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Annual Thinking Forward Conference Spotlights Sports Marketing

Lute Olson with Thinking Forward award winners
Marketing Department Thinking Forward award winners pose with UA
basketball coaching legend Lute Olson. Click image to view photo

Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

By Liz Warren-Pederson

View 8th Annual Thinking Forward Conference Image Gallery >>

For eight years, the Department of Marketing’s annual Thinking Forward Conference has connected students with professionals at the top of the marketing game.

“This year we teamed up with the Department of Management and Organizations, and in particular the Sports Management Program to co-sponsor an outstanding conference on the theme of sports marketing,” said Linda Price, head of the marketing department. “It was the largest Thinking Forward event to date, with nearly 200 in attendance, including for the first time a select number of non-Eller students who had a chance to sample this Eller experience through their affiliation with the Sports Management Program.”

Price collaborated with Brent Seebohm, director of the Sports Management Program, on the slate of guest speakers. That speaker lineup included Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants; Dennis Moore, VP of sales and marketing for the Denver Broncos; Daniel Shlossman, a product manager for the National Football League; and Jeff Plush, founder and CEO of Helium Sports Group.

Denver Broncos VP Dennis Moore with students
Denver Broncos VP Dennis Moore meets with
students at the annual Thinking Forward
conference. Click image to view photo gallery.

Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

“The highlight of this event was being able to hear each speaker’s path to where they are today,” said Hillary Davidson (Eller Marketing ’12). “As a student studying sports management, it is common to hear how difficult it is to break into such a dynamic industry. These influential executives gave each undergraduate in the room hope and inspired us to continue to follow our dream of looking for positions within sports.”

Davidson is the current executive director of ZonaZoo, and is interested in pursuing sports marketing as a career. “I have had a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the world of sports while still in college,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the ever-changing atmosphere, enthusiastic fans, and the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

“A personal highlight for me was the addition of an Eller Marketing awards ceremony and sports networking event, which we hosted in the Jim Click Hall of Champions following the morning program,” Price added. “This event was introduced by one of UA’s long-time champions, Lute Olson. Students had an opportunity to interact with Lute, and also get professional one-on-one career advice from masters in the field who we heard from earlier in the day.”

“My favorite part of the conference was hearing Lute Olson speak and being able to meet all of the speakers individually at the Hall of Champions at McKale,” said Ronnie Larik (Eller Marketing ’12). “This was a great event because sports teams don't come to the career fairs, but the event allowed students an opportunity to get their foot in the door and learn more about the industry.”

Added Davidson, “My experience at Eller has been full of hands-on opportunities, insightful lectures, and creative networking opportunities. This event exceeded my expectations as I appreciate the fact that Eller brought in a dynamic group of speakers who were able to give us real stories, real experiences, and real advice.”

“Not many people can say they have met and had a conversation with Lute Olson and Larry Baer,” Larik added.

Learn more about the Department of Marketing's dynamic Thinking Forward events.

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