There is no such thing as an individual sport.
An Olympic pole vaulter may be by themselves during their spotlight moment, but they are never alone. Behind every athlete we see and admire on screen there is always a team of people nearby.
The United State Olympic Committee is best known for being the Team behind the athletes of Team USA – coming this May they could be the Team behind you.
May 25-27th in Colorado Springs, Colorado the USOC is hosting their first ever Team USA Career Development Forum geared towards the business side of sports. The three day event will expose attendees to the business of Olympic and Paralympic sports through break-out sessions, social networking events and a powerful line-up of speakers.
“As a globally recognized leader in the sports business industry, Team USA sees the benefit of bringing sports industry professionals together to share best practices, develop working relationships and engage in productive discussions,” says USOC Director of Business Development Michael Cain.
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The sports industry is constantly changing, and this forum aims to keep attendees on the cutting edge.
“Sending a resume and getting a job that you stay in for 35 years does not happen as often in today’s business environment, especially in sports,” adds Cain. “This forum is an opportunity for attendees to practice and perfect those skills necessary to be agile and adaptable in an ever-changing marketplace.”
On the third day of the forum there will be a career and internship fair providing attendees access to the biggest employers in the business of Olympic and Paralympic competition, including:
- USOC Communications
- USOC Business Development
- USOC Operations
- USOC Digital
- USOC Marketing
- USOC Meeting and Event Services
- USA Field Hockey
- USA Racquetball
- USA Cycling
- USA Shooting
- USA Taekwondo
- USA Weightlifting
- Mountain West Conference
- Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau
- and more that are yet to be confirmed
With over 300 employees, the USOC is always on the lookout for talented individuals to help take their business to the next level, this forum will help teach the next generation of sports leaders, but also help them find their next great employees.
“Part of our organizational mission is to support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence while demonstrating the values of the Olympic Movement. In order to achieve our goal, our organization has to ensure that we have hired the most well-trained, professional staff as possible,” concludes Cain.
To learn more on this unique event, here is the rest of my interview with Michael Cain, Director of Business Development for the USOC:
WorkinSports.com: What are the main things an attendee can expect to experience from attending this forum?
Cain: Attendees will be exposed to both classroom-style learning and social networking sessions. During breakout sessions, attendees will discuss various topics, including data-driven decisions, digital content, strategic planning, networking and leadership.
Sports professionals and leaders from all levels of the corporate hierarchy will be in attendance.
We feel that the “ABC’s learnings” of the forum are not as important as the opportunities to participate in in-depth discussion about topics pertinent to the sports industry.
The amount of concrete and tangible learning that an attendee experiences will directly correlate with his or her level of engagement at the forum.
WorkinSports.com: You will be headlining one of the breakout sessions on leadership – without giving away any conference secrets – what are the basic tenets of being a leader and why is it important in the workplace?
Cain: A good leader must establish a mutual level of trust with those they manage. If a solid foundation of two-way trust is not established it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have a productive work place.
A good leader must show loyalty, clarify their expectations and practice personal accountability. Doing these three things will help to ensure the establishment of trust necessary for a productive workplace.
The strength of any successful team will compensate for any individual weakness of team members. It is important for a good leader to establish a work environment that provides a constructive atmosphere for growth, and will allow those he or she manages to highlight their individual strengths.
Under effective leadership, everyone on a team is able to unleash their personal talents and clearly see their individual worth to any organization and its mission.
WorkinSports.com: As a content guy I’d be magnetically drawn to the session on digital content strategy, but in truth, the one that piques my interest the most is on Data-Driven Decision Making. More and more sports executives nowadays come from an economics/statistics/analytics background than a coaching/scouting world – do you see this as the new reality, or just a passing “Moneyball” fad?
Cain: Data-driven decisions are definitely the new norm.
Any organization, whether it be for-profit company or non-profit corporation, is faced with budgetary constraints. Decisions on how to most effectively spend organizational monies must be based upon sound data and justifiable financial return. For the long-term, sustainable organizational success, business-related decisions must be based on facts.
Our organization is constantly looking for ways to implement processes that measure progress which will allow us justify bigger decisions in the future.
All employees have a fiduciary duty to their respective employer to make sure that their business decisions are based on properly collected and fully analyzed data.
WorkinSports.com: Networking also plays a major role at the forum, not only is there a “how to” session, but there are also a few networking events to connect attendees and speakers – in your view, is the sports industry still a “who you know” world?
Cain: Absolutely. The sports business industry is a small world, and while “who you know” is important, it is equally important who knows you. Even more important than that, is about how & why they know you.
Everyone has their own personal brand, and at the forum, attendees will be able to showcase their brands. Professionals need to understand that networking is about relationship-building, not just collecting business cards.
Our forum gives professionals the environment to establish the foundations for, what we hope will be, long-term, productive, working relationships.
WorkinSports.com: You’ve had a long career in the sports industry, so tell me what is it you look for in a candidate when you are hiring?
Cain: When looking to hire a potential candidate, you obviously have to first establish that the candidate has the necessary skills to effectively accomplish whatever job he or she may be applying for. Once those baseline skills have been confirmed, I focus primarily on finding the right “fit” for the overall team.
Admittedly, often times a new hire decision comes down to a gut feeling of who will work best to improve the overall cohesiveness of the team.
I am less concerned in finding a new employee that is very focused on becoming really great at one particular thing, but would rather have someone with a curious personality, an interest in learning new things and an intention of constantly improve his or her personal portfolio of skills.
And finally, referring back to the discussion above, I need to make sure that I feel the potential new hire is someone that I will trust as a teammate.
Click here for more information on attending the Team USA Career Development Forum May 25-27th in Colorado Springs, Colorado.