I have always believed that breaking into the sports industry takes more than just talent, but a lot of networking and knowing people within in order to have an easier path into the business. Ash and Hammond cleared up that misconception by emphasizing the point of being ready for any opportunity presented.
Ash started off selling tickets for the Toronto Blue Jays and eventually worked his way up to the general manager role. The Brewers brought him onto their staff in 2001 as a general manager. Ash was the man that drafted Roy Halladay in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft and there he was sharing his expertise to college students.
John Steinmiller also worked his way up with the Brewers and is now one of the men that receives news about a trade or injury and it is his responsibility to put together a press release for the team. Miller shared some of the accounts that he follows on Twitter and underscored the importance of being well rounded in knowledge.
John Hammond was the most comical speaker in the room by cracking jokes about Twitter and telling stories about meeting the President and Bush not knowing who Hammond was until after the Pistons won the 2006 NBA Finals. Hammond may not be on Twitter, but when Joe Dumars was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Hammond was the first to know and could have broken the story. The Bucks general manager may be behind on the social media times, but he still interacts well with the young community growing up in a different era.
Hammond never received a job he applied for and has never passed up on jobs offered to him. He does not appear to be moving from Milwaukee any time soon.
"The passion for sports in (Milwaukee) is tremendous," Hammond said.
I come from New York City, where a season is considered a failure if there is no ticker tape parade down Fifth Avenue after the championship. The passion for sports I have seen in my one year in Wisconsin goes beyond just wins and losses. People rock green and yellow Packers jerseys every Sunday to church and it is socially acceptable. No need to get me started on the fans at Marquette basketball games. The energy felt behind me in press row was electrifying.
I aspire to break into the sports industry as a writer. My hope is to end up back in a big city like New York, but it has come to my realization that by becoming open to new opportunities you find environments with Milwaukee's passion.