Wednesday, December 29, 2010

$8 Beers: The Stadium Food Service Business

If you are like me and you enjoy going to many different sporting events, you pay attention to many of the team’s revenue drivers: ticket sales, corporate sponsors, suits, naming rights, merchandise sales, and more. Concessions always seem to slip my mind. Maybe it’s because I used to view them as an overpriced and unappealing service. However, a recent talk with a former Aramark VP of Marketing is beginning to reshape my perception of the business.

Aramark is a leader in the stadium and arena food service industry. They also specialize in facilities management, premium event catering, and more. They can make money three different ways. In a “P+L” deal, the concessions collect money from the fans and pay the team 40% – 50% of the earnings. In a “Fee” deal, the client (the sports team) pays a flat management fee for Aramark’s services. In a “Split” deal, a combination of the two occurs. Does 40%-50% seem like a big chunk of money to pay the team? You bet! The fast food business operates on an average 30% markup. When you have to pay 40%-50% to the team and still make a profit, you find yourself charging $8 for a beer. For Aramark, Beer is great. It’s where they make their biggest margin. Here are some of their other initiatives:

Shift to being more fan friendly

Due to their big presence in baseball stadiums, Aramark studied fan characteristics and developed two consumer profiles. The “baseball purist” is the stereotypical fan who follows the sport, is dedicated to his/her team, and is relatively easy to please. An equally important segment is the “Social fan”, the person who enjoys the game for the entertainment it offers, or the great family value that is derived from it. As if New York teams weren’t competitive enough, the simultaneous rise of Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium (not served by Aramark) presented new challenges. While New Yankee stadium offered restaurants like the delicious, yet fairly common Hard Rock CafĂ©, Aramark decided to take a different approach with Citi Field. It included restaurants and stands filled with unique NY foods, from small local pizza shops to fancy long island seafood choices. In Coors Field, Aramark included a gluten free stand – a move that earned them national praise and higher sales.

Shift to being more tech savvy

Huge opportunities lie in the concept of “Loaded Tickets”. Those are ballpark admissions with loaded credit which can be used for food, drinks, and merchandise. Families seem to be heavy users of the concept, as the parents prefer sending the children to the concessions with a ticket rather than cash. Business people also showed favoritism towards them as the loaded options make the tickets a more lucrative gift. In general, people tend to spend more when they have credit left on the tickets. The teams get to enjoy the unused credit at the end of the night. The Philadelphia Phillies became the first MLB team to use loaded tickets with Aramark’s help. According to the Sports Business Journal, The Arizona Diamondbacks and Levy Restaurants have invested $700,000 for the new technology.

Aramark is a good example of how the concessions service industry is re-thinking fan expectations, thus creating higher revenues for themselves as well as the sports teams they serve. Now I know how my $8 beer is being used.


Image by Kevin H.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Attention Grabbing Condom Ads

You see them everywhere! you hate many, remember few, connect with a handful of them. Advertising agencies spend millions of dollars trying to get your attention. Lets just say, some products allow for funnier, more creative, more memorable ads.


This campaign attempted to gain the trust of consumers, promising that the brand is good at its job, and never fails.

This clever Guerrilla Marketing campaign used a transit system's turnstiles to get the message across.

Durex understands the need for XL condoms, and has a very clever way of showing it in this campaign.

Kids are expansive. Durex is not. Simple, yet effective campaign

"Love is blind" campaign. Attempting to gain trust and loyalty from its consumers.


This very creative print ad promised a longgggg lasting condom.


Very creative Guerrilla Marketing campaigns using condom shaped umbrellas and a bathroom sticker reads: "You never know when it'll be necessary."

Message Ads

Monday, August 23, 2010

SuperStar of David

Make your way into my off - campus Marquette apartment, and you will be amazed at what you see. Many college students have a collection of some sort - stamps, beer cans, magnets, and I am no different. When my friend once described the apartment as "Sports Heaven", he was partly referring to my large collection of sports Bobbleheads. So it shouldn't surprise you that I published a post on a bobblehead forum asking for Jewish themed Bobbles. What may surprise you are the responses I received. Within a day, I was offered a Sandy Koufax, Al Rosen, Ryan Braun, Shawn Green, Amar'e Stoudemire.... What?

