One of the biggest challenges that will come up throughout your life is distraction. It’s incredibly easy to postpone your work and get involved with the wrong types of people, so you can’t lose sight of your end goal.
As South Asian community grows in Canada, it hides within itself very talented gems. These gems are its second generation. Passionate about their choices, these young men and women are integrated into the Canadian fabric and making a mark in the Canadian landscape through their hard work and perseverance.
One such example is Avish Sood. Avish has a unique career choice, but a choice he is absolutely dedicated to. With Bachelor of Commerce from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, a postgraduate degree in Sport and Event Marketing from George Brown College and education from Darden School of Business from University of Virginia in Foundations of Business Strategy, Avish has worked in sports marketing for the last few years.
Avish is sponsorship sales coordinator for Toronto Pan American Games. He was corporate partnerships and business development intern for Toronto Blue Jays, sponsorship director for Canada Cup Floorball Championships, account manager at Alkaso International and junior accountant at Rogers Sportsnet.
He was also President and Co-Founder and Board of Directors of University of Toronto Sports and Business.
Here is Generation Next’s interview with this very talented young man:
Tell us a little about your family background.
I’ve grown up in a pretty traditional family with two older sisters helping pave the way for my growth. My parents, originally from India, are two of the most hard-working people I will ever meet and they have set the standard in terms of how each of us strive to be. Our family continues to remain close and no matter how busy we are, we will always find some time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
Are you more passionate about marketing or sports?
I’ve grown up always wanting to play in the NBA but when I realized that wasn’t an option, I knew I needed another way to be involved with the sport that I love. My passion for marketing is foremost, but being in such an exciting industry certainly plays a role into how I approach work each day. As my career continues to grow, my love for both marketing and sports will play a key role in my success.
With digital media continuously changing, sales in today’s world is a tough field to be in. Do you agree or has its nature changed?
Social media has taken the world by storm, and as such there are countless opportunities for business development and relationship building. With information available at your fingertips, it’s much easier to find the decision-makers of an organization and reach out. Although technology has created a more competitive landscape, each sales person has an incredible platform to allow them to learn about their best prospects and build foundational relationships with them. Despite all of these recent changes, sales continues to be based on providing value and being genuine. If you do those two things, you will be successful.
Do you believe the South Asian community will be passionate about events like the Pan Am games especially given the fact that new immigrants are shaping much of the GTA now?
Multi-sport games always attract a wide-ranging and diverse audience. With such a cultural host city in Toronto, the Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games have an incredible opportunity to bring people together of all different backgrounds as unified Canadians, including South Asians. I am very excited to play a role in the event, as 2015 will truly be a remarkable year for the province of Ontario.
Is the attitude toward sports different in your generation from say your parents’ generation?
Older generations didn’t have as much free time and they truly had a different set of priorities compared to us. With so many different ways to be involved through fantasy, broadcast and social media, our generation has really built a closer relationship with sports that can’t be compared to others.
How popular do you think are sports like ice hockey in your generation in the South Asian community?
Despite being integral to the Canadian culture, hockey is a very expensive sport to be involved in. I’ve seen many South Asian kids get involved in basketball and soccer because they didn’t have the financial resources to purchase all the associated equipment for hockey. Despite this, players like Nazem Kadri and Manny Malhotra have been great ambassadors for hockey’s multi-culturalism and have helped spark a new generation of hockey players. You can count on more South Asian youth getting involved in the sport in the near future!
Tell us about the University of Toronto Sports Industry Conference.
The conference was created by Natan Levi, Adrian Kania and myself three years ago. Our goal at the time was to provide opportunities for students interested in a career in sports business. Despite being one of the most prestigious schools in the world, the University of Toronto didn’t have any opportunities for students passionate about following this career path. Fast forward a few years later, and the event has become Canada’s largest student-run sports conference. The event attracts students from all over North America, and has hosted some of the most esteemed professionals in the business. This year’s conference president Malcolm Mo has been doing an incredible job leading the event, while bringing on some incredible speakers for the event in March. Our goal was to really “Turn Dreams into Careers”, and I think that we are all living proof that if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it.
Who do you consider your mentor, a key influence on your personal and professional life?
As entrepreneurs, my parents are my biggest influence as I have seen their hard-work and persistence first-hand each day that they lived in this country. After I told my mom I wanted to quit my stable accounting job and pursue a sports marketing career, she fully believed in my vision with no questions asked. Not many Indian parents would have done that, but mine truly believed that I was capable of anything as long as I was passionate. The traditional roots my parents have set for me that revolve around being humble, dedicated and loyal will always be instilled in both my personal and professional life.
What are some of the challenges that South Asian youth such as yourself face, and how can they overcome them?
You will face challenges each day of your life, but the key is to not let this prevent you from moving forward with your career and personal development. There are so many resources that can help you establish yourself professionally but it’s up to you to take advantage of them. One of the biggest challenges that will come up throughout your life is distraction. It’s incredibly easy to postpone your work and get involved with the wrong types of people, so you can’t lose sight of your end goal. As lame as it sounds, write down your goals, place them somewhere visible and make sure you take active steps to achieve them. To quote Ashton Kutcher, “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work” – don’t let any job be beneath you since it might just be a stepping stone to help you land that coveted dream job. Make sure you are taking active steps to following your dream, even if it doesn’t always seem like the path will lead anywhere. The worst thing you can do for your career is standing still, so make sure you are taking steps in the direction that you want to be.