Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday afternoon former U.S. Marine Steve Gera led the class through a Leadership Reaction Course at San Dieguito County Park. The course was designed to test each individual’s leadership ability. The class was divided into groups of four and each group was put through four challenges. Each challenge was a simulation which put the group in a stressful environment with a mission to complete. The designated leader, with the help of their team members, had to design and execute an action plan in order to successfully navigate through the challenge and complete the mission.
In addition to Steve Gera, four other Marines were on hand to act as administrators. At each challenge, the Marine briefed the leader on the situation. As the leader took action to direct their team, the Marines were tasked to ensure each team did not violate any of the rules that were put in place. The Marines were there to not only ensure the teams followed the rules, but also to provide feedback on what it takes to be a good leader. After each mission, the team was de-briefed and had the opportunity to discuss the scenario with the administrator.
In between challenges the Marines taught hip-pocket classes on what it takes to be a good leader. They called on their experiences in the Marines, including their deployment to Iraq, to provide real examples of what it takes to be successful. In the business world, we may not encounter situations that are as stressful or as serious as being deployed in a war, however, some of the same principals may apply. The course provided an experience that you can’t have sitting in a class. It provided real feedback on our leadership skills, including our individual strengths and weaknesses.
I personally believe that reading and discussing leadership in a classroom can help prepare a person for a leadership role, but leadership skills can only be measured when put into a real-life situation. That’s why I found the LRC to be so interesting (and fun) because it gave each one of us the opportunity to see how well we can lead a team through a situational problem.
My team was comprised of four individuals, with myself included. During each challenge, one of us assumed the leadership role and was presented with the situation, a mission, a set of tools, and 20 minutes to fulfill the goal. The main objective, however, was to see how effectively the leader can communicate, generate ideas, and problem solve. With four different personalities in each group and no two situations exactly the same, the day was about listening to each other and working together as a team. I found it interesting that none of the courses could be accomplished with just one person and that everyone in the group was needed to accomplish the goal. Through the process, I got a better understanding of my leadership capabilities, as well as how to work when being lead by another teammate. I also thought the exercise was a great way to get to know my fellow classmates better and to bring us all little closer together.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
On Friday we were all given the opportunity to partake in a Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) led by our Leadership teacher, Steve Gera (SMBA ’07). We all went into the day without much more information than directions to the site, and that we could bring our own gloves if we wanted; this obviously left us all with a lot on our minds of what to expect from our teacher who used to be in the Marines, and his Marine buddies. Upon arriving at San Dieguito County Park, we got into our assigned groups of 4 or 5 and were ready to begin a day of leadership activities that pushed us outside our comfort zone and helped us learn to trust one another while thinking creatively to solve problems as they came at us.
Throughout the day, each group went through four different cells that had tasks we had to solve, while attending some “hip-pocket” classes from Steve and the other leaders in between. Each cell challenged us to think outside the box and work together to come up with some type of solution to get to the root of the problem and complete the task. We had to make our way through different hypothetical situations, such as getting out of a flooding basement, getting water safely to the other side of a mined fence, and using specific tools in a very specific way to get from one safe haven to the next. The LRC pushed us to really work together with the members of our group and learn how to take over a situation and become a leader when you need to be. Overall, it was a very informative, interactive, and challenging day, but we all left more comfortable with one another than before and with newfound leadership skills that we will all be able to take with us as we continue this journey through our Sports MBA.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Also, Raquel Rodriguez (SMBA '11) was nice enough to provide the rest of the class the following summary about the Dominican Republic trip:
San Diego Padres Community Outreach in the Dominican Republic
Mission: The San Diego Padres, committed to extending their long-standing domestic mission of reaching out to the community, have put in place a multi-faceted LIVE, LEARN, and PLAY program in the Dominican Republic. The main objective is to contribute to the improvement and reach of the education system, health and quality of life in the communities surrounding their new state of the art baseball academy located about one hour west of Santo Domingo.
What’s being done: The San Diego Padres and San Diego State University are working toward improving education in the Najayo public schools system, located in the San Cristobal region of the Dominican Republic.
The Padres-SDSU educational program is centered on improving the quality of teaching and student learning environments at the elementary school level. Immediate initiatives include: the establishment of five before and after school learning centers throughout the region and the travel of SDSU students from the Sports MBA program to the Dominican to participate in community projects in the Najayo area.
