Talking business with Jeremy Bloom

Olympian and Super Bowl winner gives keynote address at 47th annual Commerce Business Banquet

Photo by Mike Latschislaw

Last Thursday marked the beginning of a busy few days for the University of Manitoba’s Asper school of business.

That evening, students and guests from the Winnipeg commerce community attended the school’s 47th annual banquet event. During the afternoon, keynote speaker Jeremy Bloom held a Q&A session in the Drake Centre Fishbowl.

Bloom, a two-time Olympian (skiing), Super Bowl winner, and co-founder of marketing software firm Integrate, spoke to students about his own career and transition from athletics to business. He also provided advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

“So many people come into an interview process and they are a little scared [ . . . ] It is incredible when someone comes in and just blows you away and they can’t wait to start,” said Bloom, addressing a student’s question about the relative importance of interviewing well and resume padding.

“If you can get an interview, blow them away with your excitement. Pretend that you’re a founder of that company, and you can’t wait. That is way more important than a resume.”

At the evening banquet, Bloom spoke on the theme of managing personal failures. He also discussed his efforts as founder of Wish of a Lifetime, a non-profit organization aimed at granting wishes to the elderly. Bloom announced that Wish of a Lifetime would soon be expanding its operations into Canada.

Towards the end of his talk, he offered students advice on how to build successful enterprises.

“Hire people that are smarter than you and treat them well. That is the reason Integrate has grown and been successful,” said Bloom. “My number one responsibility [at Integrate] is to identify talent, steal that talent, and keep that talent happy. I can’t stress that enough.”

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, Asper dean Michael Benarroch, and TransX owner and founder Louie Tolaini also spoke at the banquet.

Riley George, president of the U of M Commerce Students’ Association told the Manitoban that while the evening banquet is a celebratory event for Asper students, it is also an educational opportunity.

“Every student is sitting at a corporate rep’s table. Aside from hearing Jeremy speak and having a cool night, all the students here are meeting people in Winnipeg’s business community,” said George.

“I know several jobs do get lined up through this night, and companies do use it as a recruiting tool.”

According to George, out-of-classroom events like the commerce banquet play an increasingly significant role in a complete undergraduate business education.

“I think it doesn’t mean the same thing to have an undergraduate degree than it might have meant 20 or 30 years ago [ . . . ] That is why events like business banquets are important, because it is hard to just get a job without doing anything outside of the classroom,” he said.

The banquet served as the opening event of the National Business School Conference (NBSC) at the U of M. The conference ran through the weekend, and featured a keynote speech by Glen Daman, president of the Dilawri Automotive Group.