U SPORTS sits down with each of its summer interns in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Hayden Yeung
- School: Brock University
- Program: Sport Management
- Internship position: International Programs / Merchandise
- Hometown: Markham, Ont.
1. What attracted you to Brock and your program?
Growing up surrounded by sport and being on both ends of the spectrum as an athlete and a coach, sport has created a positive impact on my decision in pursuing a professional career in sport. The Sport Management program at Brock University is a unique, cutting-edge program in Canada that provide students with the opportunity to be challenged academically while connecting them with industry professionals through professional development days, fieldwork opportunities, and much more. If anyone is looking for a fulfilling and exciting career in sport, the Sport Management program at Brock University will prepare and harness you with the appropriate knowledge and experience that will seamlessly transition you into the ever-changing industry of sport or post-graduate studies (if you wish).
2. Why were you interested in interning at U SPORTS?
Since entering the Sport Management program at Brock University, I have learned to expand my horizons with the many different sectors that make up the Canadian sport system. Aside from living out the dream of working in professional sport, Canadian university sport was something that resonated with me as a student-athlete at Brock and because of that, I have established the desire to help grow the university sports in Canada into something much bigger and greater. Another stand out factor that captured my interest in interning at U SPORTS was the size of the organization. Having big shoes to fill as the national brand for university sports in Canada, this small organization is a powerhouse filled with bright minds and energetic leaders meaning that I would be able to touch base and connect myself with all the interrelated departments and see how they operate; truly an experience you don’t get too often with larger companies that have a more hierarchical structure.
3. What are your key learnings from your experience at U SPORTS?
Having completed my internship at U SPORTS, I have taken away many great learning experiences while being under the wing of my manager, Charonne Thomasos – U SPORTS’ Manager of International Game Operations and Merchandise. Some of my key learning takeaways include understanding how U SPORTS plays an important liaison role in connecting student-athletes with the opportunity to participate in international competitions, understanding the importance of policy and how it helps to protect the U SPORTS brand and its affiliates, learning how to build an online store via Shopify and work the back ends of the system, fostering the ability to learn quickly on your feet and take the initiative to ask any questions to clarify any confusion, and last but not least, not being afraid at taking risks and going beyond the “job description” to provide value for the organization.
4. Any memorable moments over the course of your internship?
Over the course of the internship, I have met a lot of great, bright minds, many of which have been in the sport industry for some time. Every day at U SPORTS is a great day; a new day to learn, to grow, and to laugh. Some of my most memorable moments during the internship include cheering on Jordy at the 2018 Motionball Marathon of Sport and taking on my colleagues at Woodbine Beach for some beach volleyball. These moments only make up a small percentage of my entire experience here at U SPORTS and there have been and will be more memories that I will cherish from interning here.
5. What is one piece of advice you can give to someone interested in joining U SPORTS?
One piece of advice I would give to someone interested in joining U SPORTS would be to display a positive attitude and willingness to learn that shows that you want to be part of something bigger. A great internship experience will come down to two things: attitude and approach. Without either, the internship period will be a waste of time and resources and therefore showcasing those two traits will definitely increase your chances of landing your desired position.
6. Why did you choose to pursue a career in sports and what is your dream job?
I have participated in sport all my life. As a confident multisport athlete, I have made a commitment to becoming a sport business professional growing up and has ultimately left me living with no regrets (yet!). Helping to solidify my decision, I coincidently attended a career development conference with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) in my eleventh grade. This was when I met my inspiration, my goal, and my dream. A truly rewarding and fulfilling career in sport for me would be to work in professional basketball with the Toronto Raptors as a sponsorship executive or manager for basketball development/operations.
7. If you could sit down with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach, manager or professional), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
I would like to sit down with Anton Wimmer, a sport executive at MLSE. Anton was the one who I was referring to in the previous answer. He was the first panelist I met at the career conference when I was in eleventh grade and introduced and inspired me to be a sport professional like himself. He mentioned many key points and starting steps that can help anyone interested in working in the field of sport to get into sport. To this day, I still have those points jotted down on my phone and look back once in a while laughing at how amazing and meant to be this was for me. Meeting Anton will happen sooner or later, but our conversation will definitely start off with some previous memories to break the ice. Once the ice is broken, I would probably talk more about what is currently trending in the sport industry and from there hopefully make a great connection to possible future opportunities at MLSE. If all goes to plan, hopefully, I can network with more professionals at MLSE or even better land an internship? Who knows what the future holds, the only thing we can do is try.
8. After joining U SPORTS and gaining a better understanding of what we do, how would you describe the organization and the culture at the national office?
Since joining U SPORTS and gaining a better understanding of their responsibilities and seeing the magnitude of effect this organization creates on the Canadian sport system is truly outstanding, all I can really say is wow! This organization which has less than 20 full-time employed staff are truly great at what they do. The flexible organizational culture is remarkable, the staff here are friendly, knowledgeable, and genuine, making interning here a pleasurable learning experience. Without hesitation, I can genuinely say that I have enjoyed coming to work every day.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your internship and school?
Outside of U SPORTS, I enjoy spending my time with family and friends, cherishing every moment I can to spend it with those that matter to me most. On the side, I also enjoy participating in sports (ultimate and volleyball) and committing some of my time to an off-season training regimen that will help prepare me for the upcoming ultimate season with Brock.
10. What is your most memorable sports moment?
My most memorable sports moment would be the final two minutes of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. One of the most spectacular and dramatic finishes in NCAA basketball finals history, in my opinion, the winning buzzer beater three-point shot by the Villanova Wildcats truly signify perseverance, dedication, execution, and hard work. Having the tables turn in a matter of seconds and the chills I get from watching as a fan is just such an indescribable feeling.