Currently, the one major project being worked on will be the community center, so this may be a major source for the money raised thru fundraising. The general idea is that once there is a community center a lot more programs can be run like technical courses, medical attention centers, sports, workshops, job generation, etc.
Goals of the program: To improve the quality of life and education of the Dominican people.
SDSU plans to provide faculty and students to develop teacher training programs, perform public health evaluations and assist with socio-economic development. As the partnership develops, SDSU students will also have the opportunity to study abroad in the San Cristobal region of the Dominican Republic and participate in hands-on community service learning projects.
About the Padres Dominican Republic Baseball Park:
Opened on April 29, 2008, the Padres Dominican Republic Baseball Park operates year-round and serves as the hub for the Padres Latin American baseball operations. The all-inclusive park includes two regulation-size playing fields and a half field, batting tunnels, a clubhouse, weight and training rooms, a dining hall and administrative offices. Additionally, the complex has housing for over 60 players as well as managers and coaches. In an effort to create a comprehensive training facility for the athletes, the club has incorporated on-site classrooms to further their education.
USAID is an independent United States federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. USAID supports international development and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy and conflict prevention; and humanitarian assistance in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Eurasia.
USAID’s close partnership with the Dominican Republic goes back more than four decades. The current program is helping to address development challenges such as weak governance, inadequate rule of law, frail institutions, and poor service delivery; poor quality of public health care and basic education; a growing gap between rich and poor; and the need to adjust to a rapidly changing global economy.
USAID will serve as both a catalyst as well as donor for this alliance. Through the Program Office USAID will provide logistical, programmatic, planning and evaluation support to the MLB-DDA. In addition, USAID will provide resources that will serve as a match grant fund in order to provide incentives to MLB teams, players, agents and fans as they begin to explore options for investing in development initiatives with the Alliance partners.
The Major League Baseball Dominican Development Alliance (MLB DDA):
MLB DDA implements community projects that focus on preschool and basic education, health, youth development, and economic development in the marginalized communities and neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic.
The MLB DDA is an alliance between Major League Baseball, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Batey Relief Alliance (BRA Dominicana), Esperanza International, the Dominican Institute of Integral Development (IDDI), Plan International, Save the Children (FUDECO), and World Vision. Inaugurated in November 2008, the alliance uses the influence of baseball to leverage resources from fans, players, teams, and sponsors to contribute to a country that has given so much to baseball.
In the Dominican Republic baseball is more than a sport. In addition to being a productive pastime for youth and adults, it represents a way of life and the hope to overcome poverty. Everyday boys and girls, arrive to baseball diamonds and open spaces in their neighborhoods and villages to tone their baseball and softball skills and to entertain themselves - but many arrive day after day with the hopes to make it to the Majors.
This desire is reinforced by the extreme poverty that many people experience. Some see baseball as the only path out of poverty. A selected few will see the playing time for a professional team and benefit from the fortune and fame that the job entails, but the others will eventually move on to other opportunities. MLB-DDA will harness this pivotal influence baseball plays in so many lives to promote community development projects focusing on education, health, youth development, economic development that will improve the lives of many Dominican habitants.
The MLB-DDA marks a new page in development partnerships by uniting the resources and brand of MLB with the financial support of USAID to support community development managed by the 6 allied non-profit organizations to improve the lives of the most afflicted people.
To leverage the influence of baseball in the Dominican Republic and the financial and human resources of member organizations to carry out at a national level sustainable development projects that focus on education, health, youth development, and economic development in underserved communities.
To implement strategies with the cooperation of Major League Baseball, the 30 teams, owners, players, agents, and fans in order to channel money to high-priority community projects in the Dominican Republic that will have positive, long-term impacts on the education, health, and well-being of the beneficiaries.
Preschool and Basic Education Projects
These projects focus on the quality of educations and infrastructure of schools located in marginalized communities. Projects include building and remodeling schools, training teachers, organizing after school and extracurricular activities, supporting schools with materials, among other activities.
These projects are directed towards improving the health awareness and prevention, offering access to professional medical attention, and promoting a healthy environment. Projects include HIV/AIDS awareness, the construction of aqueducts and water systems, the construction of latrines, medical missions that provide professional medical attention and surgery, malnutrition alleviation, vaccinations, trash recollection, organizing and training health promoters, community clean-up activities, among others.
