Championing Change: 5 Future Businesswomen Paving the Way for a New Era of Gryphons Athletics | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Championing Change: 5 Future Businesswomen Paving the Way for a New Era of Gryphons Athletics

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2024

Written by Alexandra Lindsay, Alessandra Malvaso, Taryn Farrell, Sophie Potter, Lauren Ross

During the 2023 Fall semester, Lang students in the Communication and Media Strategy in Sport course (SPMT*2220) partnered with the University of Guelph's Athletic Department in a collaboration designed to increase fan engagement with Gryphon Varsity Athletic events. The course culminated in a pitch competition, where students had the opportunity to share their innovative sport communication strategies with Gryphon Athletics executives.

The winning pitch, entitled The Gryphons’ Classic, proposed a strategy to create a first of its kind Women’s Hockey Homecoming event. The proposal built on the current momentum around women’s sport and advocated for Gryphon Athletics to position itself as a leader in the effort to narrow the current gender gap in Ontario University sport, while building an exciting new tradition at the University of Guelph. The pitch was championed by second-year Lang students, Taryn Farrell, Alexandra Lindsay, Alessandra Malvaso, Sophie Potter, and Lauren Rossi-Zalmons.

"We are truly thankful to the Department of Athletics for believing in our plan and we hope it comes to fruition. Women's sports continue to rise, and we hope that through this opportunity, the University of Guelph becomes a trailblazer for women's sporting events in the OUA community." said Lauren Rossi-Zalmons.

The iterative project involved brainstorming, market research, and working through the logistics of many different communication design strategies.

“I was truly enthused to see the level and quality of presentations, thought, research and ideas these students brought to their presentations. If this is the quality of students coming out of the program, I am excited for the impact they will have on industry upon graduation” said Director of Athletics, Scott McRoberts.

The Sport Media and Communications course at the University of Guelph provides students with the opportunity to gain real world insights into the sports industry. Through experiential learning and applied assignments, students get the chance to mirror the excitement, stress, thrill, and sense of accomplishment that roles in the sports industry offer. Students noted the course fuelled their passion for sports business and allowed them to look forward to their future careers in the sports industry. “Dr. Lebel told the class throughout the entire term to “shoot for the stars”, student Sophie Potter recalled. “The experiences and motivations from this course will stick with us as we move through our professional careers, inspiring true change and the development of new perspectives in the sport industry.”

“The caliber of work that came out of the Sport Communication Pitch Competition this semester was incredibly impressive. The students really engaged with their challenge to enhance awareness around varsity sports on campus. The solutions they presented were clever and creative - I could not be more proud of them!” - Dr. Katie Lebel.

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