McGill Management Insights: Building a Career in Professional Sports with Jerome Burke (BCom’08)

Jerome BurkeAs the Florida Panthers set their sights on the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a whole team of staff works behind the scenes making the magic you see on the ice game after game possible. Among these talented professionals, you’ll find one of our very own.

In this episode of McGill Management Insights, Jerome Burke (BCom’08) joins undergraduate student Isaure Lafeytaud to share his journey, from his early days as an intern with the Montreal Junior Hockey Team to his current role as Director, Hockey Administration with the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers.

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Determined to grow in the field, he pursued an MBA in Sports Management after graduating from McGill, which led to an internship with the Florida Panthers. Over 12 years, he has become a well-rounded expert in the business, contributing to both the operational and strategic facets of the organization.

He explains that success in the sports industry is multifaceted. On the business side, it’s quantifiable through sales, sponsorships, and community engagement. For the team, it’s about culture, consistent winning, and building a legacy that transcends individual players.

In the case of the Florida Panthers, an organization which has historically not had the best on-ice performance in its 30 years in the league, what’s most critical for the organization’s strength and success has been building a strong foundation and being a leader in the community.

Compared to some of the other teams across the league, it’s been more of an uphill battle to build a brand that’s stronger than the team’s on-ice performance, he says. That being said, it’s something they’ve managed to do not only by building connections to the community, but also by building a strong and positive culture within the organization.

“We represent our community as a brand,” he explains. “We bring people together. The winning helps, but you have to build a strong foundation and ties within your community, but also with your staff and your culture.”

“The players, they come in and out. In a perfect world, we’d all be together but that’s just not the nature of our business. So, we have to build something that’s much stronger and a foundation that whoever comes into this organization knows what our culture and expectations are.”

Stream the full podcast episode now and get an insider’s look at the dynamic world of sports management, including how sports organizations can have a positive impact on their communities and how analytics and AI are shaping the future of professional sports. Whether you’re a budding professional or a seasoned veteran, there’s a wealth of insights and inspiration waiting for you. Tune in!

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This episode was hosted by

Isaure Lafeytaud
Isaure Lafeytaud

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