Ever since Stoudemire informed his Twitter followers of his spiritual trip to Israel which happened earlier this month, the 6 foot 10 Power Forward is being included in "Stars of David" conversation.... the list of the best Jewish athletes of all time. Stoudemire admitted in multiple interviews that he is a spiritual person, and believes has Hebrew Roots on his mother's side. He said his trip to Israel was to learn more about his history, the language, and the Jewish people. One must wonder, why now? In a time when antisemitism is increasing in many parts of the world, and Israel is condemned on a nightly basis on biased media channels, celebrities are still looking for their Jewish roots.

Remember when Madonna suddenly began following Kabbalah, going to synagogue, and wearing Jewish jewelery? Remember when Britney Spears was interested in Kabbalah, wore a star of david necklace, got a Hebrew tattoo on her neck, and was rumored to be considering a conversion to Judaism? Remember when Lindsay Lohan visited a synagogue right before admitting that she was considering a conversion to Judaism to show her devotion to girlfriend Samantha? You should remember all of these! They all happened somewhat recently. What's their motive? And when is it "in" to want to be a Jew?

Some skeptics out there believe that the New York Knicks somehow convinced Amar'e that he is Jewish. Since they didn't get LeBron, they might as well get a superstar who is not only excellent on the court, but who may also connect with the large Jewish audience in NY. Yeah right... as if there aren't enough Jewish New Yorkers who want to go to sports games. But then again, it is possible that the Mets reached in and said: "Hey, ever since we got Ike Davis at first base, Citi Field is exploding with Jews. We are thinking of adding a Home Run Honey to complement the Home Run Apple." It is possible that the Knicks wanted to make sure that their five year, $100 Million investment in Stoudemire was being used to the fullest (Because as every New Yorker knows, a good investment involves a Jew)

In reality, we welcome Amar'e with open arms and will teach him everything he needs to know about being a good Jew (We forgot to tell him that tattoos are forbidden before he got the Star of David on his hand). Think his NBA friends will follow suit? Recently, LeBron James has been spotted holding hands with a Rabbi on a private yacht. As reported, James was meeting with retail executives and payed Rabbi Pinto six figures for "Spiritual guidance". King David, King Solomon, King James??? If Stoudemire's desires to be a Jew were strengthened in NYC, we can expect the South Florida Jews to work their magic on James.

When I was young, I was once asked: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "I don't know", I answered "But my mom wants me to be a doctor." Mom, don't be surprised if in the future you ask my son the same question and he replies with " I don't know, but dad wants me to be a Power Forward."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lead America - 2010 Media & Journalism, Fordham University

Why LeadAmerica?

In December 2010, I will be graduating from Marquette University with degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and entering the business world. How should I spend my last summer of "freedom"? I knew right away I wanted to spend it with Lead America. Lead America is the nation's premier youth leadership organization. I decided to be a Team Leader for the Media and Journalism program. I felt confident about the summer since I am a Lead America alumni myself. I also worked as a Team Leader for the Global Business and Entrepreneurship program in the summer of 2008. However, part of me was nervous. New students, new venue (I have never been to Fordham). Before I knew it, all my worries disappeared.

Fordham University

This beautiful Jesuit University located in a gated area of the Bronx was a great location for a Lead America conference. Similar to Stanford, it had a lot of open areas and space for activities. It was nice to take my team to a big open grassy areas and perform leadership activities outside. We shared the venue with the Theater and Law conferences so there was never a dull moment.

Speakers & Off - Sites

Once again, NYC did not disappoint, providing some of the best speakers and off sites in the country. Our students heard from Jon Wertheim, Senior sports writer for Sports Illustrated, who was glad to come back and speak to our students. He stressed the importance of having good research to make the writing process easier (and I stressed that to my team later on). Another great speaker was Lillian Smith, the CEO of LS Production Works and former Producer, Donahue. The all - star cast continued with Monique Fortune, President of Fortune Associates and Steve Daly from Entertainment Weekly. To top it off, the students heard from Samuel Freedman, a Columbia University professor and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The students enjoyed a day at Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. As a reward, we took groups to the NBA Store and H&M (trust me, they appreciated it).

