DETROIT — With resumes in hand, more than 200 students from around Michigan and parts of Canada attended Careers in Sports Leadership Panel at City Theatre in Hockeytown Café on Tuesday.
Five Olympia Entertainment (OE) representatives participated in a question and answer panel, sharing stories and career advice for students interested in the sports and entertainment industry. The event was available to high school and college students, as those interested traveled from Central Michigan University, Michigan State University and the University of Windsor, among many others.
Stemming from a variety of departments at OE, the Red Wings and MLB’s Detroit Tigers, the panel discussed several facets of the industry from marketing, ticket sales, communications and accounting. Among them was Brien Baumgartner, OE digital marketing manager.
“I think this is a really cool event because of who we’re speaking to, it’s all college students, so that’s me six or seven years ago,” he said. “If I had an opportunity to come to something like this and talk to people, just figure out what really goes on in a job that I think is cool. If I wanted to work for the Red Wings, what would I have to do? What steps should I take? I think that’s invaluable, considering I was just in their seat a few years ago.”
Baumgartner was joined by fellow employee Carly Somers, who serves as OE publicity manager. From the Wings, Craig Turnbull, senior vice president of marketing and communications and Paul Bee, director of ticket sales, were also on the panel, as well as Dean Sisco, accounting manager for the two sports teams.
“Be the best that you can be in this position and you’re gonna move up some day, but it’s not today,” Baumgartner said. “Just be the best that you can be right now and do that every single day and eventually, you’ll progress.”
That message left an imprint with Jaclyn Fellwock and Lauren Wytiaz, who made the 300-mile round trip from Central Michigan University to attend the event.
“I think one of the things that really stood out to me was when they said, ‘star where you are,’” Wytiaz said. “Really try to stand out where you are and don’t try to reach for the stars immediately. Be the best you can in the area you are working in and work your way up from there.”
Both Fellwock and Wytiaz consider themselves avid Detroit sports fans and jumped at the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the organization’s professionals. While Fellwock didn’t initially have plans to work in the sports and entertainment industry, the seminar piqued her interest.
“I really just wanted to hear about what people wanted to say about the organization,” she said. “And how they were involved in the business side of the Red Wings, not just what I see as a fan.”
Following the panel, students had the opportunity to meet one on one with guest speakers and further discuss career advice, future plans and other details about the business. Students were then invited to a buffet dinner at Hockeytown Café before heading to Joe Louis Arena for the Wings game against the Arizona Coyotes.
A project still in its infancy, the Careers in Sports Leadership Panel is still changing and growing to provide the best possible experience for students aspiring to work in the industry. Potential future events could take place in the summer as well as next season.