My Career Story: Bill Cooper, Chief Operating Partner, Twentyten Group

My CV –¬†Original Article

Current role: Chief Operating Partner, Twentyten Group

Previous role(s):
Commercial Rights Director, 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Head of Sports Sponsorship, Bell Canada
Director of Client Services, ESPN STAR Sports

Bachelor of Journalism, Honours
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Date of Birth: August 2, 1970

GlobalSportsJobs: When was your big break in your career?

Bill Cooper: “I was hired by ESPN STAR Sports in Hong Kong to play an operational role with their event management team. We were staging a wide variety of events in a wide variety of Asian markets for broadcast on our network. I worked on everything from ATP tennis and mass-participation marathons through to tenpin bowling and nine-ball pool.”

GlobalSportsJobs: What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?

BC: “The best piece of advice I have received is: ‘Never run.’ Don’t let the client, staff, volunteers, athletes, officials or any of your event stakeholders see you run. Stay calm, stick to the plan and a reasonable solution will present itself.”

GlobalSportsJobs: What was the biggest challenge or your most difficult decision of your career so far?

BC: “Leaving the scale of the sport and events industry in Asia to return home to Canada where the size of the market is such that the margin for error is much slimmer.”

GlobalSportsJobs: What is Twenty Ten Group, and what is the latest news in terms of your recruitment and expansion plans?

BC: “The Twentyten Group is a strategic marketing and sponsorship firm that harnesses the successful sponsorship and partnership legacy of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which set a new standard for domestic investment levels and client servicing standard. Our team is made up of a significant number of 2010 Games alumni as well as professionals from a wide variety of other areas of the industry.”

GlobalSportsJobs: You have worked extensively in the field of sports marketing, most notably with regard to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. What would be your key piece of advice for someone looking to make their mark in sports marketing?

BC: “Success in this industry is significantly tied to practical experience so I would strongly recommend internships and entry level positions. The other benefit to this approach is that they typically also allow you to make connections in the industry and I would hazard a guess that a significant majority of hiring in this industry is based on favourable referrals from within the industry proper. Finally, I would also add that a significant priority for me when I hire is an inherent understanding of the multiple stakeholder interests at stake in successfully staging an event. This knowledge an understanding is best arrived at through first-hand experience.”

GlobalSportsJobs: You have worked in Asia as well as North America during your career. In your opinion, how do recruitment practices differ in both continents? Are they getting more alike?

BC: “In my experience the recruitment differences are not significant. The significant difference comes in the job requirements and the need to be aware of cultural preferences and tendencies in order to be successful in each respective market.”

GlobalSportsJobs: Do you think it’s more important for someone trying to break into your line of work to have qualifications or on-the-job experience?

BC: “On-the-job experience, but writing and communications skills, which are often honed through the earning of qualifications, are also critically important. The qualifications themselves however, while valuable in differentiating applicants, are not in my experience essential on the job.”

GlobalSportsJobs: What would be your key piece of advice for someone starting out in the sports industry?

BC: “Have patience, don’t lose sight of why you fell in love with the industry in the first place and be sure that there is a values fit with who you are as a person before you dive in as you will need this ‘fit’ to weather the lean times and challenges ahead.”