On Friday, Transworld Business and GrindTV hosted their inaugural “How to Break Into the Industry” event, meant to provide college students and recent graduates with the tools and advice from industry veterans to help break into the action sports industry.
The day was made up of four panels, each with a different emphasis: Marketing, Events, Journalism, and a candid keynote discussion to close out the day.
Participants included Tim Morse, founder of Richer Poorer, Adam Cozens, director of Dew Tour, Graham Nash, TEN director of video, Todd Prodanovich, SURFER Magazine editor, Gabi Aoun, GrindTV content director, Mike Matey, Reef VP of marketing, and Garret Turk, lifestyle category director at Stance.
The day focused not only on the personal journeys of each of the panelists, but also on takeaways and lessons that each felt were the most valuable to impart on students and young professionals in attendance. The audience leveraged many opportunities throughout the day to ask a host of well-thought-out questions to each speaker.
Below is a quick recap - there was so much knowledge dropped on Friday, we could only include a portion of it. If you’re looking for more insight, join us for our next event!
Marketing with Mike Matey, Reef and Garrett Turk, Stance
Focusing on what it takes to make it in marketing in the action sports industry, Mike Matey of Reef and Garrett Turk of Stance honed in on what sets millennials apart, and what to keep in mind when searching for a career kick-off.
Turk said of the current landscape, “The way retail and consumers are evolving, it’s more important than ever to hone a diverse skill set, and be that chameleon.” Focusing in on the millennial generation, Matey observed, “Your marketing bullshit detectors are really high - you come from an age and culture where you don’t want to be marketed to. That instinct is something that brands are looking forward to bringing on their team. Brands want people with an opinion - as long as you can back that opinion up. You have to be able to support your argument. I would encourage you to err on the side of going for it.”
A standout point from the first panel was that even if your dream brand doesn’t have a job opening that perfectly matches your skill set, that’s okay. “Don’t lose hope--sometimes what’s listed for the job isn’t always the end-all-be-all. If you can get your foot in the door and prove yourself, then there’s always a chance,” Matey advised the students.
Events and Branding with Adam Cozens
For his discussion on running premier action sports events as GM of Dew Tour, Adam Cozens gave some perspective to attendants: “When you get the opportunity, don’t take it for granted. Be humble, and hustle your ass off.” After working for 20 years in the industry, Cozens explained that he worked his way up from the bottom, and that no job was too small.
When a student asked how he deals with mistakes from his staff, Cozens explained, “I don’t get upset about mistakes. I make mistakes everyday. What’s important is to take accountability. I strive to help people on my staff find solutions… I want people on my team to feel empowered to make decisions.”
Journalism with Chris Coté, Graham Nash, Gabi Aoun, and Todd Prodanovich
The Journalism panel featured Chris Coté as moderator, and some of the brightest minds from the industry explaining their personal journeys to success. Always the personality of the group, Coté channeled the great philosopher, DMX, telling students, “Keep your shit the hardest.”
Gabi Aoun detailed her journey of breaking into the action sports industry, explaining that she never foresaw herself joining the industry, saying “I let life pull me towards what it wanted to pull me towards.” Stressing the importance of an education outside of the classroom, Aoun advised taking advantage of unforeseen resources: “The professors I had in school were more of a resource for their personal stories and experiences they shared. It’s really important to find mentors and role models that can offer their advice.”
Graham Nash has worked in the video and content production sector of the industry since the beginning of his career, and advised attendees to develop good habits early on. “The habits you develop now will carry over to the future and shape what you do next. Passions may change, but the habits you create now will be with you for the long haul.” Nash also stressed the ability of work ethic to help stand out from the crowd.”If you’re willing to give 10% more effort into what you are doing, you are going to go a long way. Work ethic is the most important thing - there will always be someone better than you, but if you put extra effort in, you will always continue to grow.”
SURFER Magazine’s Todd Prodanovich relayed the story of how he broke into the industry: a college newsletter. Prodanovich was writing for his school’s newspaper, and the editor of SURFER, who happened to be an alumnus of his school, read one of his pieces, and afterwards, offered him a job. “Give it your best. You never know who’s reading.,” Prodanovich advised.
Keynote: Brand and Personal Journey of Tim Morse
Rounding out the day was an inspiring keynote discussion between GrindTV General Manager Aaron Carrera and Richer Poorer Co-founder Tim Morse. Morse spent 12 years working in the tech industry before deciding to follow his dream of starting his own brand. Morse explained the importance of following your passion, surrounding yourself with a tribe you can always trust, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“Understand what you are good at, and ask for help with the things that you’re not-- asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable--there’s no guarantee that any of this is going to work. Put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and find people who are in the industry you want to pursue, is the best way to go about it.”
When asked about his company’s culture, and how he helps to lead the brand he helped found, Morse had this to say: “The fish rots from the head, so we really do need to hire people from the top who will inspire and set an example.”
Morse also gave credit to those that helped pave the way for his success in the industry, “Stance did such an amazing job of building the category. And I’m okay with being the Pepsi to their Coke, because Pepsi still sells a ton of soda.”
Check out more from the “How to Break Into the Industry” event here: