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SVP's speak to Islanders University

by Brittany Cole / New York Islanders
In today’s job market, it’s all about finding your niche and separating yourself from the competition.

That’s what Islanders University interns learned Wednesday afternoon as they were on hand for the first of a weekly series of speakers. Interns had the opportunity to listen to two members of the organization’s executive staff, Senior Vice President Michael Picker and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Paul Lancey. These men shared not only their work experiences, but gave advice on what the team’s current set of interns -  who are just now beginning their journeys into the sports industry - can do to help jumpstart their own careers.

Picker and Lancey, who both worked with the organization in the past, returned to the Islanders last year. The longtime colleagues and friends agreed that in order to be successful, the interns need to stand out this summer and in all future interviews and jobs.

“Learn as much as you can and find your passion,” Picker told the interns. “You have to be a sponge and reach out and offer your services and offer to learn, especially in an organization like this.”

Senior Vice President Michael Picker and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Paul Lancey spoke to Islanders University on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.
Picker, who started his career as an accountant, said that it isn’t always about what you go to school for or what you start out doing early in a career. Other times, you may do what you love, but it’s important to expand your knowledge and learn new things, a vital tool in the Islanders organization.

“You can’t just be an accountant,” Picker said. “It doesn’t work that way with our organization. Accounting may be your primary thing here, but you get involved in a lot of other aspects of the business.”

These words of advice struck home for Jordan Josephs, a rotational intern and senior at Syracuse University.

“Mr. Picker mentioned that you may start doing one thing and then end up doing another thing,” the Rockville, MD native said. “A lot of us are ambitious and have ambitions to do certain things, but in the end, we don’t really know where we’re going to go or where we’re going to end up. So I think what he said is encouraging.”

Lancey, like Picker, also discussed the importance of standing out and finding a strength, telling the interns that they have to separate themselves, whether it’s by physical presence or the way they package themselves.

“It’s a new world that you live in,” Lancey said. “You have to explore some new things.”

Lancey was referring to the ever-changing and advancing technology.

He also stressed the importance of a resume, something that all too often goes overlooked.

“It’s an important document, so you have to give it a lot of time and do things that separate you,” Lancey said. “Resumes are a first impression, so it’s important to have something that grabs attention. You have to differentiate yourself.”

With the position the interns are currently in this summer, the advice they received from the executives could be crucial in the not-too-distant future as they start their quests for permanent employment.

Sponsorship intern and Port Washington native, Robert Rubinstein, was happy with the speakers and learned a great deal about what to do with his time this summer with the Islanders.

“Building relationships and connections with people you work with and that you can work with, that’s a big thing in this world,” said Rubenstein, a senior at Sacred Heart University. “Obviously, you need to stand out personally. From there, you can just become a huge asset for an employer.”

Rubenstein agreed with Lancey on how today’s job market is a constant competition.

“As the economy gets better, there might be more and more chances, so really try to put yourself above everyone else and show that you are the right person for the job,” Rubinstein said. “That’s really what I took out of the combination of both of the speakers.”

As the speakers concluded the session, Lancey gave some final advice to the interns.

“I would absolutely make sure you take from here as much as you can,” Lancey said. “The only mistake you’ll make is not trying. You have to try.”
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