Toni Schutte ’10MBA
Brand and Licensing Manager, National Football League
What did Iona College’s SEM Business program and/or faculty mean to you?
The Iona College SEMB program has been an amazing opportunity for me as it has helped grow my career as well as my professional network. When you first graduate college, the job market and entering the workforce is very intimidating. When I started at Iona SEMB program I was a recent college graduate, my view of marketing jobs was very limited. Through my classes at Iona, I quickly learned that there are numerous opportunities to work in sports and entertainment outside of working at a major music label or sports league through creative agencies and other tactical businesses. Iona was able to open up my eyes to all these other opportunities, allowing me to focus on what I really wanted out of my education and career. The course curriculum, paired with real world professionals, helped provide a unique perspective on the industry and special projects. Hearing the real-life experiences from the faculty regarding what we were reading in our textbooks truly help paint a picture about future situations that we would be having. This insight was an invaluable experience on how to handle these situations. Overall the Iona College SEMB program made learning fun and engaging by giving an inside look at the world of sports and entertainment. What I learned here I was able to translate into my career and still today use these learnings to keep improving my work.
What was the most beneficial aspect of the program that potential students should know about?
I always felt that the most beneficial part of the program is when the teachers would share their real-world experience. No matter what level you are at in your career things happen on projects and to be able to hear how someone more senior then you was able to handle a similar situation is invaluable. The faculty was also very helpful in giving career advice and helping navigate through the process especially when you wanted to focus in a new area.
How did the program help your career?
With small class sizes, you are able to get to know your fellow students and faculty well. With the faculty, I was able to use some members as references. These faculty members were extremely helpful while I was trying to advance my career. They provided invaluable advice on things to do and pathways I should explore given the field I wanted to specialize in. I have also been able to keep connected with my fellow students. Being so close to the city, it seems that most places you go you run into someone who has a connection to Iona. The industry is small so it’s great to have an active network around you. I have a few co-workers currently that had gone to Iona and this is what we bond over. I stay connected with my classmates currently – it may be passing on an opportunity or helping with a résumé, it’s always great to grow your professional circle.
What was the most memorable experience in being part of the program?
I participated in a panel for young alumni working in sports and entertainment, and it was scary as this was my first panel ever! It was a great experience as it was interesting to hear how the panel all had different experiences but still all was involved in the industry. It was also a rewarding experience as we got to speak to the students who were in the same position as we were a few years earlier and help provide advice.
What are you doing now?
I am a brand & licensing manager for the NFL, which means I oversee the NFL Premium Business which is any item that is given away by an NFL team, sponsor or the league. I work with the teams on items that can be handed out, approve the artwork making sure the NFL trademarks are correct, and make sure that the royalties for these items are accounted for and paid to the NFL. Outside of the premium business, I manage a group of licensees that create novelty items that are sold at retail – anything from notebooks to stuffed animals. I work with these licensees to create product that fill the needs of our fans. Lastly, I have played an integral role in the marketing for the NFL women’s apparel campaign. I create a marketing mix around this campaign enlisting celebrities to be our brand ambassadors to help spread the message that it is available. I also organize experiential events at retailers and at stadiums for women to touch and feel the product to build awareness around what the NFL has available for women.