November Facts & Figures
Students signed up for our newly formed Upperclassmen Mentorship Program
Winter Trip Destinations Announced
We'll be heading to Chicago and Detroit!
Here are some of the organizations we'll be meeting with...
Excellence in Mentoring
Congrats to our Faculty Advisor, Adam Ahearn, on this great honor!
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
Please describe your journey to Griffith University and the position you currently reside in?
I graduated from UW in 1998, and moved to Austin, Texas shortly thereafter. After a few years working for a local entertainment magazine (INsite Magazine), I enrolled in a Master’s program in Sport Management at the University of Texas (UT). Over the course of that two-year program, I was encouraged by a professor I had been working with to pursue my PhD. This professor (Dan Funk) was set to leave UT and was taking a job at Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia and he asked if I would be interested in doing my PhD at Griffith under his supervision. The idea of an overseas experience (particularly in Australia) sounded excellent to me. At the time, I had just returned from my first trip abroad, studying at Edinburgh University, and I had loved the experience. Plus I had always been drawn to the idea of completing a PhD and working at a University.
I was completely keen to take Dan up on the offer, but there were a number of logistics to work out and the time lapse between first discussing this possibility, and actually making the move, was nearly two full years.
I completed my Master’s and got a job in industry, and after about a year, I was notified that scholarship funding had been approved and the offer to enroll in the PhD program at Griffith was in place. I absolutely loved my job at the time (detailed further below) and I loved my life in Austin, TX, but I could not pass up the chance to live in Australia (and continue my education). It took me a little while to adjust after I arrived, but around 18 months in, a light switch went off and I started to feel very much at home on the Gold Coast and in Australia.
I completed my PhD, and accepted an academic job back in the U.S. as an Assistant Professor in Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts (UMass). UMass was an outstanding place to work, and I was surrounded by fantastic colleagues, but the New England climate was not for me – it had been far too long since I was trudging through the snow on Bascom Hill in the late 90s and in all the time that had passed, I had become quite accustomed to a warmer climate. Truthfully, I also had an eye towards getting back to Australia from pretty much the day I left for UMass. After 18 months at UMass, I applied for a job at Griffith, and I was fortunate enough to get it. I have been back working here since late 2010.
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management within the Griffith Business School at Griffith University. My research examines the synergy that exists between sport and philanthropy, as well as the antecedents and outcomes of sport event participation. I teach courses such as: Sport & Social Media, Event Marketing and Sponsorship, Contemporary Issues in Sport Business, and Sport Marketing. My research and teaching are informed by my time working in industry, and my work is guided by trying to address the problems of declining levels of physical activity and declining levels of generosity in society.
Past the typical suggestions of “networking and making connections” what is the best advice you can give to aspiring sports business professionals trying to break into the industry?
To remember that there is not a finite amount of success in the world. The sport industry is obviously ridiculously competitive, and sport is inherently competitive, and this sense of competition trickles down to sport business. As a result, it can be far too easy to take on that competitive mindset towards your peers and colleagues. The reality is that another person’s success does not in any way preclude you from succeeding. And doing your best to be kind, generous, and humble every step of the way is what will pay off in the long-term.
If I could give a very specific piece of advice related to this, it would be for any aspiring sport business professional to read the book ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant. The book outlines an empirical case for how people who are generous, who give more than they get, and who genuinely try to help others are more likely to succeed in work and life. And the book features a collection of anecdotes to illustrate this. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Why did you choose to go down the path of teaching and lecturing young professionals and what has been the most fulfilling part of this journey?
The appeal of teaching at a University is what initially drove me to pursue an academic career. Attending UW, you are just so spoiled to be in such an inspiring environment at such an impressionable time of your life. I wanted to continue to be a part of an environment like that through my career and viewed completing my PhD, becoming an academic, and working at a university as the best means to do so. Initially, I was almost solely drawn to the teaching side, and viewed research as just a necessary pathway towards the broader goal of an academic career. However, I ended up taking to research early on and have continued to love teaching and research in equal measure since.
