Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Speaker Series. Guest Blogger: Jessica Doherty

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific are currently running a free speaker series for the next 6 months in Vancouver. Topics range from Sport Sponsorship to the Legacy of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. These speaker series' are aimed at professionals in the sports industry, including athletes.

Stay tuned for the next date and topic, in the meantime, check out this great blog from the Sports Sponsorship event in April.

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Speaker Series: Blogged!
By Networking in Van Guest Blogger, Jessica Doherty

Full disclosure: I know very little about sponsorship. In fact, if I didn't sit in front of our sponsorship guru at work, I may know absolutely nothing about the topic. ¬†Working in the sport sector, however, means sponsorships – or ‘partnerships' as our panelists referred to them – are a necessity, so when I saw it was the subject of the April 18 session of Canadian Sport Centre's speaker series, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get in some 101.

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, in partnership (see, there's that word again!) with the Vancouver Park Board, Vancouver Sport Network, and the Creekside Community Recreation Centre, assembled an impressive panel for the second event in their free speaker series: Rob Mullowney, now with the TwentyTen Group, was part of the highly successful sponsorship team for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Andrea Wilkinson serves as the Director of Partnerships for Vancouver's newest major league sports team, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Steve Podborski works as the National Director for Community Sport at TELUS, recently named the world's most philanthropic company.

Our setting for the evening was the Creekside Community Recreation Centre, which, if you've never been, is a gorgeous facility in what was the Athletes' Village for the 2010 Olympic Games. The room we were in overlooked False Creek, with a clear view of the Vancouver skyline. Since the series is marketed as a “monthly networking series and panel discussion for sport professionals, athletes, coaches and students”, I was unsure of the type of crowd to expect but discovered a healthy mix of both amateur and professional sport enthusiasts mingling over wine and cheese upon my arrival.

Having seen Steve and Andrea speak at previous events, I was eager to hear what Rob had to say about his experience with the Vancouver Games. He kicked off the panel with a talk on elevating sponsorship (short-term transactions) to partnerships (long-term sustainable visions) – a sentiment that seemed to be consensus among all three speakers. Many of the examples interspersed in Rob's presentation offered a peek behind the curtain of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, something of which I rarely tire, given the huge success of the event. Andrea was up next with a case-study about developing a partnership strategy for a new major league franchise, and Steve Podborski rounded out the evening by providing the alternative perspective on the panel, which gave the audience an opportunity to pick the brain of a potential investor, and led in nicely to a lively Q&A.

Despite having three different backgrounds and focuses, all three speakers hammered home the same message: particularly in this economic climate, creating mutually beneficial deals that fulfil objectives of both partner organizations is the most effective strategy for long-term, sustainable success.


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