His latest challenge is just another step in a great career.
Nestled at the southernmost point of Seneca Lake in upstate New York sits a town by the name of Watkins Glen.
Eleven months and three weeks out of the year, Watkins Glen is home to just over 1,000 residents, but come the first week of August and the town is inundated with close to 40,000 visitors holding on to hopes of their favorite driver crossing the finish line first.
The reason? The annual NASCAR race hosted at Watkins Glen International.
While popular with racing fans across the world, the world-renowned track also happens to be where Ryan Mosher, Executive Director of Sponsorship Solutions at GumGum Sports got his start in the sports industry.
Growing up in Watkins Glen, Mosher wasn’t shy about his enjoyment for motorsports, and as a high schooler and college student spent much of his summers working security for the track.
Fifteen years later, he credits those summers for opening his eyes to the intricacies of the sports industry.
“Just by doing that, I was able to get a better understanding of what was actually going on and how things actually worked. It was fascinating and exciting all at the same time.”
Not only did Mosher enjoy sports as a kid, he also happened to be pretty good at them and was able to go on to play golf at Shenandoah University before transferring and finishing out his career at Saint Bonaventure University.
It was during this time on the course that he was able to refine his relationship building, a skill that has proved valuable.
“Playing golf is obviously more unique I think because of the fact that you are out on your own and playing with 2–3 other players that you have never met. You are forced into conversation unless you don’t want to talk for four-five hours,” said Mosher. “Business in general and specifically in the sports industry is relationship driven and that was one of the key components I took away from participating in intercollegiate athletics.”
Upon graduation, and while looking for jobs, Mosher went to work for his uncle at a golf course that he owned.
Whether it is fate, luck, or a little bit of both, Mosher was able to land a role in marketing his hometown track of Watkins Glen.
From the young high school student working security, to the full-time employee, things had come full circle for Mosher.
“I would have never expected to start my career in my hometown at Watkins Glen, but it just so happened that they had an opening available the summer that I graduated and I was able to get my foot in the door as a marketing coordinator on the ground level supporting communications and consumer marketing, that I had no experience or background in at all,” said Mosher. “I was forced to learn on the fly, luckily I had great leaders to help me along the way.”
In search of a new opportunity and possibly warmer weather, Mosher relocated to Daytona Beach after almost four years at Watkins Glen to work at ISC’s headquarters helping oversee sponsorships for the 12 tracks under ISC’s management.
“It was risky, but I knew I had to make that move to continue to stay ahead. I have always been thankful that I took that leap and that risk.”
That leap turned into ten and a half years with ISC before he decided to step out of motorsports and into college athletics.
Coming from a collegiate athletics background, Mosher was excited to see the industry from a different side and knew that the opportunity would further allow him to hone his professional body of work.
“I had always had a passion for collegiate athletics and the opportunity to join an organization like IMG College and go outside of racing for the first time was one I couldn’t pass up. It was another opportunity for me to refine my skills and my understanding of the industry as a whole.”
Over the course of the next few years of his career, Mosher jumped from IMG to Repucom before landing at GumGum Sports in his current role.
To others, three high-level jobs in five years may seem taxing, but for Mosher, the opportunities and the ability to further round his professional portfolio couldn’t be passed up.
Now, 11 months later, he has settled into his role at GumGum Sports and is happy with the progress his team has made in such a short time span.
“Having the opportunity to grow something from the ground floor is what was really attractive to me,” said Mosher about his move from Repucom to GumGum Sports. “It has truly been exciting to see where we were Q1 during this year and where are now as things have started to build.”
If you would have told Mosher that he would be in his current role 15 years ago, he probably wouldn’t have believed you, but if you would have told him that it was because of his ability to plan ahead he probably would have seen it as more than likely.
“Always be looking ahead and plan and plot ahead. If you have a vision, plan and map out what you want to do. Every successful business person ultimately knows where they want to be.”
Although it may come down to your plan and vision for yourself and what you want achieve, Mosher not only credited the people he has been surrounded by for his success, but shed light on who aspiring and current professionals should look for when it comes to the people doing the hiring and being hired themselves.
“If you are a hiring manager, hire people who push others to be better and if you are just starting out, look at your hiring manager and the person above them and ask yourself if those are the kinds of people that you believe will get you to where you need to be. They are leading you. You are going to end up being a byproduct of them.”
Mosher has come a long way since his days guarding the media center at Watkins Glen, but by putting himself in positive positions throughout his career, he has been able to keep that spark that was ignited then burning strong and bright.
This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.
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