How My Mentor Helped Me
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A little over three years ago, I was hired as the National Sales Manager at the West Michigan Sports Commission. I was making the transition from college athletics into an unfamiliar territory of sports tourism and knew that I had to hit the ground running. Developing relationships in the community and eventually on a national level was very important in being successful, but where was I supposed to start? Fortunate enough, I had a great support system in my organization that guided me throughout the process. But still, the tradeshows were something I was not quite sure about because they were all so different. And what is this thing called ‘speed dating’? Do we really have six minutes to get as much information as possible from event planners?
I had the opportunity to attend a few tradeshows prior to my first NASC Symposium in Milwaukee. As I continued to meet people in the industry, they would always talk about the NASC Symposium because it was much different than others. This made me excited about heading to Milwaukee and eventually hosting in Grand Rapids a year later. As the months approached, I received the emails just like everyone else but still was a little uneasy on what to expect from my first symposium. How do the appointments work, what educational sessions should I attend, what is CSEE, what is Sports Legacy, etc.? None of the other tradeshows had things of that sort. That is when I received the notification I had a mentor and he was located right down the road from me in good ole Pure Michigan. Mike Price is very involved in the NASC and I knew he would be able to help me with any questions or concerns that I had leading into the show. Most of the time we ended up joking around and he would tell me to do things that would embarrass myself at the symposium, but I knew better and it was all in good fun. He truly was open to helping me feel at ease and guiding me in the right direction, no matter if our destinations compete with each other for business on a daily basis or not. Having the ability to have a mentor for my first NASC symposium was very helpful and I appreciate the NASC for having a program that allows new people the opportunity to connect with others in the industry prior to arriving at the symposium. It made the experience a lot more seamless and I gained a great friend.