The workshop included key sessions on Brand Building, Sponsorship and Athlete Interaction were conducted by international sponsorship consultant Vickie Saunders. Saunders said the main goal was to set the foundation for participants to start building and activating their personal brands.
“They will now have some processes for extracting the information that is going to be helpful in their communications, in growing their brand, in communicating with the media, engaging sponsors, and actually connecting with their fans and followers in a very meaningful way.”
Throughout the workshop, the participants engaged in discussions and various exercises on goal setting, determining vision and values, and self-identity; all of which assist in crafting an athlete’s personal brand.
Katherine Ramatali, a Director of Goldfinch Business Solutions Limited, guided attendees through a session on Financial Management for Athletes. She said poor financial planning by athletes is a global problem, therefore it is important expose young sportsmen and women to the right practices.
“The earlier they start saving, the better! Their careers can be short, yet athletes tend not to think too far into the future. They live in the present but when it comes to finances you have to think medium and long term, about your financial security down the road.”
Sports Psychologist Dr Vernice Richards followed with her interactive session on Identity Development in Human Performance. She said some athletes might initially reject self-assessment but it is beneficial to them.
“It’s about understanding how to open their minds. We talk a lot about mental strength and mental toughness but I like to try to push the idea of mental flexibility. So you are stronger when you are flexible. You are stronger when you are adaptable. You are stronger when you are able to put yourself in different situations and perform at your best. That is what I try to do with the whole idea of identity.”
TTOC Executive Member and former Miss World Giselle Laronde-West addressed several features – presentation skills, personality, image and grooming, and ethics – which could influence an athlete’s personal brand during her presentation on Sport Etiquette. She believed those areas are often overlooked but they are just as important as preparing athletes for competition.
“Athletes need to be able to fit into any environment that they go into. They need to be elegant and eloquent. There is a norm. They need to start practicing those things before they go out there because they are not just representing themselves, they are representing Trinidad and Tobago; and they are looking at developing a brand that would be recognised and respected.”
During his opening remarks, TTOC President Brian Lewis encouraged athletes who were drawn from a wide range of sporting disciplines to adopt a business-like and entrepreneurial approach which could be crucial to their future.
“The barriers to entry are now lower for all of you. There’s social media. There’s technology. There are different opportunities but it all depends on your brand.”
The Workshop, which was held in the BPTT Box at Queen’s Park Oval, was just the latest in a series of initiatives by the TTOC geared towards providing development programme for athletes.
BPTT is an official partner of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee.