Voice of the Box speaks to Matt Beckman, Director of Athletic Marketing at Gonzaga University.
The latest special guest to our Voice of the Box video library is Director of Athletic Marketing for Gonzaga University, Matt Beckman. We speak to Matt on various topics including how he built his career in sports, his day-to-day role and key programs that highlight his university calendar.
Matt also provides great insider tips and some of the demanding tasks that come along with his dream position.
[button link=”http://voiceofthebox.co/2011/06/matt-beckman-interview/”] Watch Video[/button]
Title: PR / Business Development Intern (Hybrid role)
Voice of the Box, a sport specific, career-coaching business is seeking a PR/ Business Development intern. Internship responsibilities include but not limited to;
Building awareness of (VOTB) to develop new partnerships with college/university sport management degree programs, college/university career services programs, other sports related businesses, forums, trade associations, conferences, magazines, radio and TV stations, all in an effort to book public speaking engagements, book on camera interviews for the show and to grow the career coaching practice. This would be accomplished by both phone and over e-mail. (face to face if in a certain market where a potential client is located). This would be hybrid public relations, business development intern.
Qualifications: Ability to interact with a wide variety of personalities over the phone and to exhibit sharp verbal and written communications. Strong research skills, basic spreadsheet experience to track, log and report daily/weekly activity.
A sports industry specific career coaching business that specializes in the creation of original video content, highly focused career coaching and public speaking engagements to the target market (college students/grad students and young professional who are looking to break into a career in the sports industry).
Differentiating Qualities of VOTB:
Because of Matt Crevin’s sports industry connections, combined with his 17 years of business experience in corporate America, collectively his personal experience and expertise has Voice of the Box uniquely positioned to deliver insight and information about working in the sports industry.
Brand Goals and Values:
With more than 18 years of professional sports experience in the sports industry, Matt Crevin has developed a wealth of connections. The goal of VOTB is to pair those connections, and the expertise and experience that defines them, with individuals seeking to advance in the sports industry. Bio of owner on company website.
Today’s column comes from David Bell, a successful job seeker who used networking to help land a new job in the current economy. I asked him to explain the secret to his success, and he distilled his experience into six key points that can help you build a better network:
1. Always remember that you’re asking people for information, not a job.
Networking often goes bad because job seekers try to ask friends and strangers about specific job openings. This puts people in an awkward position – after all, if they don’t know you, they’ll naturally hesitate to recommend you for a job. When you make people uncomfortable by being too pushy online, you destroy any opportunity you might get to meet face-to-face, or find out about new jobs openings in the future.
2. Start with people you know, then expand to their acquaintances and finally strangers after the process becomes second nature.
It’s important to practice on your friend before moving on to people they suggest. Using a referral’s name when you contact someone you don’t know can be very helpful in breaking the ice.
But you shouldn’t avoid networking with strangers just because you have no automatic “in” with them. As David Bell points out, “Contact to everyone you can, whether it’s by email, social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or even over the phone. You never know who’ll have the most useful information or take an interest in you. Aside from helping you find a job, it’s a wonderful way to make new friends, especially if you’ve recently moved to a new city.”
3. When you reach out to a contact, have in mind what you want to say, but don’t obsess about it.
While the delay built in to most social network communication makes it easier to “think before you speak,” some contacts you meet will prefer the immediacy of phone calls or instant messaging. In these cases, be prepared to give the name of your referral (if you have one), state why you’re contact them (for information not a job) and ask a short list of questions about your contact’s area of expertise. Putting these thoughts together ahead of time can save you the embarrassment of now knowing what to say.
However, be careful not to over-prepare, since this can easily turn into an excuse for putting off your first contact. Or worse, you can get so married to a specific script that you blank when a conversation strays to another subject. It’s the same as reciting a memorized poem back in English class – if you’re too rigid, any distraction will cause you to lose your place and screw up.
4. Recognize that you’ll have good and bad days.
People won’t respond to your messages, or decline your requests to chat. A few experiences like this, and you may begin to resist reaching out to key contacts for fear of being rejected. But don’t give up! Persistence and a sense of humor are key to successful networking.
Maintaining your objectivity when you’re on a job search roller coaster is easier said than done, especially if you are trying to do it alone. A good support system of friends, fellow job seekers, a career counselor, enjoyable activities etc. can be really helpful in smoothing out the unrealistic highs and lows you’re bound to experience.
And if you find yourself putting off networking because you just hate doing it, try to come up with a plan that will be excuse proof. Promise a friend you will make 10 contacts a week, and give them reports on your progress. Dedicate time just for networking. Tell yourself you will connect with 12 people before you do any other activities. Then reward yourself for sticking to your plan.
5. Prepare a specific topic for each discussion.
Do some research on the company, industry or career of your contact. Put together a list of questions, including some that deal specifically with their background. Ask for advice on your job search, and the names of other professionals who would be beneficial to connect with. Think about ways you might help, like suggesting other contacts they might find useful.
6. If your contact refers you to other people, keep in touch about how the new connections are going.
Your contact will feel gratified that their contacts were useful, and will admire you for seizing available opportunities.
With a little practice and perseverance, networking can help you connect with important people and positions much more effectively, and stand out in an increasingly crowded job market.
Sports Industry Spotlight
Eric A. Mader
VP Sports/General Counsel
Go Healthy, Inc.
If possible, could you summarize your role?
I am the VP of Sports and General Counsel for “Go Healthy” – we have nutritional products created by Dr. J. Robert Cade – the inventor of Gatorade. We are currently in start-up mode as a company and I am essentially the only paid employee. As such, I am in charge of production (i.e. raw materials and packaging, purchasing, co-packer negotiation and procurement). I handle all marketing efforts, website development and implementation, all sales efforts in the “sports” industry, which includes high school, college and pro sports volume purchasing, club purchasing and all retail sales direct to consumer. I also negotiate and review all sponsorship contracts. I handle payables/receivables and basically run the day-to-day operations of the company.
If you were to be talking to someone for the first time about your business and your role, how would you describe what you do (if #1 does not apply)?
I am a Swiss Army knife – I do it all.
How did you get your start or how did you break into the sports industry?
My first introduction into the sports industry was as a college football player. I subsequently graduated with an Industrial Engineering degree, but was unhappy and unsatisfied with that line of work. Prior to law school, I was a personal trainer and worked for a company assisting high school athletes with the college recruiting process. I went to law school with the intent of becoming a player agent, but as I learned about that side of the business, I determined that I could not financially survive without a law firm funding my efforts. Post law school, I determined that a faster track into sports was on the team side and started out as an intern in Arena Football and Canadian Football.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Logistics issues, managing inventory and controlling capital.
What are the biggest rewards you get out of your role?
I know virtually every Strength Coach and Trainer in the college and pro team arena. They are a great group of people who strive to get the most out of their players and I help them with that goal.
What key skill set(s) do you believe to be the most valuable in your role?
Hard work, good sales skills(a good sales person will always find a job in sports)
What does your companies/team org chart look like in terms of possible entry points for a young professional looking to get his/her start? Non-existent at the moment, but could change as volume and sales increase. Internships in sales mostly then.
In addition to the basic educational credentials, what intangible qualities are most important to success in your field? SALES skills – if you can make me $$$$, I can find a spot for you.
What trade associations/forums/networking groups or seminars do you or your company attend that may make sense for someone to attend?
What is the most successful networking tip that you have used that you would be willing to share with others.
I sent out a cover letter and resume to EVERY sports team in the nation -150 plus letters, looking for any job opportunity – it was a high volume “shotgun” effort, but it resulted in 6-8 opportunities and countless other connections. This was 15 years ago, so with the changes in technology, it could be easily done on an even great scale.
What are the top 3 qualities you look for in hiring someone?
Demonstrated ability to work hard and efficiently in an industry that translates to the sports nutrition industry.
What advice have you been given that you would pass on to others looking to break into a career in sports?
Do whatever you can to gain whatever experience you can – you’ll never know when you impress somebody enough to get your next break and it always looks good on your resume.
If you could teach a course, as part of a sports leadership degree program, what would it be and why?
Sports is a BUSINESS – remember to treat it that way.
What did you do during your interview process that separated yourself from others in line for the same job?
