSM went above and beyond to present their best speaker line up to date. The committee also added workshops to the agenda, which enriched the experience for delegates through the opportunity to work in small groups, and attend sessions that were streamlined to their own personal interests. This year, uOSBC was represented by 8 individuals at this 3-day event and were all extremely impressed by the numerous networking opportunities with both the speakers and delegates that brought so many passionate, academic, sport-loving individuals together.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CONFERENCE
Greg Amiel: The weekend was a true example of professional event organizing by the JMSM committee. Never would you have been able to tell that students organized it. It was a fantastic opportunity to network with a vast amount inspired students with a bright future in sports business. Learning opportunities came left right and centre from highly reputable sport business professionals in panel discussions and workshops. The conference also extended itself as a great opportunity for the uOttawa Sports Business Club to grow the word about life in the M.H.K. program to many young bachelor students considering a future at University of Ottawa.
Adrienne Crampton: The aspect of the conference that stuck out the most to me was the inclusion of information and experiences of individuals from so many different facets of the sporting industry as well as including professionals many different sports leagues. The inclusion of Presidents, CEO’s, GM’s, Executive Vice Presidents of many different branches, different media-related positions, and many more very successful individuals enabled to conference to appeal to such a wide variety of interests within the sporting industry. The speakers and workshops each had different focuses and I came out of each one feeling not only more knowledgeable but also impressed at how interactive and willing to answer questions each speaker was.
WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPACTFUL SESSION YOU ATTENDED AND WHY?
Alishia Hui: Having the opportunity to attend a workshop run by Ned Colletti covering ‘The Art of Negotiations’ was an absolute highlight of the weekend. Among other things, attendees were able to learn about the importance of detailed research, setting contract benchmarks in regards to the value vis-à-vis other star players, and creating personal boundaries in regards to contract lengths and payment. Negotiation is a true art and students were treated to a glimpse behind the strategy that is required to build a contending and competitive team.
Kimberly Fleming: I really enjoyed Jason Belzer’s workshop on sponsorship. As president of GAME Inc, Jason provided a lot of insight into sponsor properties and how to valuate assets prior to going to market with them. He also gave a broad overview of the contract process, and given his law and teaching background he transformed a complicated lesson into something we were all able to understand. He mentioned the importance of being able to create and own sponsorship properties for brands or teams in order to see the biggest return on investment. I linked this back to what Lorne Segall and Jordan Nashen mentioned in their workshop about finding ways to be irreplaceable—creating an ownable property to sell to brands could bring about this opportunity. As someone who has been immersed in the sponsorship industry for a while now, Jason’s workshop was very insightful, and inspiring, definitely someone I hope to stay connected with.
WHAT KEY POINTS DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE CONFERENCE?
Greg Amiel: Lorne Segall, a JMSM alumni, now program director at Manhattan Sport Business Academy and Jordan Nashen, Director of Marketing & Player Relations at CMG Sports lead a workshop on how to get job opportunities and branding yourself. Both of the hard working young professionals advised that involvement in any capacity is key. Do anything you can to work your way through an organization and prove your worth. Once you advance, Segall suggested you “Get into rooms you’re not supposed to be in” and prove yourself. Work hard each day and it will come, next think you know you might be sitting in a room next to Presidents and CEO’s when you never imagined it happening.
Kimberly Fleming: As someone who chose to go on to do a Masters degree, it was very nice to hear from a number of panellists that they value the higher educations and it can take you a long way. That the skills we gain, and the dedication we have shown to take our education to that next level is a valuable asset to a number of organizations. At the same time, almost everyone preached the value in networking and building relationships with people. I have come to find out-especially at this conference- that the sport world is tightly knit so it is important to foster relationships and develop good rapport with those you come in contact with. Moving away from thank you emails and sending cards, or picking up the phone to call the person and check in to see how they are doing goes a long way and speaks to your character.
Andrew Maggio: While there were plenty of valuable lessons to take out of the weekend, the main things that resonated were the values the speakers implored delegates to live by, especially as they work there way through the sports world. A strong work ethic, being respectful and remembering to stay humble were a few things that stick out, as they were repeated frequently throughout the panels and workshops. The conference not only opened my eyes to what it takes to move up in the sporting world, but also helped us hone in and how to get to the top and ultimately stay there.
ANY LAST THOUGHTS OR REFLECTIONS?
Bill Clement, former Philadelphia Flyer from the days of the Broadstreet Bullies, celebrated broadcaster and motivational speaker left a heartfelt message about everyday leadership to delegates. “Dream Big and Dare to fail” – words that resonated with him from the late Norman Vaughan. It was a fantastic message that inspired students to be a leader regardless of your title or role but instead lead by being someone others want to work with and be around everyday and see how far that will take you in life. I had the opportunity to speak with him one on one, and was gifted an autographed copy of Clements book.
Mark Slota: The John Molson Sports Business Conference was a great experience in that it brought together some of the brightest minds in the professional sports world. The panelists were terrific and provided timely and informative content on current hot button issues in professional sports, both on the team operations and business side. It certainly was a knowledgeable and inspiring few days and I will remember it for a long time. Congratulations to the JMSM committee on planning a fabulous conference.
Will Franquet: Having the opportunity to listen to industry leaders such as Ned Colletti, Marc De Grandpre, Ken Holland and Geoff Molson provide insight ranging from how to get started in the business to making it to the top was both valuable and stimulating. The networking opportunities were copious and friends were made throughout. The only thing I regret was not having brought business cards to hand out. I’m having them printed as we speak! Overall, it was an unforgettable experience and I will most definitely be back next year.