I graduated from the University of Waterloo in June of 2014 and always had the dream of moving to Toronto after earning my degree. After graduating in Honours Sociology with a Business and Technology Specialization, and a Drama Minor, I moved to Toronto in January 2015 with the career aspiration of going into Sports and Events Marketing.
Last summer, I would occasionally travel to Toronto for my summer job and kept driving by a big advertisement stating “Host City - Toronto 2015 Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games.” There were flags surrounding it and I knew that this was something special. Upon my return to Waterloo, I found out that these Games were going to be the largest multi-international sporting event to ever take place in Canada - even bigger than the Vancouver 2010 Olympics! Forty-one countries from North America, South America, and the Caribbean will all be coming to Toronto to compete for Gold this summer. From that point on, all I dreamt about was working for these Games as my first ‘big city’ job.
When I made the move to Toronto in January 2015, I got a call from the Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games about an interview for the Mascot Program. Of course, I was splendidly surprised and knew that my work placement with the University of Waterloo Athletics Department assisted me in landing this interview. Before graduating, I worked for the Mascot Program at the University, and assisted in managing King Warrior’s appearances and his Facebook page. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement as the Events and Promotions Student Program Coordinator and hoped it would help me secure a Sports-related job in the future. Since I was not enrolled in a co-op program, I knew it would be beneficial to search for job positions provided by the University, so I also had the experience and connections I needed upon graduation.
For the Mascot Program of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, they needed someone who could be a public speaker and ambassador for the Mascot “PACHI the Porcupine” at school assemblies and community events. Having graduated with a Drama Minor, public speaking is a strength of mine. Even though theatre and sports are not often intertwined, I used my job experience and degree to highlight my strengths.
Now that I am working with the Mascot Program, I have been so fortunate to be exposed to numerous amazing community events. From attending the Swimming Trials, to filming with PACHI for the Opening ceremonies, to visiting children with impaired vision and watching their faces light up when meeting PACHI, this job has already been extremely rewarding. Through working with the Mascot, I get the privilege of bringing a smile to everyone’s faces and informing them about the exciting Games to come. As part of the Torch Relay, I travelled with PACHI from Sarnia to Niagara in June and visited many excited communities, including my beautiful hometown of Windsor.
These Games are exciting for not only the residents of Toronto, but for all of Canada and the Pan Am countries. Stay tuned to watch the Games on CBC, the official TV broadcaster.