Laurier Athletics alumna lands dream job
Wilfrid Laurier University and Laurier athletics alumna, Sophie Kotsopoulos, is living her dream working on Bay Street as the director of integrated marketing for the National Hockey League.
Kotsopoulos graduated from Laurier in 2002 and during that time, she was an adventurous and ambitious student.
Kotsopoulos began her journey to the NHL in high school, as an OFSAA gold medalist; however, it wasn’t until she experienced Laurier that she found her true passion for marketing.
Kotsopoulos attended Laurier for a double-degree in communications and sociology, while also completing the management option of her degree.
However, this was just the beginning of her involvement and experience at Laurier. Kotsopoulos was a BACCHUS coordinator (now known as Healthy Lifestyles) and a volunteer for Foot Patrol, Fashion in Motion and first-year council. Most notably, she was on the women’s varsity lacrosse team for four seasons, as well as the vice-president of Student Services.
It was the experiences Kotsopoulos had outside the classroom that she most fondly remembered about Laurier.
A major stepping stone to realize what Kotsopoulos wanted to do for a career was her experience in the co-op program at Laurier. She obtained two marketing co-op placements at RIM and BMW, where she was later hired by BMW where she worked three and half years before “trading in luxury cars for hockey sticks” as she describes it.
This is what made her decide to follow her passion in marketing and business, instead of following her original interest in law. This did mean, however, that Kotsopoulos had to decline her acceptance to study law at McGill university.
Some of the major projects and prestigious accounts that Kotsopoulos has worked on include Rogers, Scotiabank, Tim Hortons, Samsung, Kraft, Kraft Hockeyville and Honda.
When asked what advice she would give Laurier students, her response was pretty simple.
“Work and work hard,” she said. “You have to be persistent and prepared for a life-long journey of learning and become a student of business.”
“Your learning doesn’t stop outside the classroom or after you graduate, it only begins,” she stressed.
Working with the NHL does come with its perks. Kotsopoulos has attended many NHL games and events that have only further driven her passion for hockey.
One of her favourite and most memorable experiences while working at the NHL, was the opportunity to take the Stanley Cup to rural communities in the Canadian Arctic.
“It’s amazing to give them an opportunity and experience that they would likely never have,” Kotsopoulos said.
Alongside her team and some retired NHL players, Kotsopoulos travelled to seven rural towns while donating equipment to these communities in partnership with True North.
“It’s important to remember that there are not that many positions available in sports marketing and even in the workforce, so you have to set yourself apart by committing to always being better, growing and developing,” she said.
One last piece of advice that Kotsopoulos had for current students was to live in the moment.
She said it is important to enjoy the process, live in the moment and enjoy the journey: ups and downs, included.
“It is important not to be afraid to fail,” she said. “Test yourself and test your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunities and the support system that Laurier provides, it really is special.”