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And even someone who is an introvert can be successful at it!
Communications Chief For Commonwealth Games Canada
Senior Communications Specialist For Canadian Olympic Committee
I was mostly a Press Chief or Assistant Press Chief so those roles are most relevant. The Canadian Olympic Committee sends a Canadian Team to the Olympic Games, the Olympic Winter Games, the Youth Olympic Games and the Pan American Games. I have worked at all of these except the Youth Olympic Games.
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games, Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games (Toronto), 2007 Pan Am Games (Rio de Janeiro), Duties usually involved the following for Team Canada:
I did this role over a number of years with the Canadian Olympic Committee and the responsibilities varied greatly from year to year. They usually involved:
I also worked at 5 Olympic Games: Sydney 2000, Salt Lake City 2002, Athens 2004, Torino 2006 and Sotchi 2014 with CBC and Radio-Canada, the broadcast rights holders for Canada at the Olympic Games.
My role then was Guest Coordinator, which involved being the main contact for all interview requests by the CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast family (news, sports, digital, radio, English and French) with Team Canada. I coordinated all interviews at various locations (International Broadcast Centre studios, MPC, Athletes’ Village, sports venues, etc.
It has significantly affected my current business, which is comprised of a number of services. I emcee national conferences and all large gatherings including conferences have been cancelled. I also had three international contracts cancelled, which involved trips to New-Orleans, Ireland and Italy.
Being adaptable is a key skill to have at Major Games such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, as you never know what will happen from one day to the next. While you work on a pre-established schedule, a number of issues can arise. Due to the constant stream of information being shared through traditional and social media, we usually need to respond quickly to these issues as they arise. Some of the issues I have dealt with involved:
Skills that I would recommend as being important in this environment would include:
It helps to be naturally extroverted in terms of speaking in front of others (interviews, press conferences, events, etc.) but in my opinion, someone who is an introvert can also be successful at it.
Someone who is an introvert can be successful at it. It takes preparation and practice!
Many people may not know the level of detail involved in preparing for the Olympic Games. When one edition of the Games ends, we are already preparing for the next one. There is a large “Team behind the Team” working in a number of areas: preparation, health & science, communications, village operations, outfitting, marketing, etc.
Sylvie Bigras has been able to build a successful career working as an expert in communications for Major Games. She has established herself as one of the best in the business and in turn has been able to attend some legendary events. Her years on the job have taught her adaptability, being ready for anything a major event can throw at you. She’s mastered the art of patience and conflict resolution, which is not surprisingly vital to have in her role. Sylvie has worked for 15 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games & 5 Pan Am Games and is clearly an example for anyone aspiring to build a career in Major Games communications.