The event began last year under the guidance of current UConn seniors Paul Wetteman and Christos Schwarz. Senior Brian Wolfe and sophomore Nathan Nugent co-chaired the event. Held in Laurel Hall, the conference ran from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In the morning, the event kicked off with opening remarks from keynote speaker Clyde Doughty Jr., the Athletic Director at Bowie State University. In a wide-ranging speech, some of his focuses were being present in the moment and being adaptable to change as it is unavoidable and constant.
There were then morning workshops. Students and attendees had the option of workshops in Ticket Sales, Marketing & Analytics, Communications & Public Relations, Event Management & Operations, Management & Administration, Programming, and Sponsorship. After a lunch catered by the Red Rock Café, these workshops repeated in the afternoon.
Students worked on case studies under the guidance of mentors who were professionals in the respective fields. Students presented resolutions to the cases and mentors subsequently provided feedback. Mentors came from places like ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Mets, Hartford Yard Goats, Trenton Thunder, Northeast Conference and several other places.
Following the afternoon workshop, there was designated working time for participants to engage with mentors. ESPN HR conducted a program on-site. This was an area of growth the executive board targeted.
“A major adjustment we did this year, that we hope to continue, is modifying our networking portion to include career opportunities. We encouraged the companies in attendance to submit applications for internship and full-time positions to offer the students an opportunity to grow after attending our conference. In our inaugural event, an attendee secured a full-time position with a professional who he met at the conference. We want our attendees to succeed after attending our conference. That is one of the cornerstones of our events,” Wolfe said.
The event concluded with a panel hosted by UConn Sport Management Professor Dr. Justin Evanovich and featuring professionals Jay Moran, Athletic Director of Southern Connecticut State University, Christina Andrews, Director of Suite Sales and Services with the New York Mets, Katrina Clayton, Marketing Coordinator for Monument Sports and Entertainment, Theus McBee, Social Media Assistant for the National Basketball Association, and Dr. Tiffany Jones, a sport psychologist. The panel touched on numerous topics including relationships, diversity in the workplace and advice for young professionals.
The event wrapped up with concluding remarks from Wolfe.
“The goal of this year’s conference was to create a hub where professionals and undergrad and graduate students can meet. From the attendee’s perspective, our goal was to provide them not only with a professional development experience but also the opportunity to network with the professionals and search for jobs with their organizations. From the professional’s perspective, our goal was to provide them with the ultimate pool of dedicated individuals who were looking to grow and learn from them."
Matt Barresi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.