Media & Journalism related visits included the Paley center, where students watched a documentary about investigative reporting (It was great), Columbia University, and an NBC studio tour (Yes, we saw the SNL studio as well as many other studios and control rooms). For the first time, we were able to tour the NY Times printing facility in Queens. Although my team went on a Saturday and many printing lines were closed, the students got an in depth look at a printing facility of one of the most successful newspapers in the world. However, perhaps the most memorable off site happened on day 5, as we all went on the CBS Early Show. We had to be up at 5 am but what teenagers don't want to be on national television? It was definitely an exciting, and very beneficial off site program.

The Simulation

A major part of the ten day conference is spent on a simulation in which students must create a magazine or newspaper, as well as a broadcast program. At first I was worried that my team will have trouble deciding on a magazine theme but to my surprise, my team was the first to decide. In the beginning, I pushed my team to think outside of the box, and to come up with topics that are unique. In the back of my head I knew that most students are interested in sports, gossip, and entertainment and wanted my team to develop a theme that will separate them from the competition. We had the following suggestions: NYC theme, Green theme, Entertainment theme. Suddenly, a student suggested to combine the three into one magazine. The final product would be "Destination: Manhattan", a monthly magazine highlighting a different city each issue. The August 2010 issue concentrated on the Manhattan borough, and featured articles about NYC's green initiative, an NYC entertainment portion, and featured a review of the new Broadway show "UP", which my team created (my team reviewed the play as if they were actually sitting in the audience, and also wrote a song that a team member performed during the broadcast). Realizing that quality research will make the reporting much easier, the field reporters conducted interviews, took photos, and did extensive research in order to get the best stories. The hard work payed off as Team C won the Pulitzer Prize (Top 3 teams received medals with the top team winning the prize). I was extremely proud of their hard work, dedication, and at the end they celebrated the results.

My Team

This team was very different from all the other teams I had at Lead America. While I was used to Business students being outgoing and very high energy, my team C was the complete opposite during the first day. They were quiet, they seemed indifferent, but they were extremely well behaved. On day two I had a conversation with a fellow TL and I told her: "These kids will start talking as time goes by. At least they are VERY well behaved." I was correct. As the days went by, the team became very close. We taped a very nice "Green Initiative" commercial for our simulation on day 3 which my team directed and executed. A few people described it as "something you would see on the Disney Channel." Because everyone contributed to the commercial, and it had a good natured theme, I believe it really brought the team closer. We also had a lot of off sites which required time on the buses which gave students time to bond. Once again, I told my team I expect them to be the best behaved, have the best product, and form the closest bonds. Check, check, check! Even though close friendships were formed between members of different teams, I could always spot most of the team sitting together or socializing during off-sites. One of the most memorable pictures of the conference came on the last day. As the first bus was leaving to the airport, 5 of my students stood patiently, tears in their eyes. Then, they took off... after the bus! they ran, smiling and waving to their friends one last time. The loved one another, and refused to leave even a second early.

Teams A, B, C, D, E

Since this was a Media & Journalism conference, there were many more girls than guys. In fact, out of 80 total students, 60 were girls! Perhaps that is the reason they were so well behaved. Mr. Williams, the Program Director, makes it very clear in the beginning of each conference that he wants to treat the students as adults, and will reward them when they prove that they deserve it. The rewards came very early this conference, as we let the students have bigger boundaries during off sites, took them to Pinkberry and had nightly rap sessions. Every conference has its own story, its own personality. For some reason, the students during this conference had a passion for rhyming. One student on my team, Dayne, is a very talented rapper and his talent for rhymes spread across the conference. Being a fan of rhyming myself, we held nightly rap sessions where students could freestyle or perform the raps they wrote that day. Needless to say, students loved it! These were very smart, talented students and I have no doubt in my mind that each and every one of them will be successful in the future. Today, the students still keep in close touch and are planning reunions all over the country. I really enjoyed myself this session, and felt like the summer ended on an extremely high and positive note.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lead America - 2010 Global Business & Entrepreneurship, Columbia University

Why LeadAmerica?

