Athletes have high praise for TTOC Workshop’

An invaluable and inspiring experience!

That’s how many of the athletes described the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Athlete Branding and Sponsorship Workshop held on Friday, March 9th at the BPTT Box at Queen’s Park Oval.

The workshop included key sessions on Brand Building, Sponsorship and Athlete Interaction by international sponsorship consultant Vickie Saunders; Financial Management for Athletes by Katherine Ramatali, a Director of Goldfinch Business Solutions Limited; Identity Development in Human Performance by Sports Psychologist Dr Vernice Richards; and Sport Etiquette by TTOC Executive Member and former Miss World Giselle Laronde-West.

The participants from across various sporting disciplines say they are now eager to put many of the lessons learnt into practice:

Dominic Wilkes (Karate)

“Today was excellent. We really got a lot of information about how to put together our whole package for seeking sponsorship. I think a lot of us have the mentality of looking for donations; and really the message that all of them were giving us is that, you are a product yourself and you are actually selling yourself short by just asking for a donation because you have a lot more to give to the people you are going to. So it’s all about making yourself the best version of you that you can be.”

Karin Singh (Weightlifting)

“It’s been absolutely fantastic, extraordinarily informative, and just fun. I was there [TTOC Sport Industry TT Conference] yesterday as well, so speaking about building your brand was what really carried forward for me as the biggest focus I had. But Dr. V’s [Dr Vernice Richards] session was a definite wakeup call about how I even view myself as an athlete and how that goes into building my brand.”

“I plan to definitely apply the brand building to how I manage my social media. I’ve always dragged my feet on building a YouTube channel and I think this has been the big kick in the butt for me to just do it and utilise these tools that I’ve always had.”

Reyare Thomas (Athletics)

“I found it was very informative. This is the first time we actually had a workshop where athletes could know about branding, and know that they have a brand that they could put out there, and probably get sponsorship that they didn’t even think about.” 

“I really came to listen Vickie [Saunders] speak; so I plan to take what I learnt today and implement it towards my life, and towards seeing how I could probably get sponsorship if I want to continue in track and field.”

Charles Williams (Basketball)

“It was actually a surprise because I didn’t come to learn all of this today. I mean, just being able to be around all of these athletes and being able to express different situations and learning how to cope with them, it was actually astonishing. We learnt a lot in regards to being able to get sponsorship, and also finance – being able to manage and maintain your financial life as athletes.”

“As a basketball player, it is not really a well-known sport in Trinidad and Tobago so it might be really hard to get sponsors out here; but just being able to hear from someone who could actually inspire you to try to get your own sponsor, personally or as a team, and be given steps on how to do it, it was actually inspiring.”

Cherelle Thompson (Swimming)

“I am really excited. I feel empowered. Ms Saunders said she was planting seeds; I feel like seeds were sewn today. I came expecting to have a change of perspective and to have some tools that I could work with to actually apply to being able to navigate the process of sponsorship and I was not disappointed. I took a lot of notes. I listened intently and I have homework to do, so I really am thankful to the TTOC and all of the persons on the board who put together this session today. I had to actually asked to be excused from work today, so I lost a day’s pay today but I am glad. It was worth it!”

The Workshop just the latest in a series of initiatives by the TTOC geared towards providing development programmes for athletes as part of its guiding pillar of being athlete-centred.

The athlete sponsorship and brand building workshop was one of the events that formed the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) week celebration.