Marquette welcomed sports executives from Milwaukee last night for a “Career in Professional Sports” seminar held in Cudahy Hall. Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond, Milwaukee Brewers Assistant General Manager Gord Ash, and John H. Steinmiller, manager of media relations for the Milwaukee Brewers, spoke at the event, which was moderated by OnMilwaukee.com co-founder Jeff Sherman and sponsored by alumni networking group Marquette Circles.
Steinmiller, who graduated from Marquette in 2004, started out working for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel his senior year in high school, and worked his way through Marquette student media during college. After graduation, he entered the sports business by getting a job with the Milwaukee Brewers, a process which he talked about during the seminar.
“You have to be ready to (hear) ‘no,’ because there are only so many jobs,” Steinmiller said. “I’ve applied for jobs out of college with numerous NBA teams, numerous football teams, baseball teams, and where do I end up? Right here, five miles away from where I started.”
Ash reiterated what Steinmiller said, also discussing how he worked his way up from ticket salesman for the Toronto Blue Jays to general manager of the team.
“In the sports business, it’s getting your foot in the door, at whatever level that can be,” Ash said. “In most cases, it will probably be below your capability, and you have to accept that that’s your opportunity. Once you’re in, your capabilities can demonstrate you’re capable of doing more.”
Hammond took a different approach to his rise to becoming the general manager of the Bucks, but still has the same central ideas that the other two held.
“With the exception of my very first job that I ever had…I’ve never had a job that I’ve pursued,” Hammond said. “Any job I’ve every applied (for), I haven’t gotten. Every opportunity I’ve had has been presented to me. Sometimes people try too hard, and you have to just let it happen.”
Dan DeWeerdt, senior director of engagement communication and events for Marquette Circles who organized the seminar, said the event was an opportunity through the Marquette Circles’ eMentor program to connect with Marquette alumni and friends who are willing to share their experiences.
The eMentor program is designed to provide students and alumni with advice on careers, industries and organizations pertaining to different fields.
“Marquette alumni are really not only passionate about the university, but they’re passionate about the students,” Deweerdt said.
DeWeerdt said that this event was held so that students maybe not yet affiliated with eMentor could start networking with people already in the sports business.
“It’s important to remember that it’s never to early to network,” DeWeerdt said. “You never know who’s going to be connected to someone.”
DeWeerdt also said that networking can open up unique opportunities for students, and they should not take those for granted.
“One thing for consideration is to never limit yourself,” DeWeerdt said. “Just keep in mind that Marquette alumni truly do want to help students.”
Steinmiller agreed with DeWeerdt and spun it specifically to the realm of sports.
“I think it’s important to find something that you’re good at and see how you can apply that to sports,” Steinmiller said. “Whatever you’re good at, there’s a job in sports for that.”