Atila Ozkaplan, BHK’01, MSc’04
Atila Ozkaplan, BHK’01, MSc’04 currently lives in Connecticut, USA, and is the Vice President of Production Operations, Olympics for NBC Sports Group. Being involved with multiple Olympic Games, read what skill he learned on his very first job after graduation and how he’s still using it to this day.
Tell us about your role
I oversee the NBC’s operations at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for the Olympic Games and oversee the set/studio builds for all other major sports events, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Super Bowl. I also oversee NBC’s IBC operations at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which will mark my 7th Olympic Games.
What was your first role after graduation?
Program Manager of Athlete & Community Relations with the Canadian Olympic Committee.
What skill did you learn in your very first job after graduation that you are still using to this day?
Active listening. A big part of my role with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) was to track down and re-engage Canadian Olympians that the COC had lost touch with. Being able to actively listen to their stories allowed me to better develop a feeling of empathy and trust, and help to bring them back. While my roles and tasks have changed over the years, the skill of active listening is used all the time.
What techniques did you use to address career ambiguity?
Research and picking the brains of people who I admired and trusted. People kept telling me that networking is the key. I am far from the best person at networking. Realizing this early on in my career, I chose to delve into a few key mentoring relationships, as opposed to many vague acquaintances. These mentors knew me well and I felt that they had my best interests in mind. I would go to them with ideas about career development, and change and they would listen and help me through difficult times.
What advice do you have for the class of 2020?
Don’t be afraid to take chances and take on opportunities and challenges that are presented to you. Others will see qualities in you that you may not see. Taking on those challenges will allow for those qualities to shine.