See question 10
What has a candidate done, while interviewing with you, to stand out from the crowd?
I haven’t formally interviewed anybody yet, but a background in sales combined with participation on a high level of sports makes a difference to me.
To provide my viewers with a realistic snapshot into your specific industry segment; what is one misconception about your field that you would like to clarify?
Sports supplements can make a significant difference an athlete’s success – my product lines have been used exclusively by over 60 National Championship teams, numerous pro teams and a great many Olympic medalist/athletes.
What is the top reason you decided to pursue a career in the sports industry.
More fun than working as an engineer!
Who mentored you while you were breaking in the field and how did you secure that mentor.
Craig Tartasky – met him at an international sports summit and he offered to talk to me after the summit and made a few calls and directed me to some of the right people. He even hired me part time.
If you were to advise a young professional (or college grad student) who is about to embark on a career search for a role within the sports industry, what 5 strategies would you suggest they implement?
1. Network your butt off in any possible way you can think of,
2. If you can afford it, intern for free in whatever position you can find,
3. Once you make a connection, ask for any introduction to any other sports professional they might know,
4. Persistence is king,
5. Follow your passions, they will always lead you down the right path.
As the Founder and Host of Voice of the Box, let me personally welcome you to our site. We designed it for those who are interested in pursuing a career in sports. We cover topics including: Professional and Collegiate Sports; Social Media and Sports; Sports Marketing & Public Relations; Sports Media; Sports Sponsorships and Endorsements; Ticket Sales; Venues and Facilities Operations and Management; Sports Foundations; Digital Branding…and much more!
Whether you’re a young professional just starting your career, or are planning a transition from another field into a role in sports, Voice of the Box provides the opportunity to learn from industry insiders about their roles based on their experience in the field.
In the rapidly changing world of the sports industry, best practices that were in place just 15 years ago are now obsolete. From social media and viral marketing to PSLs and eight-figure player contracts, those interested in starting a career in sports may have grown up in a completely different world. Thus, Voiceo theBox.com was created.
We offer a collection of interviews by seasoned sports industry insiders who have a unique inside view on the dynamic industry and are willing to share their stories with you. Voice of the Box is dedicated to anyone who is interested in learning from insiders, what it takes to break in and find your niche in the sports industry.
best, Matt Crevin
Informational interviewing is a largely overlooked process, because it is misunderstood. In an informational interview, you are seeking leads and information regarding an industry, a career path or an employer by talking to people you know or who have been referred to you. But before you run out and begin informational interviewing, you have to do your homework. Follow these 10 tips to prepare:
Identify the Information You Want
Deciding which position, company or industry you want to learn about will depend on what you want to do with your life and career. You should have a sense of what is important to you and what you want.
Make a List of People You Know
Choose those who can help you connect to other people within a company or an industry. Since this is part of networking, you will want to include anyone and everyone you know, from your barber to your sister-in-law.
Make the Appointment
Set up a 15- to 30-minute interview with the person identified, regarding his specialty. Most people will be more than happy to help you. Don’t get discouraged if you find some people are just too busy to give you an appointment.
Plan an Agenda for the Session
This is your meeting. Don’t assume the person will give you the information you need unless you ask the right questions. Select questions that will give you the most information. Be efficient, and do not overstay your welcome.
Conduct Yourself as a Professional
Dress and act the role of the position you are seeking. Know as much as possible about the company before the interview so you can ask informed questions.
A little flattery goes a long way. Say something like, “Mary gave me your name and told me you’re considered to be an expert in your field. How did you get started?”
Be Prepared to Answer Questions About What You’re Looking For
Have a short personal statement prepared that you can present if you’re asked about your job search. Bring a resume, but don’t offer it unless requested. Remember, the purpose of this interview is to obtain information.
Ask for other contacts in the field. If no names are suggested, be grateful for information or suggestions obtained.
Send Thank-You and Follow-Up Letters
Thank the person at the conclusion of the interview, but also send a letter stating your gratitude for the time given. Stay in touch with your contacts by writing notes or emails, informing the person how helpful his suggestions have been to you.
Take Advantage of Any Referrals You Receive
In this process, you will have to take risks and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Each step will take you closer to that job offer.
