For Paula Gorman (Sales and Promotions Manager for Pronghorn Athletics), her job isn’t about selling a sponsorship or an advertisement on a wall (although she does both of those things proficiently). Rather, her job is building meaningful connections with sponsors and facilitating connections between athletes and the community. For those who have the privilege of knowing Paula, it’s not hard to guess why she’s this week’s Inspiring Light.
“In my early career, I was headed for policing, but when I came up against a hiring freeze I took a sales position in Lethbridge instead. I was caught off guard by how much I love sales. So many people don’t understand it. They think it involves pressure and tactics, but I just see it as connecting with people. I was with a local company for 27 years and thought I would retire there. Then this position opened with Pronghorn Athletics, I took the leap and haven’t looked back. I love the change, the transition and I love the energy here!
“We have many wonderful sporting facilities here and I try to fill their spaces with advertising sponsorships. I also try to get companies involved in supporting our games with in-game promotion prizes. It’s very diverse work but Pronghorn Athletics is a lot of fun to promote. I’m selling athletics, something I’m very passionate about (I played post-secondary myself so it’s very close to my heart).
“My average day involves connecting with community businesses that are both potential and existing sponsors. There are so many different ways for the community to support Pronghorn Athletics. Right now I’m working on securing party bookings and food sponsorships for Operation Red Nose. We will be launching our 3rd Horns Holiday Raffle campaign shortly. The proceeds of this raffle go towards funding our Academic All Canadian Scholarship Fund. Last year we had a record number 74 Academic All Canadian Athletes! That’s amazing and it speaks volumes about the type of athletes we have attending our University. These athletes truly are the leaders of tomorrow and many of them stay in our community after graduation.
“I have my favourite quote from Maya Angelou on my whiteboard because I think it’s true. ‘People will never forget the way you make them feel.’ I try to be mindful of that every day. To me, it’s all about connecting with people where they’re at.
“If you ever met the late rugby coach Sluggo (Ric Suggitt), you’d know he was an early morning guy, and every single morning we’d connect (I’m going to get emotional now, I miss him so much). We never talked about our work, but we always talked about how we can do to make a difference for the people around us, for his players. When he passed, it was really tough. It was another reminder that it’s not about how long we are here, it’s about what we do and about connecting with others while we are here. Sluggo certainly taught me that.
“I think that’s the lesson right? That’s what I try to do, it comes with me into my job and whatever I’m doing. I think building connections is the key to success.”