Brock teams up with Toronto Blue Jays to develop future sport leaders

For Evan Gwartz, working for the Toronto Blue Jays means being a part of a learning culture that encourages professional and leadership development.

“Our motto is, ‘Get better every day,’” says Gwartz (BSM ’15, MA ’17). “Our leaders always encourage us to contribute and share ideas.”

Gwartz, who is the Co-ordinator, Client Services — Executive Suites for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, is returning to campus Thursday, Feb. 6 for the eighth annual Department of Sport Management (SPMA) Alumni Day.

“It is very empowering to work in such a respectful environment and I look forward to being able to share and connect with Brock Sport Management students,” he says.

Representing the Toronto Blue Jays Leadership Development Program (LDP) in collaboration with the department’s Student Council, Gwartz will provide students with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work on a Blue Jays project through the second annual SPMA student case competition that is a part of the Alumni Day agenda.

It’s an opportunity for SPMA students to pitch proposed solutions to a real-world problem, showcasing what they’ve learned in the classroom and tips they’ve picked up while working in the field.

This year’s competition gives students three days to develop a solution to a scenario presented by the Toronto Blue Jays LDP, a 12-month opportunity for top talent to develop their professional skill set, including leadership skills, while contributing to shaping the Blue Jays culture.

“The intent of this case competition scenario is to create an environment where students experience working on a project that participants of the Blue Jays LDP would be a part of,” Gwartz says. “Everyone who works at Rogers Centre contributes to solving problems and achieving our business goals, and for an afternoon these competitors will too.”

The top teams will be selected for a 10- to 15-minute presentation about their case analysis to a panel of judges comprised of Blue Jays staff and Sport Management faculty and alumni.

“I value our organization’s learning culture,” says Gwartz. “Our leaders share with us and encourage us to contribute. Even if something doesn’t click, they still want to hear from us. This competition connects with our program and is really about the process, learning and thinking critically about organizational issues.”

While a master’s student at Brock, Gwartz focused his research on organizational leadership and management of purpose and core values in a professional sport organization.

“I have studied how leaders can create a special type of culture,” he says. “After I completed my master’s at Brock University, I was accepted into the Toronto Blue Jays LDP. As soon as I interviewed for the program, I recognized the Jays had the culture I was looking for.”

Gwartz, who grew up St. Catharines, says he’s excited about returning to campus.

“I am most looking forward to connecting with the students who remind me of my own creative ambitions and energy,” says Gwartz. “They have a fresh perspective and I work in a department where if a great idea comes up, we will take it and develop it if it will help our business. I feel very grateful to be fulfilling my aspiration of working in professional sports and am excited to promote these opportunities with students who may have similar dreams.”

The winning team will receive a prize package which includes a unique Blue Jays experience, including tickets to a Blue Jays game, a personal tour of the Rogers Centre led by Gwartz and the chance to be on the field during pre-game batting practice.

More information on SPMA Alumni Day and a full schedule of panelists is available on the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences website.

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