By Carolina Keen, Contributor
This weekend, Laurentian’s Sports Administration department is hosting the inaugural Northern Sports Industry Conference. Organized by a group of seven students, the conference is set to host over 20 speakers and a wide range of students, both on campus and at the Holiday Inn.
Many of the speakers coming to Sudbury are graduates of the Sports Administration program whose strong network of alumni has been a vital part of the development of the conference.
“It kind of amazes me how close the network is, even if you don’t have a first hand connection. I work with Jeff Tremblay in Edmonton, who I didn’t really know—he graduated in my first year—and he ended up really helping me out with coming and transitioning to Edmonton after a mutual friend and SPAD Grad put us in contact,” says Tyler Fitch (SPAD ’16), who now works as an account coordinator for the Edmonton Oilers and will be speaking on Panel #3: Breaking into the Industry. “You’d be hard pressed to find a program in Canada that can top how close knit SPAD and SPAD Alumni seem to be.”
Over three days, the conference will consist of three panel discussions, four keynote speakers, three breakout sessions and a case competition. It will also include nightly socials at locations like Peddler’s Pub and the Pub Downunder where students will be able to mingle, eat, and try their luck at Giant Jenga. With plenty of opportunity for networking, delegates are sure to make new and meaningful connections with other delegates as well as speakers.
“The conference will be bringing together many generations of SPAD, from current students to recent graduates to longtime alumni, and that in itself will be a fantastic experience,” adds Fitch.
“It’s one thing to hear about SPAD alumni, but to actually have the chance to speak with them is key. The connections it can build is better than any networking I believe students can ever do,” says Joshua Bousada, NSIC’s Director of Marketing.
See below for a day-by-day preview of the events!
Thursday, March 2nd
Starting in the evening, delegates will arrive at the Holiday Inn for opening remarks from a group of influential professionals in the Sudbury and Laurentian University community, including Paul Lefebvre, Paul Schweyer, Kraymr Grenke, and Dr. Anthony Church.
There will also be three keynote speakers: Geoff Beattie, CEO of Generation Capital; Amanda Lang, Anchor for Bloomberg TV Canada; and Brodie Lawson, CFL Sportscaster.
Friday, March 3rd
The second day of NSIC will start off with two panels: International Sports and Sponsorship, and Leaders in Sport, moderated by Dr. Dana Ellis and Randy Pascal respectively.
Students will also be introduced to a case competition provided by Rogers Communications, where they will have the opportunity to present their case solutions to some of the company’s executives.
A highlight of the weekend, delegates will get the chance to meet David Chilton, prominent Canadian investor, author, and former “Dragon” on CBC TV’s Dragon’s Den. Chilton will be speaking about his book “The Wealthy Barber” and his experiences with his various business ventures.
Saturday, March 4th
On the third day of the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to participate in a series of break out sessions.
The first with the Director of Digital Strategy at Laurentian, JP Rains, will focus on technology, digital media, and personal branding. The second will be guided by the former Assistant General Manager of the Montreal Allouettes, Joey Abrams, who will focus on climbing the ladder in the sport industry. Brock McGillis, former Professional Hockey Player and LGBTQ+ Advocate, will lead the final break out session with a discussion on equality in the sport world.
Delegates will also get to learn about breaking into the industry through the third and final panel discussion entitled Breaking Into the Industry, which will be moderated by Dr. Ann Pegoraro.
To end off the conference, there will be a dinner at which the case winners are announced. CEO of Positive Inception, Ryan Benoit, will take the stage to speak about his powerful clothing brand that has taken Sudbury by storm.