You have to be flexible and be able to adapt on the fly.
Manager of Corporate Partnerships and National Events
Canadian Hockey League (CHL)
The interview with Nick Williams was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
Tell us about your role as the Manager of Corporate Partnerships & National Events for the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). What does a typical day look like for you?
As my title indicates, my role is essentially divided into two parts. On the corporate partnership side, I am responsible for managing several of our national partner relationships and ensuring that they receive full value for their partnership with the CHL.
For our national events (CIBC Canada Russia Series, Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Memorial Cup Presented by Kia), I work collaboratively with our internal corporate partnership team, our other Manager of National Events and the host CHL teams to plan and execute all event signage and promotional activations.
Tell us your thoughts on whether being a competitive person is a valuable attribute for working in a sales job like corporate partnerships? Are you competitive?
I have been involved in athletics from a young age and believe that organized sports provide a number of positive learning experiences that form who you are as a person. While I believe that being competitive can be helpful at times, it is not absolutely necessary in order to be productive or successful at your job.
Currently, aside from participating in some recreational sports leagues and events, I am not as competitive as I was when I was younger but can still dial it up when required.
What suggestions can you provide for how to ideate in-game/event elements and find alignment with other departments?
My first suggestion is collaboration. We have weekly group meetings with our corporate partnerships team and a weekly call with all three regional leagues (WHL/OHL/QMJHL) in order to collaborate and ideate new promotions and activations. Agencies that represent our partners are also a great source of new ideas.
Another suggestion is imitation. Look at what other teams or leagues are doing. Moreover, once you have built up a network, you can also ask others in the industry for ideas or suggestions.
Managing sport events (especially at a national level) is not an easy job by any means! What advice do you give to people that are interested in doing what you do someday?
If you are still in school or a recent graduate, try to gain as much hands-on experience as you can. If there are no full-time, part-time or internship positions available – volunteer! Previous work experience can be a bigger differentiating factor than your education.
Event management can be overwhelming, so the best advice is not to panic. Be patient and remain calm. You have to be flexible and be able to adapt on the fly.
Even though they are clichés, you must be organized and show attention to detail. Communication and relationship skills are also very important. The ability to work on a team and with others outside your organization.
Hayley's Final Thoughts
Nick’s insights on the event management side of the sports industry were incredibly helpful. Event management requires an array of skills and Nick was eager to share his tips to gain such. In order to gain skills applicable to event management, Nick suggested volunteering. Volunteer experience can make a HUGE difference when applying to jobs in the industry. Volunteer experience is much more than an addition to your resume; it also grants opportunities to meet new people and make valuable connections. Considering the advice Nick gave, I can say this interview will be a huge help to young sports professionals.