Students Score Advice at Sports Symposium

February 14, 2013

Pictured on front slider left to right: Ashley Alletto, Lauren Watts, Dr. Angela Pratt, Kristina Korolev.

Group photo of sports communication students and Dr. Angela Pratt at ISU Sports Management Symposium

Lauren Watts, '15, Watseka, Ill.

"Turn the lights on, and turn the lights off".

The conversation at the 3rd annual Illinois State University Sport Management Symposium stressed the importance of internships and consequently, the office lighting.  Clair Peterson, Tournament Director of the John Deere Classic, said as an intern, you should always be the first to flip the lights in the morning and the last to flip them at night.  

Another panelist, Phil Bedella, Vice President and General Manager of Comcast SportsNet, added that you must be so good at your job the organization cannot function without you.

Twelve Sports Communication students, accompanied by assistant professor of communication Dr. Angela Pratt, received this advice and wisdom from individuals who have seen sport evolve since the 1970s.

These panelists discussed the ever-changing environment of professional and collegiate sport in depth.

Brad Nagel, Manager of Fan Services for the Chicago Cubs, highlighted social media's revolutionary effects on fan-player interaction.

Sophomore Sports Communication major Kristina Korolev, '15, Toronto, Can., said, "It was so interesting to hear opinions from all sides of business about how the industry of sport has and will continue to transform."

Mr. Pat Williams, Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic, concluded the event with his keynote speech.  He touched on nine principles to achieving success in the industry, including mastering public speaking and the notion of being a "what-elser".  That is, volunteer for everything!

"Pat Williams' speech was phenomenal," sophomore Ashley Alletto, '15, Downers Grove, Ill., said.  "He was engaging and gave us advice to help jumpstart our careers."

To have a successful career in the sport industry, you cannot simply be a fan.  You must be business savvy and flexible, because with the flip of a switch, everything can change.

The day's events concluded with an internship fair with local businesses including the Peoria Chiefs, Peoria Rivermen, Bloomington Flex, Normal Cornbelters, and Game Day USA.