By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Avish Sood, Co-Founder of The Sponsorship Space and Coordinator of Sponsorship Sales for the Toronto 2015 Pan/ Parapan American Games Organizing Committee. He is an alumnus of the University of Toronto where he received his Bachelor’s degree in commerce specializing in accounting. Shortly after graduation, he quit a job he had with a hedge fund accounting firm and enrolled in George Brown for Sports Marketing and he hasn’t looked back since. As one of Sports Launch Magazine Top 30 under 30 he was gracious enough to offer up his insight on sponsorships, his website and why networking is so important.
What previous positions did you have before your current position? How did they help you get to where you are today?
Like most people in this industry, I started off as an intern.
My work in sports started when I got a job with The Score Television Network as a Junior Accountant. Shortly after, I started interning with the Toronto Blue Jays in sponsorship and now, I am working with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games in sponsorship sales.
Each of these jobs helped provide me with an edge when applying for my latest job. My accounting background showed my understanding of corporate strategy and financial statements, while my sponsorship work showed I was ready to contribute right away.
For those of us who do not know about The Sponsorship Space, can you tell us a little bit about it and what the goals of the site are?
The Sponsorship Space is an online resource I started with Darryn Renaud in order to educate and recognize hard-working young professionals in the sponsorship industry. Our talented team makes an effort to provide timely information to our followers relevant to the sponsorship world. Our goal is really to provide a platform for young professionals to learn about the world of partnership marketing and provide them with unique networking opportunities with industry professionals.
As the Coordinator of Sponsorship Sales for Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee, what is a normal day like for you? What daily challenges do you face?
What I love about the role is that every day is a bit different. My job is to assist our small sales team in bringing new partners on board to join our sponsor family. I've been given a few categories to overlook and I have to work on finding potential sponsors that might be able to partner with us to help alleviate budgetary restrictions.
The biggest challenge I face is that partnering with our organization can be a bit overwhelming for many companies. Since we operate similar to an Olympic model, there are limited field of play opportunities, so we have to show many potential clients the powerful results of partnering with our organization outside of a traditional signage and field-of-play opportunities.
If you had to hire someone today, what traits would the ideal candidate need to succeed in the sponsorship side of sports?
If the person was to work on the sales side, the core traits I would look for would be composure, confidence, creative-thinking skills and professionalism.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
"Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard" - Kevin Durant (not really career advice, but resonates with me)
What is your favorite part about working in the sports industry? Specifically the sponsorship aspect?
The best part is certainly getting the opportunity to work in an exciting field where you see the direct impact of your work. I've always grown up wanting to play professionals sports; this is by far the next best thing. With sponsorship, there is a unique opportunity to work with companies from a variety of industries, all with different marketing objectives. By working with these unique partners, you get to learn about industries you might have ever been exposed to.
What is your ultimate career goal?
My ultimate career goal would be to work on a top-tier property selling sponsorship packages and creating unique marketing solutions for partner brands. My dream job would be doing this in professional basketball.... because I love the sport.
How important is networking in your eyes?
Networking is critical to finding a job. It's important to tailor your resume and take on opportunities that will help you land that next dream job, but while you do this, it's very important to build strong relationships with as many people as you can. Each person, whether in sports or not, will offer you a unique perspective on your career and who knows, might be able to help you out through a contact down the road.
You can find his website at: http://www.thesponsorshipspace.com