As I have admitted many times on this podcast, I am not a natural networker. It is not my comfort zone, I am not the type that will walk up to someone and engage in conversation with ease.
I wish I was.
Oftentimes getting out of your comfort zone is essential to growth. And I like growth. I am a curious person who likes to learn and challenge myself, so last week’s National Sports Forum, with 1,000 people deeply connected to the sports industry, was somewhere I needed to be.
But I was feeling both anxious and cowardly leading up to the event.
We tell ourselves, “these people won’t want to talk with me” or “they’ll find me uninteresting or I’ll struggle with relevant things to say”
Even deeper we tell ourselves “I’ll never get that job” or “I’ll never lose that weight” or “I’ll never be able to speak in a crowd”
Boy, do we have a lot of voices in our head. So ask yourself the next time you feel this happening -- ask yourself -- is this self-doubt helping me?
I broke out of my comfort zone last week. In fact, today’s guest was one of the people who helped me do it.
Minnesota Twins New Business Development Manager Bryan Van Den Bosch said hi to me in the line for food the first night of the conference… we struck up a conversation, he’s an awesome guy with tons of sports career experience so we shared a few sliders at Mercedes Benz Stadium and booked a podcast interview.
So let’s get to it - Bryan is an expert at building relationships in the sports industry, and he’s here to share his world in baseball with the Minnesota Twins…
1: For the last 10 years since graduating from Valparaiso you’ve worked for a multitude of teams in various leagues – and we’ll get into all of those details – but I’m curious first, your roles have been all connected to revenue generation – account executive, inside sales, premium hospitality, new business – what led you in this direction, how did you figure out this was your fit?
2: Let’s talk about your first two roles – we’ve often talked about how jobs in the minor league or in your case independent league baseball are great training grounds – what was your experience like with the Gary SouthShore RailCats & Lake County Fielders?
3: After the independent league, you join the Chicago Sky of the WNBA as an Account Executive -- what was the biggest eye-opening moment for you as you grew from independent league baseball to a big city pro sports team?
5: You were prolific with the Sky.
Multiple sales awards, beating your yearly sales goals with months to spare, in fact in one month you led the entire WNBA in new ticket revenue – so at this time what were you learning about sales and how to connect with potential buyers? What was it that was working so well for you?
6: In addition to your role with the Sky, you also became part of the Premium Hospitality team with the Chicago Bears -- you’re a Chicago guy, was it hard working for your various hometown teams, or was it a dream come true?
7: Would you consider yourself a competitive person? And if so is that a valuable attribute for working in sales?
8: Chicago Sky bumps you up to Manager of New Business Development, now your managing a team of account executives…what were some of the big things you learned jumping into managing people?
9: Now you are evaluating and motivating staff, setting goals, holding people accountable and more -- so after all that, what do you think are the essential qualities and skills that can help someone thrive in revenue-generating roles?
10: For the last year you’ve been with the Minnesota Twins as the New Business Development Manager – how much more difficult is it with such a long season, large stadium and many many home games – is that a daunting challenge?
11: You’ve worked for multiple organizations now in your career… how important is culture to a thriving workplace, and what role do you play in trying to establish a strong culture?
12: We’ll finish up with this, I know this is a busy time in baseball and you’ve already given us a lot of your time which we appreciate – 10 years in, do you still love working in sports, and if so, why? What is special about it?
Georgetown University. What do you think of when I say that name. For me, I think of one of the best schools in the nation.
But now it’s also one of the most approachable schools in the nation for those of you considering your masters!
Georgetown offers a part-time Master's in Sports Industry Management that prepares you to excel in the global sports industry.
The program is ideal for working professionals, offering flexible options to take classes online, on-campus, or through a combination of both—so you don't have to interrupt your career to earn your degree.
You'll leave the program with the communication, business, and leadership strategies that position you for success.
To learn more about the program, visit scs.georgetown.edu/workinsports
Check it out today and see if it’s a match for your career goals!