Success does not come just from hard work and present knowledge. Nor does it just come from a positive attitude. But having the right attitude, working hard, and having the needed knowledge will bring you success.
There are lots of ways to build knowledge. There is a fantastic mentoring program through SMCC (Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada) where a young industry professional can be matched with a seasoned pro—a great way to learn. I highly encourage this process. Over the last 15 years, I have worked with more than 20 students and industry professionals in both formal and informal capacities as a mentor, whether it was through my high school working with students planning for the right career path or through a post-secondary school program as I did with the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. Also I was in the SMCC mentoring program for a year. But more often than not, it has been someone who saw me speak, or someone who read my book Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing and reached out to me to help them grow in the industry. Or perhaps it was someone who wanted to get into the industry and it was recommended that they touch base with me. Recently, I have worked with individuals starting up their own businesses. There is great satisfaction in mentoring. I encourage those new to the industry to look for a mentor, and to those who are experienced, share your leadership skills and knowledge with others.
Another great way to increase your knowledge in any industry is by attending conferences and workshops. A terrific sponsorship-focused conference with delegates from coast to coast to coast is the Western Sponsorship Congress®. This November, the WSC-Alberta Forum is being held in Edmonton and will host both those looking for sponsorship dollars (properties) as well as brands that buy sponsorships. It is loaded with breakout workshop sessions, plenary speakers, and panel discussions, including the famous Five Minute Pitch® , a “Dragon’s Den” format of sponsorship pitching to sponsors! There is also the Knowledge Café, Congress Confessions, and Ask Me Anything!. Seating is limited for this day-and-a-half event, so be sure to register soon and also look for some great discounts. If you are a newbie to the industry (two years or less), you are also welcome to register, in conjunction with the WSC or as a standalone, to attend the half-day workshop The Art of Sponsorship – Sponsorship 101 Boot Camp. This is a great half-day of knowledge for you or someone in your organization with less than two years in the sector.
Across Canada, in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, there are monthly SMCC meetings. Some are breakfasts; others are in the evening. These are great opportunities to learn best practices from industry leaders who present case studies and panel discussions. There are also fantastic networking opportunities. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but members attend free and there is a charge for non-members. Either way, it is a great deal!
Today, there are many economical ways to further your industry knowledge. I truly believe in ongoing learning and know that I learn at least one new thing each day. That keeps me on top of our industry and provides me the ability to share first-hand knowledge and experience with others. I invite you to add to your positive attitude, hard work, knowledge, and growth through any of the methods noted here. With that combination, you will be a leader and a success story in our industry!
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