Friday, May 17, 2013

Co-Op Confidential: Rene Coleman

Name: Rene Coleman
Year: Junior
Company: Parma Panthers
Location: Parma, Italy
Position: Marketing, Communications, Events

What are your job responsibilities?

Currently I have a few different responsibilities with the team. Daily tasks include checking Facebook for messages and updating both the teams Twitter and Facebook pages.  I also help make sure that all press releases are translated properly in English for our American fans. Besides the social media side of things, we have also just released the first episode of our web series, that we will be doing throughout the remainder of the season. In it we will have interviews with current players, as well as follow both the Italian and American players in their daily lives. The web series can be found on the Parma Panthers YouTube page, and a link can be found on the Panthers Facebook page. Another one of my jobs that is done on a more weekly basis is helping run the teams TD Club (the Panthers booster club). 

Right now there are two main responsibilities with this job. First is making sure members get their monthly team newsletter, as well as the highlights of that week’s game. I also work the TD Club stand at the games to make sure that members are able to sign in and receive admittance to the games. I am also in charge of passing out any team merchandise that they get as being a member of the TD Club. The big project I am working on is for a camp hosted by the team towards the end of the season. Work for this includes finding potential sponsors for the camp as well as finding a venue where we can hold it. With the help of both the American and Italian players, we hope to put on a camp that will teach the Italian youth the fundamentals of whatever position they play.

Do you like your job so far?

So far I really like my job. Both the owner Ivano Tira and head coach Andrew Papoccia are allowing Cullen (the other person I’m on coop with) and I to have the freedom to work on the projects that we feel are most beneficial to the team’s success. They also understand that this is a new venture and that things will be slow at first. Between the jobs flexibility, the owners and coaches understanding and the interactions with the players and the fans, I have to say that I am enjoying every moment of my job.

How do you like being in Italy?

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like being in Italy for so long, but after being here for almost two months, I have really come to enjoy it. Parma allows me to get a feel of real Italy. While there would be more to do in cities like Rome, Florence or Milan, to me it would feel like I just went to Italy’s version of New York or Los Angeles. Most people in Parma speak very little English if any, so it forces you to immerse yourself in the culture in order to get around and do things. Hanging out and getting to know the Italian players is another thing that makes being in Italy nice. Most of the players speak English, so they usually help us learn or translate for us when we have trouble understanding. Besides the job itself, the people I have met and the city that I am in, I enjoy the fact that Parma is not that far away from some of the bigger cities like Venice and Milan. It allows me to travel with the American players either on a bye week or when there isn’t much to do for the day. All of these things make me happy I chose to come work for the Parma Panthers and coop in Italy.


The only real downside of being abroad is that I’m in a non-English speaking country. Life would be a little easier if English was the language of Italy, but it is nothing that gets in the way of getting what you want or need for either work or personal life. It also does not stop me from enjoying myself or having fun while I’m here. The main downside for the job is just the difference in culture. Everything is typically slower than what we are used to in the United States. You really have to be patient when waiting for responses, or while trying to get help with something. As you get used to how different people work, you realize that you just need to get what you can done and put it to the side until you get the answers you need. There is no reason to stress yourself out on things you cannot control. The one good thing about this is that it really teaches you to manage multiple projects at once, which not only keeps you organized but allows you to maximize your time.

How will this help you in your career down the line?

I think this job will be very helpful down the line. First, I am getting experience in several different areas of the organization including ticketing, social media, marketing and event management. By getting to experience a little bit of everything, I not only think it helps me figure what area of the sports industry I want to work in, but also gives me more of a complete understanding of how a sports organization works. Next, I think this job has made me more organized then I was before. We have several projects going on every week and making sure that I am able to complete each one on time is important. Finally, I am not only getting a better understanding of people, but I am also getting to understand the sports industry in a different culture. With many of the major sports leagues looking to expand into foreign markets, I think this asset will become very useful in a future job.

Parma Panthers on Social Media:

Facebook page: ParmaPanthersAFT
Twitter: @ParmaPanthers
Team Website:
YouTube Page:


Matt Puzio


Rene Coleman is a junior sport management major at Drexel University.  Transferring to Drexel from the University of Connecticut, Rene accompanied a group of Drexel sport management students on a ten day study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland before heading to Italy.

No comments:

Post a Comment