Manager Corporate Partnerships
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Hockey Club
Meet Nick Roeleveld! Nick was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and has recently moved to the Soo after accepting a full time position with the Sault Greyhounds! Since moving to the Soo Nick has becoming involved in a number of community organizations, events, and is a proud Strive member!
What was your major in while at school?
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, I took two years of Commerce at Grant Macewan University from 2011 to 2013. From there, I transferred to Brock University in September 2013 and graduated with a Bachelor of Sports Management (BSM) degree in June of 2016.
What was your career path?
For as long as I can remember I had a part-time job of some sorts; whether it be as a paper boy, line cook/dishwasher, sales associate at various retailers, shipper/receiver, etc, I always felt the desire to put in some work and make a bit of spending money. As I got older, I developed an appreciation and understanding for sales, marketing, and overall business operations. I found every interaction with a customer to be a new challenge of trying to earn their trust in who you are as a human being. Once you can earn your customers trust, I think a lot of barriers to sales come down very quickly. The best part about earning trust is that you’re building new relationships and learning about different types of people with every interaction. It’s a lot of fun to me and I find that I rarely have to do anything that’s redundant or repetitive.
Although my professional career path has been a relatively short one, there’s been quite a bit of travel and movement the past few years. As part of my BSM degree at Brock, we were allowed to intern at a sports organization of our personal choosing. After some searching, I was privileged enough to land an internship in the Business and Hockey Operations Department of the Soo Greyhounds for the 2015/2016 season. From there, I was fortunate to acquire a full-time position with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL in June of 2016 as an Account Executive. It was my first full-time job after graduating University and it felt pretty awesome to earn a living in my specific field, plus I was able to do it in the sport I grew up loving. I had envisioned a long-term tenure with Hamilton, but in November 2016, the Greyhounds reached out to me to gauge my interest in the open role of Manager of Corporate Partnerships. It was a tough decision for personal reasons, but I loved my time in the Soo during my internship and the chance to handle more responsibility. in addition to working for one of the most iconic teams in the CHL, was too much to pass up. Since December 2016 I’ve been a member of the Soo Greyhounds organization and couldn’t be enjoying myself more.
What does a normal day-to-day look like for you?
A normal day for me starts with checking emails and following up on tasks that I had set for myself in my calendar. Being in a small organization that only staffs five full-time business staff, I’m in constant communication with my co-workers. Communicating with our Manager of Ticket Sales, Matt Rodell, and our Manager of Gameday Operations, Shaylan Spurway, is integral to ensuring our organization is pulling in the proper direction at all times. From there, I normally have a meeting or two every day with current or potential corporate partners. I try and do check-ins with current partners on a consistent basis to make sure they are happy with how their advertising and sponsorship with the club is going. I`m in touch with the Ontario Hockey League on a daily basis to ensure I`m on top of any promotions and league deals that we might have going on. In addition to that, I`m reaching out to new potential partners consistently to try and find ways that the Soo Greyhounds can help promote their brand. I`m in touch with the players and coaching staff in regards to setting up player appearances at various schools or corporate partners, and am normally a liaison to the players during our public events. On game days, I`m working closely with our Gameday staff to ensure all of our promotions, videoboard spots, and PA announcements are being executed properly, as well as checking in with my corporate clients renting the VIP Suite or presenting the night as a Game Day sponsor. The biggest aspect of my job is relationship building and networking, in all honesty. Especially in a city as close-knit as the Soo, it is integral to earn the trust and respect of local business owners who are supporting our hockey program with their hard earned dollars.
Did you always know this was what you wanted to do for a living?
In regards to this particular job, I fell in love with hockey at the age of 3 or 4 and my passion for the game grew stronger as I got older. Unfortunately, I was never going to have the talent to play at the highest levels on the ice, but I always dreamt of working for my hometown Oilers in some capacity. I had no idea how I’d ever get there, but I stayed involved in the game even after I stopped playing by coaching minor hockey teams with my buddies and working at hockey camps in the summer months. I just continued to follow my passion/obsession and, eventually, I ended up finding out about Brock University’s Sport Management program. I took a risk, moved out East for it, and it’s been the best decision of my life.
What strategies do you use to maintain a work-life balance?
Maintaining a positive work-life balance was a huge learning curve for me as I struggled with trying to do too much at all times early in my career. In my case, I find less is more and I produce better work when I’m relaxed and present in the moment. I’m a huge proponent of meditation as I struggle with anxiety quite a bit. It’s been a huge help in shaping how I think and approach new tasks/challenges. I recommend anyone to check out the app, Headspace, if they struggle with anxiety, stress, depression, or any other mental pitfalls that are common in our society.
Once the work day ends, I try to focus on doing things for myself and putting my happiness/well-being as the number one priority. I do this by going to the gym regularly, going running and golfing in the summer, reading, ensuring I make time to connect with my friends and family back home on a regular basis, driving down to visit friends in the GTA on the weekends, and just being okay with lazing around some days to watch TV or Netflix. I think enjoying your job is very important, but to me, I think the time away from the office is what really matters the most.
What do you see as the advantages of being a YP in SSM?
What are the challenges? Our generation has more access to information and knowledge than any generation before us. Because of this, I think we have a huge opportunity to find better ways to do things; more efficient ways of doing things. Our youth is an advantage in the fact we are collecting and filtering information at a faster rate than any group has ever done. This is a competitive advantage in a population centre with older generations who have grown accustomed to the same routines and way of doing things. It doesn`t mean the current way is wrong or broken, but like anything, there is always room to improve on current business models or ways of thinking.
To me, the biggest challenge I faced in the Soo was finding people my age to meet and interact with. I found that because I wasn`t from here, It was really hard getting into the social networks that were already built up by lifelong Saultites. In joining Strive, I`ve found a group of people that I can relate to and learn a bunch from.
What would you change about SSM?
How would you go about making this change? From an outsiders perspective, I`ve found the local population can be quick to engage in negativity regarding new idea`s. That would be something I`d like to see changed. Obviously, changing societal views takes years, but a community like this is so much more successful when people are supportive or engage in constructive criticism instead of openly dismissing something right away. By providing a support system through Strive YPG, I think we can begin to turn the corner on engaging in thoughtful dialogue aimed at improving all aspects of Sault Ste. Marie.
Any advice you want to give to local Young Professionals?
Just be yourself. I think being honest, genuine, and kind to others will go a long way in fostering relationships and gaining the trust of your clients, peers, and superiors. The ability to do good work is great, but I think how you treat people around you is what separates great employees from the mediocre
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Always go for it. You’ll never regret going for it because even if you don`t get to exactly where you thought you wanted to go, you`ll learn so much about yourself along the way. Life is all about taking the most from your experiences, positive or negative, and growing as an individual each day.
Why did you join Strive?
I joined Strive as a way of getting involved in my new community and meeting people my age who are passionate about making everything around them better. It`s awesome to interact with such a diverse and hard-working group of individuals who are always striving for bigger and better things.
What is your favourite part about being a member of Strive YPG?
Definitely the people I’ve met along the way. You develop some terrific relationships on both the business and personal side of things.
Why would you recommend Strive to your peers?
You have a chance to be a part of a group that wants to make a difference and really believes in the Soo. We all see the potential this city has and want to have a hand in making it better. It`s a fun, laid back group that`s open to new ways of thinking and doing things. Definitely refreshing!
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