Show Me the Money

The film Jerry Maguire once had America shouting, “Show me the money!” This year’s Sport Management Club executive board has shown St. John’s students the money with their annual career night.

The sport management club, led by co-presidents Steven Olwell and Steven Aprill, hosted their annual career night at St. John’s. Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance at the event in Bent Hall, which featured dinner and four special guest speakers with extensive careers in the field.

The e-board, which began planning the event at the end of spring semester last year, had said that their chief goal was to ensure St. John’s students that the evening would be worthwhile to all of those who attended.

“[Our goal] was to help give the students of St. John’s, especially sport management majors, a look at people who, in the past, were sitting in our seats and now have established themselves within the sports industry,” Olwell said. “The speakers help give insight to the students of what the industry is really like and what should be [the students’] next move to help them get involved.”

The four guest speakers were all esteemed individuals who made an impact in the field of sport management. Barry Watkins, senior vice president of communications at Madison Square Garden and St. John’s alumnus, began his career as a student intern with the New York Rangers in 1983 and remained with the team for 12 seasons.

“It was a dream come true then, and it’s a dream come true now,” Watkins said, in reference to his job. “This is an industry you want to work in because you want to entertain. It is not an industry to be in if you are concerned with hours.”

Watkins also advised students to instill passion into all relations, learn not to have an opinion and prepare for the job.
“You have to be better than everyone else,” he said. “You have to get experience.”

Career Night also gave students the opportunity to ask speakers about their occupations and advice on making it in the industry. The special guests stressed to students the importance of promotion and commitment, the keys of survival.

Terence Ryan, director of specialty camps at Hofstra University and a St. John’s alum, explained the importance of meeting people and making a lasting impression.

“Everybody you meet is someone who can help you,” Ryan advised. “[You should] be thankful, dedicated and personal. Also, don’t condemn, complain or criticize.”

All of the guest speakers agreed that the key ingredients for an ideal intern or employee are dedication, passion for the job and reliability.

“Don’t be afraid to make a phone call or send the extra e-mail,” said Anna Isaacson, manager of community affairs for the NFL. “Put yourself out there. You never know what could happen.”

Isaacson, a 2001 graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University, made her mark in the sport management world as soon as she graduated. Her initial job of selling souvenirs outside of Yankee Stadium ended up being her foot in the door and became an employee of the merchandise department for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The Sport Management Club also features 50 active members and advisement from Anthony Missere, program director and a professor in the program.

Missere, who has been program director for almost 12 years, and chairman for four, said the sport management Master’s program was approved by St. John’s last Tuesday, and he couldn’t be more proud with the executive board of the club.

“I had nothing to do with this,” Missere said. “I monitor [the sport management club] one time per week. They did a great job with this event.”