The informational interview is a source of power you can use to your advantage. With preparation, listening and follow-through, you will find the power of people helping each other.
If you are passionate about pursuing a career in the sports industry and want to discover how top level insiders got their start, connect with Matt Crevin today. Matt provides a unique look into the careers of many sports industry executives; revealing their success stories; advice and techniques you can put to use as part of your search strategy. Collaborate with Matt and start listening, learning, creating and executing your own action plan!
I recently made my first trip ever to Green Bay Wisconsin to visit the crown jewel of professional football, the Green Bay Packers. With so much history, tradition and one of, if not the most passionate fan bases in all of sports, it is no wonder that my trip was truly a spiritual experience, in a sporting sense.
When I first drove into Green Bay, the first thing I saw as I entered the city limits was Lambeau Field, the legendary home of the Packers. It is the only four-story building in town, outside of some smokestacks off in the distance.
I drove to the offices of the Green Bay Packers on a Friday afternoon before a Sunday home game and everyone I met with or even shared a casual encounter had a genuine feel about them. From the clerks at the team store (which is amazing by the way) to the docents leading the tours of the stadium to the receptionists, they all shared a genuine approach, which was both refreshing and real.
How does this relate to a career search for a role in the sports industry?
Well, for starters it reminds me of the basics we should all incorporate into our lives whether as part of a career search or every day life; to be genuine, to be yourself. Most experienced hiring managers will see right through someone if they are putting up a front that is not real. It is more important to be true to yourself than to pretend to be someone you are not. This is better approach for both the short and long term of your career. When you present yourself as genuine it also gives everyone you connect with a very true sense of being an authentic person. There are very few out there who possess a “what you see is what you get” aura. It is almost the norm to try too hard and to impress too much so much that hiring managers will eventually see your true colors. Why not be genuine and authentic from the very get go? It might prove to be a stronger approach.
As I progressed through my day of meetings at the Packers front office it was easy to feel the passion all of the employees. From top to bottom of the organization, the passion is clear to see, hear and feel as you walk the buildings. It was not an act, rather a true sense of pride they all share in working, just like the team on the field, in reaching a collective set of goals.
How does this relate to a search for a role in the sports industry?
To show a passion for your specific role or industry will help you shine very positively in the minds of all the industry encounters you make during your search process. Too many people settle for roles where they are unable to show their true passion. Passion can often times be an overused phrase but when used properly and displayed by your actions and your background, it can be a huge momentum builder and we all know what positive momentum is hard to stop!
With each and every meeting I had with Packer front office personnel it was clear to see the level of dedication from each employee. From the very basic function of providing me with the best way to exit the stadium on game day to more industry specific dialog, the level of dedication they all exhibited had a profound impact on my impression of the organization. Perhaps this all stems from the Packers legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who is proudly on display throughout the facility. His no nonsense approach and his dedication to success is “stuff of legend” and parts of his approach, if not all, can easily be translated into every day life.
How does this relate to a search for a role in the sports industry?
Dedication to one’s career search to professional growth within your niche all takes dedication. Just like the athletes themselves, it takes a great deal of personal dedication to create a plan of action and then actually execute on your action plan. Just like one of Lombardi’s many quotes, “Individual commitment and dedication to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work and a civilization work.”
As I mentioned earlier, my visit to Lambeau Field was truly spiritual in a sporting sense. Having spirit, as defined by Merriam-Webster’s,
“a special attitude or frame of mind” can go a long way in one’s effort to capture the attention of hiring managers. Displaying a good spirit is not an easy thing to accomplish but showing the characteristics of a well balanced disposition and solid outlook as it pertains to your career goals is a good start.
How does this relate to a search for a role in the sports industry?
As is the case with a lot of strategies, it is always easier to think about it than it is to implement. It is a new year and now is the time to implement a well thought out plan and stop over analyzing all the reasons why you should NOT take action. Put together a plan of action with attainable goals and go about your networking with a passion, dedication, spirit and a genuine authenticity that will separate you from others.
I would be happy to set time aside to connect with those of you who feel my sports industry career coaching will help you create an action plan of your own and set you in motion towards your goals.