SPMA student achieving Olympic dream

Sport Management student Katie Desveaux is completing her fourth-year experiential learning internship with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Katie Desveaux has turned her Olympic dream into reality.

In her first year at Brock University, the Sport Management student set her sights on completing an experiential learning internship with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). Now, three-and-a-half years later, she has achieved that goal with a four-month term as the commercial affairs intern for the COC.

It’s a role that comes with a big responsibility as the Winter Olympics get started this week in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“We monitor the market across different platforms, such as social media, to keep an eye out for ambush marketing,” Desveaux said of the ongoing efforts to ensure outside organizations are not accessing Olympic sites to advertise products that are not official partners of the Games. “We also keep an eye on athlete sponsors to monitor what they’re doing and to protect our partners, because they are paying to use our rights.”

Though she won’t be heading to South Korea, Desveaux is soaking up the Olympic spirit with her co-workers at COC’s head office in Toronto.

“As part of the home team, we are going to do lunches and other activities so we can get a bit of the experience that the team in PyeongChang is having,” she said. “We are also all wearing tons of Canadian Olympic gear.”

For Desveaux, the transition to working for a major sport organization like the COC has come naturally because of her Brock Sport Management background.

“In some of our classes, we got to put our work into the real world,” she said. “I took a human resources class and we ended up working with CanoeKayak Canada to help address and resolve an issue they were facing.”

Emily Allan, Sport Management experiential education co-ordinator, emphasized the critical role experiential activities and internships play in getting the program’s graduates jobs.

“Any experience and connections that students like Katie gain before graduating can only serve to help them secure the jobs they are looking for in this competitive industry,” said Allan. “Sport Management has used experiential internships for nearly two decades and their overwhelming success has seen our grads attain jobs in all areas of sport.”

In addition to her work alongside various athletics organizations, Desveaux also has experience as an elite athlete.

As an OUA gold medal-winning member of the Brock Badgers figure skating team, Desveaux was named the 2016-17 Brock Sports Female Athlete of the Year.

“I was heavily involved as a competitive figure skater for eight years,” she said. “I didn’t make it to the Olympics, but I did get to see things from the athlete side. I also wanted to gain experience from the business side. I wanted to learn how things were run and what was needed to make an event go smoothly. I wanted to make the Olympics my goal professionally.”

With her ambitious target in sight, Desveaux has been able to combine her experience competing in high-level athletics with her new role at the COC.

“I have learned that teams work together and become a well-oiled machine,” she said. “All of us working together will lead to everything going smoothly at the Games.”

Desveaux is thankful for the opportunities and support her Sport Management studies at Brock have provided.

“The Department of Sport Management is very supportive of students,” she said. Without them my dream of interning at the COC and working in sport would not have been possible.”

Desveaux is joined at the COC Toronto office by fellow Brock Sport Management interns Sonya Aristone and Shannon McCarter.

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