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Calgary Flames Exec Donnie Glennie Looks Back On His Sport Education

Donnie Glennie - Corporate Sponsorship Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames Exec Donnie Glennie Looks Back On His Sport Education

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Donnie Glennie is a Corporate Sponsorship Executive for Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC). The CESC has several sport properties under its umbrella. Some of which include:

  • Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
  • Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League (NLL)
  • Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL)
  • Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League (AHL)
Donnie Glennie | Calgary Flames Corporate Sponsorship Executive

This means that Donnie Glennie is involved in corporate sponsorships with the CSEC across all teams listed above. Having known Donnie Glennie for over 4 years now, there’s few better suited to work the long hours with a consistent focus and energy than he is. When we reached out to Donnie for an interview, we should have known what was coming. We weren’t prepared! It takes us at least a couple days to complete an interview from start to finish. Donnie Glennie responded to our request with a piece on what it was like to be a Sport Management student. Not only did he save us plenty of time, but he also provided invaluable insight to our readers.

In his write-up, Donnie Glennie discusses his career journey and travels that have led him working with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. What’s more, Donnie Glennie won a championship recently with the Calgary Roughnecks! We are thrilled for his success.

Donnie Glennie is a fascinating individual, with a natural flair for the sport industry. So without further ado, we bring to you Donnie Glennie’s carefully crafted write up on what it’s like to study Sport Management and land a job with your dream organization. Keep in mind, this piece is not in our typical interview format. It’s written solely by Donnie Glennie. Enjoy!

My Sport Management Adventure by Donnie Glennie

Back in 2013, I was working construction back in Winnipeg, Manitoba, unhappy with my career choice. I had used my Western Hockey League (WHL) scholarship for trade school, and by this time I was 5 years out of High School. I had never seen a career counselor. But after working on the same bridge for two straight Winnipeg winters, I knew construction wasn’t my destiny. I needed to find a different path, something that I was passionate about. After lots of research, I applied to go to college for Sport Management. Indeed, I am so happy I did. Over the next few paragraphs, I’m going to try and give you a good understanding of the risks and rewards of working in the Sport Industry from my own experiences.

Get Real About What a Sport Business Job All About

Going into my first year of Sport Management, I was unclear on what it takes to be in the industry. When I graduate, I thought I’d take Brendan Shanahan’s job and live a country club lifestyle. Was I ever delusional!

It’s cutthroat, there’s a lot of long days, and your salary doesn’t compare to your friends working in a similar position. But that’s ok because I love it! The reason that I work in the industry is that it’s rewarding. I love going to work every day.

I will take less money to be happy. Money isn’t the biggest motivator. I wanted to work where I’d be happy every single day. And that I am.

Working for the Calgary Flames is a dream. The joy to come to work each and every day. I truly am lucky to have chosen a career in sport. In addition to the daily joy, there are perks! For instance, I have season tickets at no cost. Also, I’m able to meet the players. Furthermore, I am able to see a lot of concerts and shows that most people could only dream of because the Calgary Flames are apart of a larger entertainment group. 

Donnie Glennie | Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation | Roughnecks Corporate Sponsorship Executive
Donnie Glennie, photographed on the left after Calgary Roughnecks won 2019 NLL championship in an overtime thriller.

Studying Sport Management Involves Risk

Going into Sport Management, there are risks involved. There are way too many graduates for available jobs. And it’s really hard to get into a Senior Management position. It takes hard work, time put in and the right timing.

It’s really important when you’re young to push hard so that you can move up the ladder for the sport organization you work for. Trying to propel into a top role is simply not possible. That can be said of most jobs. But it’s very true in the sport industry. If working in sport is what you want to do, then you need to be real about what to expect.

When you’ve finally earned that type of role, why would you ever leave? I think that can be a problem for a lot of up and coming people in the industry. They have a hard time taking that next step, and essentially that next step provides much greater financial freedom.  Some people move out of the industry because their paycheck doesn’t enable them to get a house, or start a family, etc.

A pretty similar to risk to above, but also a little bit different is keeping your job. There’s a ton of people who want it, and I feel as an employee that it takes away from a lot of leverage financially. From my experiences seeing people be let go, I don’t think your job security is as great in this industry as it could be in others.

Donnie Glennie | Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation | Roughnecks Corporate Sponsorship Executive
Corporate Sponsorship Executive for Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) Donnie Glennie photographed with the 2019 NLL championship trophy after the Roughnecks won.

You Set Sport Management How You Want

Sport Management is so vague and there are so many different areas of expertise. People take a job out of school for the sake of getting a job, and there’s no problem in doing so, it’s hard to get one and I did the same. The risk here is that you go into an area of expertise that is not suitable for you. If your strength is in Brand Marketing and you go into Sales, I think it’s going to be a bad experience and it could be tough to recover from. If you’re going into sales on the Partnership side, you also better have a good understanding of marketing, or you won’t be very good salesmen. Essentially what I’m saying is that you need to get it right, because a bad reference from your very first position in this industry will not be helpful.

The Verdict

Sport Management provided me with the skills I needed to enter the workforce, but more importantly, it changed my daily mindset and vision. Being excited to go to work is something that I never thought was feasible, and I’d imagine the majority of the population feels the same way. It’s the best move I’ve ever made, personal or business-wise, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Donnie Glennie
Corporate Sponsorship Executive, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC)

Introduction by SPMA
Updated August 13, 2019 in Your Career in Sport