These projects are geared towards teaching youth important life skills necessary to make good decisions and lead a successful life. Projects include youth camps and workshops that address issues such as youth rights and interfamilial violence, the construction of libraries and computer/internet centers, artistic and cultural events and workshops, youth group activities, baseball/softball league sponsorship, support for youth sports programs, among others.
These projects intend to increase sustainable economic activity in marginalized communities to improve family economic conditions and create job opportunities. Projects include microfinance to micro and small businesses, professional advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs, training in entrepreneurship and business concepts, support for farmers, among others.
Other Community Projects
The Alliance also focuses on many other community projects such as disaster relief and mitigation, remodeling and constructing houses, building community centers, and supporting other community initiatives.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Greg shared his story from custom club fitter for Ely Callaway to Director of Product Creation; an interesting job in which he is charged with using their technology and expertise to develop products that will meet the preferences of golfers in 2012 and beyond (the 2011 production/R&D schedule is already in place). Kevin's viewpoint is a little different as he acts as a liaison between several group internally to manage the brand of Callaway golf balls as well as Top Flite, which was purchased by Callaway in 2003.
Among other insights, Greg and Kevin reinforced the importance of being motivated and becoming a "jack-of-all-trades" as the versatility created by those experiences will surely benefit you in the long run. While not first-hand, our class has been fortunate to be able to learn from the experiences of guest speakers such as Greg and Kevin, which I'm sure will come in handy down the road for us!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
San Diego State is the lowest seed to advance beyond the second round of this year's NCAA tournament. The Aztecs are going to the regional semifinals for the first time in school history. Cheer on the Lady Aztecs when they take on #2 Duke at 11:04 AM PST on Saturday, March 27.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Kutner talked about the importance of not being afraid to just go and talk to people. He then told us about how he introduced himself, and successfully built a relationship, with Nike's co-founder Phil Knight, because he wasn’t afraid to talk to him at a tennis tournament.
Kutner now works as an adviser for Consulting ICS (Ideas. Connections. Success.). He encouraged us to be a connecter and to build as many relationships as possible to succeed in the sports industry. One of his key pieces of advice was to be interesting and to have stories, because you never know when you’ll meet Phil Knight.
Thrower gave an energetic presentation about not being afraid to “put your money where your mouth is”, protecting your image by being careful what you write online, reading EVERYTHING before you sign it, and thinking big. He even encouraged us to think in 3 and 10-year increments during our lifetime, so that we can set better goals.
Of course, to drive home some of his points, Thrower asked us to list some superpowers that we wish were possible. He then went through each one and noted how they already are, in fact, attainable. All in all, Thrower’s presentation was very informative, entertaining and…uh…active.
The Aztecs are looking for their first-ever NCAA second-round victory, as a spot in the Sweet 16 and a trip to next weekend's Memphis Regional is at stake. The Mountaineers are a tough team, but make sure to tune in to ESPN2 tomorrow night to support the Aztecs.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
LACKRITZ ON FOX 5
Nice job, Dr. Lackritz!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
As is tradition, SMBA '11 will have no class on Thursday, March 18...the opening day of the Tournament.
SCOTT MINTO ABOUT THE DAY OFF
Monday, March 15, 2010
Just back from an amazing weekend in Indian Wells, I am struck by the drastic improvements made in tournament organization at the BNP Paribas Open. Well acknowledged to be one of the most important events in the tennis calendar (outside of the Grand Slams), Indian Wells is a Masters 1000 event with 128-player draws on both the men's and women's side. The Indian Wells tournament has a long history in the Palm Springs area, but was recently purchased by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison for over $100 Million.
