Feb 06, 2014

Gold Medal Olympic Business and PR Lessons

I recently spoke to an MBA class at Brigham Young University about my experiences working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC). As I prepared for the speech, I realized there are a lot valuable lessons I learned from being a part of the Games and the talented people I had the privilege of working with.

I worked for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC) for a year as a consultant with Coltrin & Associates and then three years as a full time employee through May 2002 after the Paralympics ended.  I came on board shortly after Mitt Romney joined the team as CEO.

Caroline Shaw, the Chief Communications Officer at SLOC, hired me.  As I mentioned, originally I was a consultant with SLOC’s PR firm, Coltrin & Associates.  I worked as a consultant for about a year when one of the PR staffers decided to accept a job as the Associate Athletic Director at Northern Arizona University.  When the position opened I was interested.  It was a tough situation because of my position with Coltrin & Associates.  However, Carline Shaw took me to lunch one day and asked if I was interested.  I told her I was and she said, “Well, in life and business it’s all who you know.  You know me.  I like you and the work you do.  The jobs yours if you want it.”

I told her I wanted the job and she said she would talk to my boss and Coltrin & Associates and make it all work.  She did and I immediately became a full time employee at SLOC.

SLOC had 41 functions/departments within the organization and we divided those up amongst our team.  I was responsible for the Budget and Finance, Olympic Village, Weather Forecasting and Transportation functions.  That meant I went to meetings with these departments and made sure I knew what was going on within each function and then put together a PR strategy for each and executed on that strategy.

With the Sochi Olympics fast approaching, I thought I’d share what I think are the most important business and public relations (PR) lessons I learned while working for the Olympics.

Top 10 list of the things I learned from working on the Olympics:

We used to joke that the experience we gained and earned from being employed with SLOC was a lot like aging in dog years.  Things happened so quick and things got busier with each passing day that it required incredible adaptability and flexibility.

The Olympics were an amazing career opportunity for me.  Mitt Romney talked about assembling the brightest and best talent as part of our team and, in my opinion, he accomplished that goal.  Working with people like Mitt Romney and Fraser Bullock gave me great experience and also provided me with a solid foundation on which to build my career.  The things I learned working on the Olympics have shaped my approach to business and PR, and influence the decisions I make on a daily basis.

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About the author

Jeremy Kartchner
Jeremy Kartchner

Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR.  In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.

Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+


  1. I love the honey badger reference. Great post Jeremy!

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