When Erin Mathany (BSM ’05) was a student in Brock University’s Sport Management program, the sport industry was dominated by men.
Two decades later, she is being recognized as one of this year’s ‘5 to Watch’ in sport business amongst the first-ever all-women cohort of award recipients.
Presented by George Brown College in partnership with The Globe and Mail, the 5 to Watch — Canada’s Sports Business Awards celebrate sport business professionals who have achieved significant success and impact during the early and middle stages of their careers before the age of 40.
Since graduating from Brock, Mathany has ascended the sport business ladder — from managing partnerships and commercial rights with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and directing commercial affairs and business development with the Canadian Olympic Committee, to overseeing marketing, communications and partnerships with the Canada Games Council. Now, as Senior Vice-President of Marketing for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, Mathany oversees brand, marketing and digital content as a member of the senior executive team.
“I’ve always been curious and eager to learn and try new areas of the business — I’ve taken some leaps to get to where I am in my career,” she said of pivoting from sponsorship and business development to senior marketing roles. “I wanted to try out the marketing side of the business, and that led me to the Canada Games Council, where my team and I renovated the brand with a new logo, look, feel and tone of voice. From there, I was able to shift to pro sport with the Whitecaps in a marketing role that I’m really excited about.”
Mathany is honoured to be recognized for her efforts and is thrilled to be part of a group of all-women award recipients.
“This first class of all women speaks to the powerful connections right now among us and the momentum for supporting women and girls working and competing in sport,” she said. “It’s a badass group of ladies that fill me with inspiration and awe. I’m lucky to be among them.”
Mathany is part of the recent surge of women in a formerly male-dominated domain. There are more women working in sport now than there have ever been in the past, both on the business and team sides, and competition on the field of play.
“The growth of women’s sport is undeniable and is becoming more commercially viable,” she said. “The Canadian Women in Sport Group is working hard to push professional women sport agendas, because we want to give girls the same opportunities that boys get in Canada to compete professionally. I’m excited and optimistic about the path ahead and looking to contribute to keeping the momentum going.”
Mathany is grateful for her experience with Brock’s Sport Management program, crediting its practical approach to gaining real-world experience through internships and the mentorship received from professors.
“They get to know students on a deeper level and follow their careers after they graduate,” she said. “The relationships I’ve developed over the years with former classmates and professors — and having those people advocate for me — have been an important part of my career advancement.”
In addition to staying in touch with past professors and classmates, Mathany has maintained her connection with Brock by chairing the Sport Management Alumni Board, engaging with students by participating on alumni panels, leading the Brock University Alumni Association as its President, and most recently, volunteering as a member of the Brock University Board of Trustees.
Her ongoing advocacy and support of Brock and the Sport Management program was recognized in 2015, when she was honoured with the Brock University Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award and in 2017, when she received a Sport Management Service Award.
Peter Tiidus, Professor and Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Applied Sciences, praises Mathany for her accomplishments and continued community engagement.
“Ms. Mathany’s recent recognition in Canada’s sport business industry is well deserved,” he said. “We are thankful for her continued engagement with the Sport Management program and are very proud to have her as one of the Faculty’s many highly successful graduates.”