Pay it Forward

 Posted on: November 8 2016
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My life has centered around connecting with people.

Perhaps it was growing up in the small town of Fairport Harbor, Ohio (where everyone really does know each other) that gave me the love of meeting new people, getting to know them, and staying connected to them.  That fortunate trait has been my greatest personal joy, and has become my greatest professional strength.

The business of sport that we are all engaged in as members of the National Association of Sports Commissions is conducted through our personal relationships with people from every facet of our professional world, and when we share our experiences with each other we all benefit.

I can still remember the hundreds of hours of benchmarking that it took to launch the Greater Columbus Sports Commission in 2002.  Colleagues (many of whom have now become my friends) from dozens of cities such as Richmond, Orlando, St. Louis and Portland shared their budgets and best practices to help get us off the ground. 

I could not be more grateful for the generosity of time and talent that my peers have shared with me over the last 20 years and that is why I can relate so strongly to the famous words of the late Ohio State Football Coach Woody Hayes who said; "You can never pay it back, so you should always try to pay it forward."  Woody was talking about sharing your success by investing in the future of others.  He knew that was good for everyone.

A perfect example of Woody’s adage happened when I met Jennifer Stoll, Events Coordinator from Colorado Mesa University walking to a general session of the NASC a few years ago.  It was her first symposium and we talked briefly about her intentions to start a sports commission in Grand Junction, Colorado.  We stayed in touch.  A few phone calls and emails ensued with me and others in the NASC sharing what we knew with Jennifer.  Her passion and hard work has resulted in the creation of the Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission.

From this example, Jennifer and I and many of us who are members of the NASC can tell you that it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities to meet new people and connect with those you already know at the NASC Sports Symposium or Market Segment Meetings and to network with each other.   

So, remember to take the time to pay it forward.  Plan ahead to talk to individuals in your competitive set or an aspirational organization that is striving to grow and invest in their future by sharing your experience with them.  You will grow as well.

Connecting with people can become your greatest strength.


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