In December 2010, I will be graduating from Marquette University with degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and entering the business world. How should I spend my last summer of "freedom"? I knew right away I wanted to spend it with Lead America. Lead America is the nation's premier youth leadership organization. I decided to be a Team Leader for the Global Business and Entrepreneurship program. I felt confident about the summer since I am a Lead America alumni myself. I also worked as a Team Leader for the same program in the summer of 2008. However, part of me was nervous. New students, new venue (I have never been to Columbia). Before I knew it, all my worries disappeared.

Columbia University

One of the most prestigious universities in the country, this Ivy League school was a very attractive location for a Global Business & Entrepreneurship conference. We stayed at McBain Hall (Primarily a Sophomore dorm ) on 113th & Broadway. The upper Manhattan location was great as we could leave campus and walk around Riverside Park or have a milkshake at Tom's Restaurant (The Seinfeld Restaurant).

Speakers & Off - Sites

New York City always attracts students who want to enroll in a Lead America conference, especially for Business. During the 10 day session, our students heard from professors at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, who spoke to them about Entrepreneurship, International Business, Marketing, Finance, and more. Also, they had the privilege to hear from Senior Sports Illustrated Writer Jon Wertheim, who spoke about careers in Sports Marketing. "The number one rule of public speaking is knowing your audience", he told our students in the beginning of his speech. He was prepared for his lecture, realizing that he was speaking to a group of High School students who may not understand the complex sports marketing industry as well as they think. He mentioned that in High School, almost every student interested in the profession wants to be a sports agent of a sports owner. He explained that both are glorious jobs but extremely hard to obtain. He also encouraged the students to look past Sports Marketing as a major, and obtain a well rounded business education that will make them more marketable for sports teams. Having a sports background myself, I found his speech to be extremely beneficial for the sake of the students.

During the off sites, the students enjoyed Ellis Island and South Street Seaport, both wonderful New York attractions. We also visited Rockefeller Center, which gave the students chance to explore the heart of the city with their friends with a little distance from the Team Leaders (as long as they stayed in groups of 4).

Business related visits included the NY Federal Reserve Bank, the largest of the 12 Reserve Banks in the country. It featured a very interesting self guided money exhibit as well as a guided trip to the vault, located on the bedrock of Manhattan and home to over $240 billion worth of Gold (most of which belongs to foreign countries who needed a safe place to store their national treasure). I found it interesting that for a transaction to occur, workers physically removed blocks of gold from a country's cell and transferred it to another's. Those workers required to wear protective add - ons to their shoes in order to protect their toes from the heavy blocks of gold. (The add - ons were unattractive looking and cost over $500). We also visited Fox Business where the students explored control rooms as well as studios, sat in anchor chairs, and learned about the unique Fox culture that made this young station such a success. The final off site was to the United Nations, where students learned about the policies, procedures, and meetings that take place inside those very important walls.

The Business Plan

A major part of the ten day conference is spent on a business plan simulation. The students are required to invent a new, socially responsible idea and produce a 9-10 page business plan and present that plan to a panel of venture capitalists. This session, Team A (lead by Team Leader Jesse) created a product called "T - Fast" which is a touch free toilet paper dispenser marketed to Hospitals and other health care organizations. Team C (lead by Team Leader Brianna) created "Enviro - Wash" which is an eco- friendly car wash. Team D (lead by Team Leader Janki) created "Make My Muffin" which was a healthy, interactive muffin restaurant. Team E (lead by Team Leader Meghan) created "Sani Band" which were wrist bands with hand sanitizer in them. Team B (lead by me) created a product called "Hac Jac" which is a heating and cooling jacket for the military as well as "Hac Apparel" which is a heating and cooling jacket targeted towards the elite. It is so amazing to see High School students from all over the country produce such smart, organized, and detailed plans in less than 10 days. Facilitating the simulation and reading their plans make me feel confident in their abilities to be ethical business leaders in the future.

