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Hockey Night in Kingston

 

Justin Chenier (Advertising and Public Relations, 1997) has had a varied career since graduation, culminating in his recent post as Executive Director, Business Operations for the Kingston Frontenacs Hockey Club. He helped engineer the recent SLC Night at the Frontenacs on November 15, and plans are underway for a second event on February 21. We caught up with him for a quick Q&A.

 

Q: What’s the best thing about your job with the Frontenacs?

 

Overseeing the business operations of the club. I truly believe our management team is the best in the business, from Doug Gilmour and Darren Keily on the Hockey Operations side of the team to Jared Ginsburg and Joel Rosen on the Business Operations side, and Doug Springer, an owner who is passionate about winning and this city. We’ve made huge strides the past couple of seasons. On the Business Operations side we have no control over wins and losses, we have ultimate control, and the responsibility to our fans, in providing a two-and-a-half hour entertainment package 34 times each season.

 

Q: How did your time at SLC prepare you for this role?

 

My role involves multi-tasking, changing direction on the fly, and going from one issue to the next in a heartbeat. The college program prepares you so well for that, being able to jump in and get to work and improve on what needs improving. My daily schedule really looks like a School of Business class schedule: retailing, marketing, advertising, human resources, operations planning, business planning.

 

Q: What’s the one class you wished you paid more attention to while at SLC?

 

Sales and retailing. I imagined a career in PR and media planning, and after doing that for more than 12 years in the public sector, moving into an industry that depends pretty heavily on sales (sponsorship, ticketing, merchandise), I really wish I would have paid a little more attention in Bill Crowe’s sales classes and wish I would have had the opportunity to take a retailing management class.

 

Q: What’s the one lesson you’ve carried with you in your career?

 

To focus on the solution, not the problem. I tell it to our Business Operations team when we hit hurdles and roadblocks. Focusing on the problem tends to be a negative outlook and a short term fix. With so many home hockey games to promote and organize over such a short period of time, we have to always be looking to improve and evolve.

 

Q: What piece of advice would you give a young grad today about finding their dream job?

 

Be open to opportunity and look outside your comfort zone. Before I graduated I had a job lined up in the GTA because I knew I had to get out of Kingston to find experience. It was tough, my wife and I had to sacrifice, but it lead to opportunity and I was able to come back to Kingston with experience and opportunity.

Excerpted from Voyageur Magazine