Approximately 40 students and 13 sport industry experts attended Niagara University’s third annual Sport Recreation and Tourism Summit on Saturday, Feb. 23. The event, organized by the Niagara University sports management & recreation and athletics departments, was an opportunity for attendees to learn about the career experiences of presenters, as well as the newest trends and issues within sports.
The summit included keynote presentations by Jeff Dunn, MBA’90, executive vice president, Sports & Entertainment Group at SunTrust Bank, and Bill Regan, associate director of academic and membership affairs for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Dunn spoke about sports expansion and building his career, including his roles as divisional executive for the west coast of Florida, executive vice president and head of private wealth and investment management for the Tampa region, relationship manager for high net-worth clients in the Tampa market for private client services, and his current role at SEG.
“At some point in your career, you’re going to have to take some personal risk … stick with it, and run to that opportunity, not from it,” Dunn advised.
In addition, there were panel sessions that included discussions about sport media and technology; sport governance and ethics; ticketing; sport analytics and research; women in sport; and sport expansion. Panelists included alumni Vincent Lepore, M.S.Ed.’90, manager of business analytics, Pegula Sports & Entertainment; Andy Chesebro, ’07, assistant director of marketing and communications, Harvard Athletics; Chris Norman, M.S.’15, strategy analyst, Ultimate Fighting Championship; Alexis Wayne, ’13, M.S.’15, director of women’s basketball operations, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; and Kelly Cruttenden, ’98, associate athletic director, University of Buffalo Athletics.
Students gained insight on the realities of working in the sports industry and the challenges they may face as they pursue their careers, and had the chance to network with professionals in the field.
“I like coming to this event because it is a great opportunity to network with so many people,” said Abby Gibson, a junior sports management major who has attended all three summits. “The speakers and alumni want to help us with our careers, which is really great.”