The most fulfilling part of the journey has been all of the collaboration along the way. I have been able to work with some incredibly intelligent, curious, inspiring and fun people across my career and I have learned so much from it. When I entered academia, I figured I would be able to teach classes that interested me, deliver research projects that appealed to me, and travel quite a bit throughout. But I did not totally anticipate the friendships forged and the memories created with so many cool and interesting people built into my career. That has been a real plus.
Could you tell us a little bit about the Department of Tourism, Sport & Hotel Management at Griffith University and what program(s) the department has to offer?
The Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management at Griffith University is a wonderful place to work. To shamelessly plug my own department, we are currently rated #2 in the world and #1 in Australia within our discipline. We are placed within the Griffith Business School and provide our students with an applied, values-driven educational experience. We offer a collection of internship opportunities through our work-integrated learning program, and we work closely with a variety of industry partners in community and professional sport to guide our research and teaching. In addition, we offer a variety of experiential learning programs, including overseas excursions, for our students.
Griffith University is located in Southeast Queensland, and I am based at the Gold Coast campus. Southeast Queensland has what I consider to be an ideal climate – think of a slightly warmer San Diego – and the Gold Coast is home to the best beaches in the world (in my opinion), stretched across 35 miles of coastline. Australians are extremely hospitable and the laid-back lifestyle and sense of adventure built into the culture is easy to get used to. I strongly encourage current UW students to look into study abroad programs to come out here, and I wholeheartedly recommend alumni to come to the Gold Coast for a visit.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Additionally, what is an area in the sports industry you are particularly interested in and/or still want to explore?
I want to continue to advance my academic career, and I would like to continue to do so within the Griffith Business School. To this end, I want to continue to do work that is impactful in communities, and addresses the issues of declining generosity and physical activity in society.
I would also like to spend six months (or longer if possible) on study leave to work within a sport organisation (either professional sport or a non-profit sport organisation). As stated before, my experience in industry has been enormously valuable to my career and development. But, I must note, the world was a completely different place when I last worked full-time in industry – Twitter was not yet invented, social media was not really a part of our daily lives yet, just to name one point of difference. And, in the coming years, I will soon be teaching students who were not even born at the time that I last worked full-time in industry. So, I am long overdue to embed myself in industry, and gain some more contemporary firsthand experiences to guide my work.
I am also interested in the way that technology is impacting the live sport event experience. Obviously, there is a lot of attention on the ways that technology is augmenting the event experience, but there are also some downsides in terms of distraction. Working with sport organizations towards achieving balance in optimizing the enhancement and minimizing the distraction is something I am very much interested in.
What are some things you did while at UW to get involved and gain experience; whether it be volunteering, internships or even course content?
During summers, I worked as a caddy and golf shop staff employee at a private country club. This experience was of great value in terms of learning how to work with and for individuals with diverse array of personalities and backgrounds, and this remains one of my favorite jobs I have ever held.
As for additional internships and volunteer opportunities, I will readily admit, I was a bit more focused on the social aspects of campus life, than the professional development aspects during my time at UW. So I cannot exactly re-write history to highlight industry experience gained during my time in Madison. But I can safely say that the connections and friendships made during my time at UW continue to be massively important in my life.
I can also say volunteering and internships eventually became a critical component of my career. The most notable example would be my time spent with the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), a non-profit organization with the mission to inspire and empower individuals living with cancer (now called the LIVESTRONG Foundation). I volunteered for the LAF for a year. After that twelve-month stint, I then took on a six-month internship and was fortunate enough to have a boss who challenged me and delegated a variety of exciting projects and tasks to me. From there, I transitioned to full-time employment within the LAF serving as the Merchandising Coordinator, and managing eCommerce logistics for the Development team.
My tenure as a full-time employee coincided with the launch and explosion of the LIVESTRONG wristband campaign. For those unaware or who do not remember, the campaign was a partnership between Nike and the LAF in which yellow wristbands embossed with LIVESTRONG were sold for $1 each, with all proceeds benefiting the LAF’s mission. The objective of the campaign was to sell five million wristbands, no matter how long it took. We sold five million wristbands in less than six weeks. We quickly went on a back order in which orders were not shipping until 6-8 weeks after they were placed. The campaign became an international phenomenon spurred on by the 2004 Tour de France coverage, and the 2004 Athens Olympics (during which it seemed that every gold medal winning athlete was wearing a yellow wristband on the podium), along with a variety of other factors. The back order seemed to only stimulate more demand as the scarcity of wristbands only made people want them more. We sold nearly one million wristbands in a single day in February 2005, seven months after the campaign had launched. By the time I left the LAF, we had sold 57 million wristbands, and to date, 80 million wristbands have been sold. We joke that the wristband fad did not die, rather, we just ran out of wrists.
