Olympic Professional Shares Lessons in Business Development

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With more than 15 years in the sport marketing field, including strategy, negotiations, event marketing, hospitality, and operations, Felicity Shankar has much to share.

An Olympic Games professional and chief executive of Javelin Europe Marketing Consultants, Shankar worked on 11 Olympic Games helping corporations with sponsorship plans, activation strategies and tourism opportunities. Shankar worked with Olympic sponsors for the Sydney 2000 Summer Games and managed Samsung's Torino 2006 Winter Olympic on-site program.

She highlighted ways business can leverage opportunities from the Games during a visit to BC in February 2007 as part of the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series. She spoke in Coquitlam, Richmond, Whistler and Vancouver.

Shankar said companies are looking for ways to bring their sponsorship to life via local businesses to create local legacies, adding: "There are more than 80 Olympic teams, they'll be looking for places to train, places to buy things. Aside from the tourists, there are also 52,000 Olympic guests, including media. There's a huge variety of services they'll need to use."

For businesses wanting to capitalize on the games, Shankar stressed the time to connect with government as well as sponsoring agencies is now.

Shankar pointed to potential business legacies, and added the Olympics are an opportunity to discover an international business network. The Games encourage businesses to examine their overall operations, prompting the question: What can I offer that's sustainable once the Games are over? When it comes to social legacies, the Games can create a catalyst for change with communities. Added Shankar: "The 2010 Games may be your deadline, but your vision is really 2020 – when you'll still be feeling the benefit."

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at 2010LegaciesNow.com. The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.