As the TEAMS Conference & Expo turns 25 years old, we want to take a look back at some of the people that have made each event go as smoothly as it does — the ambassadors that you see helping direct traffic to events and also working in the exhibit halls and seemingly everywhere you turn. For a number of those who started out attending the TEAMS Conference while still in college, those experiences have given them entry into the industry.
NAME: Ben Greer, an ambassador in 2021.
WHERE IS HE NOW: Greer is the most recent addition to Discover Durham and the Durham Sports Commission, as he has been the sports marketing manager there for six weeks. In this position, Greer is responsible for all efforts to market sports in the Durham area. That includes college events like the NAIA football national championship in December and also the Champion Durham Classic, a high school basketball tournament Discover Durham hosts. Greer works on the website, does the social media planning and graphic work, as well as being the point person for other bids as the organization brings more sports to Durham. Greer finished his master’s degree in sports management at George Washington last December.
WHAT HE REMEMBERS AS AN AMBASSADOR: “I’d say the main thing that sticks out to me is that it was such an amazing introduction into that side of the sports industry. It was during my first semester of getting my master’s and I learned a lot about everything that goes into the business aspect of the sports industry. Getting to be fully immersed in the TEAMS event and just gaining knowledge was one of the biggest takeaways I had. It was impressive seeing how a conference like that operates and seeing how different entities operate within the space. And now I work in that side of the industry, so it opened my eyes to what was possible.”
HOW IT CHANGED HIS CAREER PATH: “I knew I wanted to work in sports, but my problem was that there were so many different things I wanted to do that trying to figure out how to narrow it down was a very difficult thing for me. But going to TEAMS and learning about this side of the industry from different sports commissions and cities and events showed me a different angle that I’d never thought about. It interested me right away and then when I learned more, I saw it was something that combines a lot of what I want to do. And I think it did lead me on my job search and allowed me to focus in on the style of job I wanted. I feel like the TEAMS Conference set a foundation that I was able to build on.”
THE CONNECTIONS HE MADE: “It was really important getting to meet a lot of successful people and gaining contacts, but also gaining a lot of advice going forward. A couple weeks ago, I went to the NCAA bid symposium in Indianapolis and ran into a few people that I had connected with at TEAMS. Being pretty new to the industry and just trying to learn, TEAMS was a great way to form a lot of connections and already know some people in the industry that I now work in. For me, it was about putting myself out there and trying to make those connections, even though it can be daunting in the moment with all of those people in one place. I had a lot of conversations and then connected with a lot of people on LinkedIn afterwards and kept connections that way.”
HIS ADVICE TO NEW AMBASSADORS: “The main thing is don’t be afraid to talk to people and put yourself out there. You might think, ‘oh, this person doesn’t want to talk to an ambassador or they’re too busy,’ but in reality, everybody there was super willing to talk to me anytime I approached them and were always willing to help. Soak it in and gather as much information as possible. In addition to the connections part, just walk around and learn. Learn about the industry, about different cities and different events. Go in with an open mind in terms of wanting to learn as much as possible. There are events, places and organizations you’ve never heard of and you really never know what’s going to speak to you.”