After moving from Ottawa, Canada to the Big Apple, Ryan had an opportunity to follow his dream career in sponsorship and sports marketing. Ryan graduated from Carleton University in 2013 and pursued a Master of Science in Sports Business Management at Manhattanville College. During his time at Manhattanville, he was chosen to participate in the Manhattan Sports Business Academy leading him to an internship with Premier Partnerships supporting their sponsorship sales team. Ryan had an opportunity to work with LeadDog Marketing Group before he moved to The Madison Square Garden Company to work in Marketing Partnerships.
The Sponsorship Space had the chance to sit down with Ryan to chat about his career growth and advice for other young professionals.
1) Ryan, you started off at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Tell us a little about your journey thus far. Was the transition to a new country tough?
I always say my journey down to New York was a series of fortunate events. From my position as Assistant Golf Coach at Manhattanville College, to stumbling upon the application for MSBA in a Google search, a lot of things happened right at the right time. The transition to the U.S. was definitely an adjustment at the beginning, but I'm fortunate enough to have a good network around me that made it much easier.
2) In 2014 you attended the Manhattan Sports Business Academy. Can you talk about your experience with the program.
MSBA was great. It was my first time living in New York City, and my first taste of real industry experience. Not only was the professional network I was able to develop invaluable for my career, but the friendships I made extend well beyond that summer and the sports industry.
3) Before your role with MSG, you worked with Premier Partnerships and LeadDog Marketing Group in other roles. Do you feel that your agency background has helped strengthen your skill set now that you are on the property side?
Working at Premier and LeadDog definitely helped shape me at an early stage. More so than agency vs. property, I think working for smaller organizations was a great way to get started in the industry. MSG is a massive corporation and an intimidating place to start a career, so having a little experience under my belt certainly helped.
4) In the last few years, you have experienced a lot of growth. What do you contribute to your success thus far?
I hate to sound cliche, but it really does just come down to hard work. In any entry-level position, the goal is to become so ingrained into the organization that you become invaluable, and the only way to truly do that is to bust your ass (pardon the language) and go above and beyond. That's what I tried to do and still try to do every day I go into work.
Everyone also tells you how important networking is to breaking into and having success in the sports industry and that's definitely true. I continue to make it a point to connect with people in and outside the sports industry. New and different perspectives can often be a source of revelation and you never know where you'll be able to use a piece of information or knowledge picked up along the way.
Lastly, as I said in the beginning, a lot of things happened right at the right time. I'm very fortunate to be where I am and doing work that I enjoy doing.
5) What sort of advice do you wish you had as you grew your career in sponsorship?
I was actually given a lot of great advice through MSBA and while at Premier and LeadDog, and there are a couple things that stuck with me.
1. "In sponsorship, you are selling something that nobody needs." It's not like you're selling someone an umbrella in a thunderstorm, but more like you're selling someone a bigger, more sturdy umbrella than the one they already have. That little tidbit reminds me that while brands are becoming more and more accustomed to sponsorship, it is still a new concept to many marketers and one that requires hard work and intelligence to execute successfully.
2. "Put yourself in positions where you don't belong." This is similar to the concept of dressing for the job you want, not the one you have. Quite simply, it means that the more you can put yourself out there and interact with industry execs who maybe you "shouldn't" be interacting with, the more confident you'll be in those situations. Eventually, whether it's in a high-level meeting at work or on a panel at a conference, you will belong and you'll feel right at home no matter the situation (I'll let you know when I get to this stage lol :) ).
The Madison Square Garden Company
Education: Manhattanville College
Age: 25 years old