This is my third year in a row attending Indian Wells and out of all the tennis tournaments I've attended around the world, it is definitely one of my favorites. Nestled amongst the desert mountains of Southern California, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden sneaks up on you; a small town outside Palm Springs is a seemingly odd place for the second largest tennis stadium in the world. The vibe on the grounds of the tournament is one of a large country club, which is one of the events' most endearing qualities and also one that I give Larry Ellison enormous credit for reworking.
in rebranding the event in many ways. The concessions and sponsor tents were renovated and clearly marked with dramatic, eye-catching signage. The practice courts were lined with new bleacher seating, which was a much appreciated addition for those without tickets inside the main stadium. The tournament also added seating around many of the outer courts, a welcome upgrade to those looking to take advantage of all the great action during the opening weekend by walking around from match-to-match. The tournament also improved its non-tennis entertainment with live music around the grounds, daily autograph sessions for fans, and a "KIDS Zone," clearly taking a page from the US Open's model of all-day, first-class entertainment.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Getting the opportunity to attend this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston was remarkable. It took place during an unusually warm and sunny day in Boston at the Boston Convention Center. I arrived at around 8 AM, checked-in, and proceeded to go up the escalator to where the conference rooms were located. As soon as I got off the escalator the first thing I noticed was that there were mostly male participants at this event. I have to admit, that as a Latin woman, it was a little intimidating for me at first. But the disparity was not a huge surprise given the context of the Conference and the structure of the sports industry. Once I settled in and saw the day’s agenda I was reminded as to why I decided to fly across the country by myself and participate in this great event.
The topics listed on the agenda were about the business of sports, and the list of people that were in each panel consisted of top executives such as:
• Brian Burke, President and General Manager , Toronto Maple Leafs
• Steve Pagliuca, Managing Partner, Boston Celtics
• Adam Silver, Deputy Commissioner & COO, NBA
• Matt Silver, President, Tampa Bay Rays
• Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets
• Jonathan Kraft, President of Kraft Group (Patriots)
• Bill Polian, President, Indianapolis Colts
• Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks
• Bill Simmons, Columnist, ESPN
• Michael Lewis, Author: Moneyball and The Blindside
• Peter Moore, President, EA Sports
• Jessica Gelman, Director of New Business Development and Operational Initiatives, The Kraft Sports Group
And many, many more!
The list was very impressive and I could hardly wait to hear about each topic. Throughout the day I attended five panels that discussed topics such as: Next Generation Sports Management and Ownership; International Expansion; What Geeks Don’t Get: The Limits of Moneyball; Future of Attendance: Innovations at Arenas & Stadiums; and Buzz-Worthy Events: The Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Winter Classic. Each of the topics was very interesting and each of the panelists offered an insight into the business of sports that I found invaluable.
Throughout the day I found myself becoming immersed in each topic and took notes of things that I found interesting, which was almost everything. I ended the day with about 8 pages of notes and a couple of business cards. In choosing one thing I came away with by attending the Conference, I would say it was the reinforced idea that having the knowledge of running sports like a business is the key to a successful career in sports. Having analytical and communication skills are essential. And the “I can” attitude goes a long way with top executives. Lastly, being innovative can land you the position you have always dreamed of. Some of the key people stated that if you can think outside the box and come up with great ideas, “you are hired.”
In conclusion, I found this Conference extremely valuable to my quest of landing a job in the sports industry. Not only did I get some insight into the sports world from the people running it, but I got to talk to some of them. Making connections is definitely another way in and I look forward to next year’s Conference.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
On Monday, March 1st until Thursday, March 4th, Emily Nakayama (SMBA ’11) and I had the opportunity to work with Soccer United Marketing at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Soccer United Marketing, also known as SUM, works extensively with the Mexican National team doing marketing and promotional work for the games that are held in the United States. Over the last few months, Mexico has embarked upon a six-city tour in preparation for the World Cup. On Wednesday, Mexico battled New Zealand in front of a sold-out crowd at the Rose Bowl.
Pressbox view of Mexico v. New Zealand game.
Emily and I had the responsibility of working Fútbol Fiesta, doing sponsorship activation. Along with Fútbol Fiesta, we also helped with post game meet and greets with current players and legends from the Mexican National team. Fútbol Fiesta is SUM’s marquee event that features an interactive area outside of the stadium in which thousands of fans can come and play games, eat food and prepare to watch the game ahead. Fútbol Fiesta offers sponsors a great opportunity to push their brand to an audience of thousands. The sponsors at Fútbol Fiesta included Wrigley’s, NAPA, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Home Depot and Cacique.
Early set up of Fútbol Fiesta.
Working with SUM gave Emily and I incredible insight into working with sponsors on a grand scale. We also learned what goes into executing a large event on an operational level. Seeing the excitement from the Mexican fans was unlike anything we are used to in America. To see the Mexican team have such a large following in the States was both impressive and thrilling. The remaining games in the tour are shaping up to draw large crowds, similar to the game at the Rose Bowl, which is great to see!