The LIVESTRONG wristband campaign is widely regarded as the most successful cause-related marketing campaign of all time. And while I was very much a passenger along for the ride, it was an unbelievable experience and I learned so much through witnessing the brilliance of Nike’s marketing and positioning of the campaign, as well as the amazing things that can happen when you leverage people’s passion for sport alongside their passion for a cause.
So, the potential created through taking up volunteer roles and internships cannot be overstated in my opinion.
While you are not a direct alumnus of SBC, why do you feel it is important to give back to a club such as SBC and why were you so interested to get involved?
First, I have only recently become aware of SBC, and I am really impressed by what you guys are doing and your outreach. Seems like an excellent resource for students and alumni, so great work.
Second, I am just so grateful to UW and the time I spent as a student in Madison. The experiences I had at UW have shaped me and helped me in ways that I could not possibly overstate. So giving back through supporting SBC seems the least I can do.
Lastly, I have heard that Andre Agassi tells every young professional tennis player that he comes across that his only regret in his career is that he didn’t start giving back sooner. I feel really lucky to be able to assist in any way I can.
Members of the Month for November
With the semester coming to a close, we'd like to recognize two new, yet heavily involved fall members that we're proud to have as part of the club. Hear about our Members of the Month for November, Nia Fredrich and Nathan Bay, and how their experiences with SBC have helped grow their interest in a sports career.
What made you interested in SBC initially?
“I was interested because I didn’t see anything else around campus that was super involved in the sports world and that’s what I’m really interested in.”
What is your favorite part of SBC and what keeps you coming back to events?
“My favorite part is the people. They are just easy to talk to. What keeps bringing me back is the environment, it’s really friendly and welcoming.”
What is your favorite event that you’ve been to so far?
"The Women in Sports Panel. It really emphasized the fact that there is a place for women in the sports world."
What is your dream sports job?
“Someday I want to work for a college or professional sports team as a director of branch strategy or marketing operations.”
What made you interested in SBC initially, and what made you decide to join the club?
“Well I remember coming into Madison searching for different clubs because I wanted to do something sports related, and I saw SBC. I thought this was a perfect opportunity because I’m really into sports management, it’s what I want to do, so I figured I’d come by and see what it’s like. Then I ended up going to the Trivia Night and I saw that there were tons of people there that were enthusiastic about the club, and I knew this is where I wanted to be.”
Now that you’re in it, what keeps you coming back to SBC?
“I just love how many people there are that are willing to help. It’s awesome the way the club is reaching out through the peer mentor program and focusing on connecting the future generation of sports management to try to give us all the best opportunities that we can have."
What is your favorite event that you’ve been to so far?
“I really liked Eric Haslam a lot because I’m a big analytical guy so it was cool to see how he differentiates from the bunch.”
What is your dream sports job?
“I’ve always wanted to be the general manager of the Bulls. Ever since Derrick Rose left I’ve wanted to go in there and fix the culture to help make them the title contender they were when they had Jordan. I want to be the guy that drafts that one player that changes a team’s culture.”
SBC Online Store
November Club Events Recap
November 6th - Big Top Sports & Entertainment Panel
November 12th - Chellee Siewert (Capture Sports Marketing)
November 14th - Milwaukee Bucks Game Social
November 18th - Sports Media Panel
November 22nd - Volleyball Game Social
No pictures from this event, but we'll just leave this here....
Shoutout current SBC Members and UW Volleyball Players, Sarah Dodd and Nicole Shanahan!!
- Milwaukee Brewers, Partnership Activation Internship
- Northwoods League, Summer Internships
- Manhattan Sports Business Academy, Summer Internship / Program Participant
- Wisconsin PGA Junior Foundation, Summer Internship
- Under Armour, Summer Internships
And much more! Check out the opportunities page for all the listings.