JOA improving affiliates’ business capacity through internship programme

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December 9, 2020
The sporting capacity of representative national organisations and individual athletes continues to expand as the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Internship Programme gets rooted in its execution. Recently implemented with focal objectives to increase member services and transform the business acumen of affiliate bodies in line with its Pathway to Success objective, the JOA took on former national representative and much-respected champion boxer, Sakima Mullings, and Gracia Wilson as interns to steer the initiative. Drivers of the plan include university students and/or recent graduates with backgrounds in business and social media management. So far, they have been charting a course of success for both the JOA and associations desirous of the requisite professional support. “As it relates to the growth of the associations I’ve worked with, I’ve assisted with improving their social media presence by developing digital marketing plans, digital flyers and supporting documents that are required to be in compliance with the JOA,” said Wilson, who is undergoing studies at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica. Wilson, who was assigned to work with Jamaica Wrestling Federation to prepare their marketing plan and recruitment drive, was commended for her contribution by the president, Osayimwese Osagboro. “She has done all we asked her to do very sufficiently and with efficiency. We are pleased with her efforts and admire her work ethic,” said Osagboro. Mullings is a skilful athlete who earned numerous accolades in his boxing career, including the 2011 Commonwealth Zonal middleweight title, 2013 World Boxing Council (WBC) Caribbean Boxing Federation welterweight title and the 2014 J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Contender middleweight and 2017 JWN Contender super welterweight championship belts. He also earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration (majoring in finance) from the State University of New York, New Paltz campus. Mullings had openly stated his joy at participating in the first ever JOA Internship Programme and noted success in carrying out his primary responsibilities “… to facilitate some of the member federations with their digital marketing strategies and to also assist some member federations in regards to making sure their business plans were in compliance with JOA standards”. Other top sporting executives underscored the value of the JOA’s efforts through the internship programme. Oery Warren, chairman, Jamaica Handball Federation, said: “They assisted handball with our strategic and marketing plans, as well as our social media plan. They delivered on what we needed. “The social media ideas have been excellent. They have since kept in constant communication, assessing our needs,” he added. Horane Brown, president, Jamaica Lawn Bowling Association, said the assistance has improved their capabilities in a vast number of ways. “The programme was very helpful for the Jamaica Lawn Bowling Association in streamlining our strategic business plan, plus also growing our online platforms. With the growth of our social media platforms, this will help us to promote our online store for increase in sales based on our partnership with Kukri Sports,” said Brown. The JOA’s CEO/secretary general, Ryan Foster, noted their general objectiv e of growing their members through professionalism. “The JOA launched this programme in the summer primarily to expand our services to our members and to ensure that we leverage our current skill sets and competences with the new corporate structure. We have seen how our web development services has helped rugby and netball in the professionalisation of their web page,” said Foster. He added: “The internship programme allows us to get more personal in how we assist our member associations as the interns goes deep into the needs of the associations and how we play our role in helping them achieve their strategic objectives. Both the internship and scholarship programmes have been a success with our members and we have received positive feedback from all on these legacy projects.” Last year, Mullings advanced his academic portfolio with a sports management course at UTech, then taking on the master’s degree programme in sports business management at The University of the West Indies. As he makes these moves that are central to his transition as an athlete, Mullings noted dual opportunities provided through the internship. “As an intern at the Jamaica Olympic Association my experience has been rewarding in that I’ve learned and grown in my understanding of sports administration. My time as an intern has aided in my personal development in that it has allowed me to apply some principles that I’ve learned theoretically in the classroom in real world situations,” he pointed out. “More importantly, the essential skills I will carry with me even after my internship ends are the interpersonal ones that were learnt from having conversations with different members of the staff and affiliate bodies on a multitude of subject matters. I feel that those are the benefits that will pay dividends in both my professional development and personal growth,” said Mullings. Wilson also noted improvements at a personal level. She said: “My experience at the JOA has been exceptional. As a marketing major being able to apply what I’ve learnt is really great because it assisted me with improving my interpersonal skills while adding to my experience and network, plus the opportunity to assist the federations (sport).” Continuing, she said: “The feedback from the associations has been positive. Some associations have started implementing their digital marketing plans while we provide support with the implementation. I believe the associations that we’ve worked with will benefit a great deal with improving their online and professional image.”