Charonne Thomasos is the Manager of International Games & Operations at U SPORTS. First founded in 1906, then rebranded in 2016, U SPORTS focuses on University sport in Canada. As an organization that focuses on the development of sport within educational institutions, they also center their work around the promotion of student-athletes and their stories. In addition, they work with 56 universities throughout Canada to administrate competitive sport. It was super interesting to chat with Charonne Thomasos as she provided valuable knowledge and experiences on what it’s like to work in the sports field and what it takes to establish yourself within the sports industry. I hope you enjoy getting to learn about Charonne Thomasos as much as I did.
Please note: The interview with Charonne Thomasos was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
U SPORTS is the National University Sport Federation in Canada, under FISU (International University Sport Federation). As the Manager of International Games Operations, I manage the international portfolio which includes all FISU sport and educational events for Canadian University Student-Athletes to take part in.
My job includes a lot of communication with the different parties that help pull an event together. That means that I am in constant communication with FISU, our member institutions (universities, colleges, CEGEPs), national sport bodies, coaches, kit suppliers, etc. For each event that team Canada partakes in, there is a great deal of coordination from both a national level and international level which is inclusive of Canadian embassies, travel agents, and local organizing committees. A typical day for me is a lot of emails, phone calls, and putting together information packages for Team Canada.
I’ve known I wanted to work in sports since I was in high school. I’ve been in competitive sport since I was 6 years old as a gymnast. I transitioned to volleyball and track and field in my high school years and focused on track and field where I went on to compete at a post-secondary level at Northwood University, in Midland, Michigan. I majored in Sport and Entertainment Management while there and never thought I’d work in any other field. Sport was a major part of my life growing up. It built the competitiveness and discipline that I still have today in all aspects of life. Sport was and is something I am passionate about and so a career in sport was really my only option to feel like I’m truly doing something I love in life.
My master’s program helped prepare me for a more sophisticated level of thinking in my sport career. It helped me look at sport from a strategic perspective rather than a task-orientated perspective. With this kind of thinking, I’m able to look at ways to improve and build the international portfolio by research and analysis which were key aspects that I took away from my master’s program at Ohio University.
I had mandatory practicums and internship requirements as part of my undergraduate degree of which I was able to gain valuable experience within the work environment which was key to me being able to perform in any workplace I’ve had. The actual hands-on experience of being able to communicate via email, interacting with colleagues, multi-tasking and coordinating different aspects of an event are the main areas that a classroom doesn’t necessary teach and that I’ve been able to pick up through my experience.
Almost all aspects of the sport industry involve event management which involves an essential ability to manage your time in order to stay on top of all aspects of the sporting event at hand.
Verbal and written communication skills are essential because 95% of your job is communicating with stakeholders within the sport industry.
I find that this is a crucial skill that some people lack. It is essential to be able to put together and present your ideas, programs, initiatives, events, etc to be able to grow, network and succeed in this industry.
There are multiple team management apps and tools that help with a day to day management of events and teams – but my recommendation would be to find what works for you individually, to stay motivated, organized and disciplined. For example, as small as it sounds I have a “rule” to clear my emails by the end of the week which I find helps me stay on top of things.