My Team

From the very first day, I saw a lot of potential in my Team B. One of the first activities we do as a team is a game called Warp Speed. The students stand in a circle and toss a tennis ball to one another. The rules are that Person A must say the name of Person B and toss the ball to him or her. Person B responds by thanking Person A and throwing the ball to Person C. This game is designed to get students to remember each others names and is highly effective because it connects a name with a face. To make it more challenging, I often times introduce 3 balls to make it more difficult. Needless to say, High School students (as well as any other group of individuals) struggles with this game. Even though my team struggled in the beginning, they were able to accomplish the task in a surprisingly quick manner, and had each other's names memorized by the end of the game. That simple game showed me that this team is willing to work together and make an effort to be successful. Like my previous team, we had 3 good ideas for a product but couldn't decide on a winner. It was taking us a long time to make up our mind and I was trying to push the team to make a decision and move on. The most difficult part for my team occurred when a few members felt like they were being attacked by another member who they felt was being "too bossy". A confrontation occurred and team morale was down. I also noticed that cliques were forming on my team. To solve the first issue, I pulled my president and 4 VPs aside (the two members who had the confrontation were both VPs) and we talked about respect and ways to make this team stronger. After a healthy, positive conversation, they assured me they were ready to move on. I also addressed my team as a whole about the cliques. I told them that in the past, my teams were always the most cohesive and well bonded and that I will not accept cliques on my team. As the days progressed and the students continued to work on the business plan, all 17 members formed a close bond as if applied with magical glue. Members would come up to me and say "I think we have the best team. We are the closest team in the conference." I couldn't help but smile. I also pride myself on having a well behaved and respectful team, and despite a number of behavioral issues throughout the conference, I am happy to say that my team was not involved in any of them. Furthermore, many students on the team had very outgoing, vibrant personalities that made every event seem more exciting. I will forever remember their smiling faces and the way they transformed the team to become the closest and best team in the conference.

Teams A, B, C, D, E

This was a bigger conference, with 90 students attending. I was used to the large number since in years past, the conferences would consist of over 100 students. I enjoy the large numbers as it creates opportunities for friendships, excitement, and more resources they can use during their simulation. The conference started slow due to a number of logistical issues we had. It was the first time that Lead America did not use buses for off site visits. Instead, we took our students on the NYC subway. At first, accountability was my biggest concern but we were able to create a good system which proved successful and we have not lost any students. However, the extreme heat (100 + degrees) made the trips miserable. Furthermore, the rides were very long and caused us to be late to many of our tours. As a result, our students didn't get much time to eat and site see. Another logistical issue were Columbia's facilities. I expected a lot more from such a prestigious university. The heat in the bathrooms and dining hall made it unbearable to stay there for periods of time. I joked that when we would eat, we would gain 5 pounds and lose them at the same time to the sweat, so at the end we would break even. However, the logistical issues did not take away from the success of the conference itself. As the time went by, the students formed close friendships and had a lot of fun. They especially enjoyed the fact that we allowed them to watch the World Cup Final and rewarded them with trips to ice cream stores at the end of the conference. Overall, I got to know most people in the conference and felt very proud when students from other teams thanked me for teaching them new things and being approachable with advice.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lead America - 2010 Global Business & Entrepreneurship, Stanford University

Why LeadAmerica?

In December 2010, I will be graduating from Marquette University with degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and entering the business world. How should I spend my last summer of "freedom"? I knew right away I wanted to spend it with Lead America. Lead America is the nation's premier youth leadership organization. I decided to be a Team Leader for the Global Business and Entrepreneurship program. I felt confident about the summer since I am a Lead America alumni myself. I also worked as a Team Leader for the same program in the summer of 2008. However, part of me was nervous. New students, new venue (I have never been to Stanford or California for that matter). Before I knew it, all my worries disappeared.


Founded in 1891, Stanford is one of America's most desirable schools and a perfect venue for a Lead America conference. Since Lead America attracts High School students that are the best in the nation, many of them are very capable of being accepted into such a remarkable university. The beautiful campus is located in Stanford, California, just outside of Palo Alto and offers 8,180 acres of some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen on a college campus. From the main Quad, to Hoover Tower, Stanford's campus was a magnet for our students who didn't seem to mind the 15 minute walk from their residence at Roble Hall to our breakout rooms at Lane History Corner and continuously asked for free time to explore the campus further with their friends. I found it interesting that most students did not like the Cafeteria food even though it offered a daily salad bar, fruit bar which included unlimited Watermalon, Melon, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Build your own burger bar, and much more. Out of all Lead America venues I have visited, only Georgetown's had better food in my mind.

Speakers & Off - Sites

During the ten day conference, our students were lucky to hear from San Francisco State University professors in the subjects of Business Ethics, Marketing, Brand Management and more. Many of the topics taught by the professors were ones I recently learned about in college so as a Team Leader, it was important to prepare them for each speaker in order for them to get the most value out of their lectures. They also heard from a number of entrepreneurs, including Co - Founder and CFO of, Dylan Smith. Dylan told them his exciting story of starting his own company while a student at Duke University and then moving to Silicon Valley and further cultivating his company with the help of Mark Cuban's angel investment. He provided our students with tips about investors and taught them the importance of treating employees well and seeking mentors throughout your career. He was later rated as the students' favorite speaker.

The students' first off-site visit was to San Francisco where they enjoyed Crissy field (beach area where the movie "Pursuit of Happyness" was taped), Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge, and Pier 39. For many of our students and staff (including me), it was the first time visiting San Francisco. Our perception of sunny, warm California was misleading as the Bay area was in the low 60's with winds that threatened to lift up our smallest students (not really, but they were pretty strong).

Another off site was to the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank where students received a guided tour and were able to see the process of receiving, counting, and handling millions of dollars as well as the security behind such a task. They also saw the most complete exhibit of American paper money in the U.S. Interesting bills included a $1,000 bill called the big watermelon which is worth over $2,000,000 today as well as a bill featuring a Native American which sparked a 15 year battle between two tribes. While my group was hanging out at the Embarcadero after the bank, a few boys on my team bought me a bracelet that says: "Reuven." It meant a lot to me and I wear it every day. Museums included the Disney Museum which was an interesting tribute to the success of Walt, who created the Disney empire and the Intel Museum which included many interactive activities to celebrate the company's success over the years.

These all sounds like great off sites (and they were) but the students overwhelmingly chose Facebook as their favorite. We received a guided tour through their second largest building in Palo Alto which was home to their engineering team as well as CEO Mark Zuckerberg's conference room. Most of all, our students fall in love with the company's fun and relaxed culture. At Facebook, every idea is valued and considered and employees may write any new ideas or suggestions on a special board. Furthermore, they have special "Hack nights" where an entire team gets together, orders a lot of food, and works on anything they want (new features, etc.) If I am not mistaken, Facebook chat was the product of one of those nights. When asked about all the RipSticks (funny looking skateboards) that are laying around, it was explained to our students that workers may ride those through the office. Facebook also has an outdoor area which includes a Basketball court, Volleyball area, Horseshoes and more. The workers may relieve some stress by going outside and playing one of the sports. They also compete in a league against other Silicon Valley companies under the team name "Facekickers." A number of kitchen areas around the building include free bottled drinks and food and our students were able to choose their favorite drinks before hearing from Facebook's top engineers talk more about the company (One of the speakers left Microsoft to join Facebook at it's beginning and invented the News Feed). When asked about Facebook's constant layout changes, the engineer explained that they are placing more emphasis not on the HS and College students but on the 80 year old Grandma that is joining the site for the first time. If there are 10 features, they find a design that best fits those features. 3 more features are added and all of a sudden the design/layout is not so functional. At the end of the day, a student was asked to imagine the coolest feature he could ever imagine being on Facebook one day and then was asked to make a decision: using Facebook with this awesome feature, or having his or her best friend on Facebook. Despite all the current features, it is the friend community that makes Facebook so great and that is why the emphasis is placed on making the site functional for everyone rather than constant feature updates. Needless to say, all of our students want to work for Facebook now.

The Business Plan

A major part of the ten day conference is spent on a business plan simulation. The students are required to invent a new, socially responsible idea and produce a 9-10 page business plan and present that plan to a panel of venture capitalists. This summer, Team A (lead by Team Leader Jesse) created a product called the "Eco-Card" which looks and acts like a credit card but is used to electronically place receipts on it during purchases in order to save paper which is used to print receipts which end up in the trash anyways. Team C (lead by Team Leader Janki) created "EnviroGym" which is a fitness gym powered by the energy which is created when humans use the machines. Team B (lead by me) created a product called "Stryke SuperSpykes) which is a retractable cleat for kids. It is so amazing to see High School students from all over the country produce such smart, organized, and detailed plans in less than 10 days. Facilitating the simulation and reading their plans make me feel confident in their abilities to be ethical business leaders in the future.

My Team

The off sites, the speakers, the campus, and the business plan are all great, but the most rewarding part of the conference comes to me from my team. This conference, I had 17 amazing students from all around the country. On day one, I told them they will work hard, they will have fun, and they will be the best they can be. They all looked confused, nervous, yet excited. Through a number of different leadership activities they came together as team, realizing that its better to work together, use one another as resources, and the results will be much better. My students will tell you that the hardest part was in the beginning; having to juggle a new schedule and learning how to agree on a business idea (there were many good ideas and it was hard for them to choose one that everybody was comfortable with). Nine days later, I was looking at 17 friends, leaders, and business minded people. No longer were they nervous or confused. They were proud of their accomplishments, and I was so proud of them. The way they worked on their plan, the way they cheered on one another and held one another accountable made me confident I made a great decision to come back to Lead America this summer. The way they supported one another during their simulation time and the sacrifices they were willing to make were unbelievable and were the keys to the success of their plan (The president of the team would spend hours in his room working on our plan at night and when time was running out, the entire team would gather by the person who is working on finishing his or her part and would cheer on that person until he or she finishes.) In the beginning, told my team that tomorrow will always come so they should live every day of the conference to its fullest. I hope they left the conference with no regrets. I know I did.

Teams A, B, C

This was my fifth Lead America Global Business & Entrepreneurship conference. Previous conferences were at Pace University, NYC and Bentley University, Boston. This was not only my first West Coast conference, but it was by far the smallest. While past conferences all included 125+ students and 8 Team Leaders, this conference consisted of 50 students and 3 Team Leaders. While I wasn't used to this situation, I remained positive and quickly enjoyed the benefits of my new experience. I quickly learned that West Coast conference kids are different than East Coast conference kids. They are much more relaxed, perhaps less demanding, and go with the flow easier. The small number of students made it feel like one BIG team. Closer relationships were formed between students of different teams, and less "clicks" were formed. It was awesome to see everyone getting along and feeling like one big family in the process. Luckily for us, there were ZERO student issues throughout the conference. Today, the students keep in touch through phone calls, Facebook, and even multi - person video chats on a nightly basis.I have no doubt in my mind that these students will all be successful in the future, and that our paths will unite again.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams

Friday, June 11, 2010

They said it! 15 Funny Sports Quotes

They are successful, they are admired, they are what every young kid wants to be like, but they are also HUMAN! I have compiled a list of the 15 funniest quotes by our favorite athletes.

Chuck Nevitt - Former NC State Center
"My sister is expecting a baby, and I don't know if i'm going to be an uncle or aunt." (When his coach asked him why he was nervous during practice)

Jason Kidd - Dallas Mavericks Basketball player
"We are going to turn this team around 360 degrees"

Shaquille O'Neal - NBA Center
"I can't really remember the names of all the clubs we went to." (After a reporter asked him if he visited the Parthenon in Greece)

Yogi Berra - Former NY Yankees Catcher
"Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical."

Joe Theissman - Former Washington Redskins QB
"You can't call anybody who plays Football a genius. A genius is someone like Norman Einstein."

Dennis Rodman - Former Chicago Bulls Forward
"Chemistry is a class you take in High School or College where you figure out that 2 plus 2 is 10, or something."

Lee Trevino - Golfer
"Your nerves, your memory, and I can't remember the third thing." (When asked what are three things that go as a golfer ages).

Greg Norman - Golfer
"I owe a lot to my parents. Especially my mother and father."

Doug Collins - Former NBA Coach
"Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win."

Charles Shackleford - Former NCSU Basketball Player
"Left hand, Right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious."

Tito Fuentes - Former MLB Second Baseman
"They shouldn't throw at me. I'm the father of 5 or 6 children" (After getting hit by pitch)

Winston Bennett - Former University of Kentucky Basketball Forward
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body"

Ralph Kiner - NY Mets Announcer
"The Mets just had their first .500 or better April since July of 1992"

Reggie Jackson - Former NY Yankees Right Fielder
"The only reason I don't like playing in the World Series is I can't watch myself play"

Donovan McNabb - Former Philadelphia Eagles QB
"Whatever happened in the past... hopefully it's over"


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