Thanks to SUM for the great opportunity! To learn more about SUM, click on SUM icon.
For other SMBA experiences, check out Oumar’s post.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Keith Simmons, founder and CEO of XTERRA Wetsuits, addressed our class yesterday morning. With an entrepreneurial spirit and proven track record of success, Simmons spoke with a high level of passion and motivation on setting goals and achieving your dreams. As a collegiate runner who made the transition into the sport of triathlon, he soon discovered the swim would be his biggest challenge to overcome. Upon realizing the benefits of wearing a wetsuit in open water competition, Simmons found himself competing in over 100 triathlons, including qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Identifying an opportunity and chasing a dream, he entered the triathlon wetsuit industry. Initially founding a successful retail store on the East Coast, Simmons has since built an empire at XTERRA Wetsuits here in San Diego – the birthplace of triathlon.
A charismatic presenter, Simmons told us of the trials and tribulations on his roadmap to success in running XTERRA Wetsuits. Revolutionizing triathlon wetsuit sales, this distribution company quickly grew to number one market share position in the United States. Through their utilization of an online direct sales model, they have been able to maximize consumer satisfaction by providing the end-user a higher performing product at a better value than their competitors. Simmons highlighted the importance of customer service serving as the foundation from which he built his company. Showing the class their new interactive website, Simmons pointed out the differentiating factors that make the consumer experience at XTERRA Wetsuits both direct and efficient. The company prides themselves on their “quick, personalized, friendly, and excellent service” – this mentality has no doubt played a key factor in their continuing growth.
Addressing such topics as international sales, the manufacturing process, financing a small business, and expanding into new markets, Keith Simmons provided a unique perspective on how to make a splash in the sports industry – we are all looking forward to having him back!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Yesterday Alex Montoya, talked about his dream job of working for the Padres and the process of reaching his dream. So, my words of the day are persevere and perseverance.
Persevere- to persist in pursuing something in spite of obstacles or opposition.
Perseverance- steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
I think we will all need to persevere and use perseverance to reach our dream job or jobs.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Montoya, who was born as a triple-amputee in Colombia, South America, worked hard after graduating from the University of Notre Dame to land a job with his favorite team: the San Diego Padres. After securing three interviews, working as an usher, and meeting with Larry Lucchino, Montoya still didn’t have his dream job. But, after further education and even more networking, Montoya was hired as Manager of Latino Relations.
Montoya is now in charge of growing the Hispanic marketing for the Padres, which includes fan relations across the border as well as overseeing the Padres’ Spanish website.
All of this is just a slice of Montoya’s incredible life, which he has chronicled in his book, Swinging for the Fences. Montoya gave the SMBA ’11 class some great advice about securing a job in sports, including “stay as connected as possible”, “tell an employer what value you’ll bring to them”, and “put in time and effort”. We’ll be sure to read his book for even more inspiration.
Monday, March 1, 2010
This past weekend I was fortunate to travel back to my hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to take in some of the 2010 Winter Olympics. I can easily say that this was the greatest experience in my life. The energy and pride that permeated the streets of Vancouver will be something that I will never forget. However, this was not just Canadian pride. Countries such as the USA, Germany, Russia, Norway, and Sweden (to mention a few), were very well-represented in the mosaic that was the Vancouver Games.
Prior to the 2010 Games, there was much debate in Vancouver with regard to the economic feasibility and justifications for the event. In every establishment I visited during the Games, the benefits for local business were clear. Owners, managers, and employees were working feverishly to handle the large amount of business, but as I was told many times: “they wouldn’t have it any other way.” In addition to the economic impacts of the Games, I spoke with many initial opponents of the Olympics coming to Vancouver who changed their mind once they saw how the games brought joy to their friends, family, and country.
As an avid sports fan, I was always excited about the Olympics coming to Vancouver, but as the games approached I became increasingly excited about the exposure it would bring to my hometown. With many sold-out venues and victory ceremonies, as well as great Olympic related entertainment around the city, I am convinced that these games were a success. With the culmination of the games being the Gold Medal Hockey game between Canada and the USA, I do not think the IOC or VANOC could have asked for more. The hundreds of thousands of people that were on the streets of downtown Vancouver after that game can definitely attest to that.