Laurier Grads Soar is a nine-part series that features former Wilfrid Laurier University varsity athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, a different feature will be released each week over a nine-week span that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.Mike Bartlett - Executive Director, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation
Little did Mike Bartlett know, back when he was a young kid at Falgarwood Public School in Oakville, that “networking” would become one of the most important words in his vocabulary.
As far back as he can remember, Bartlett had this desire to meet people, pick up ideas, learn from others and grow in life skills. One day, everything he was able to comprehend would be put to good use by an erudite Bartlett and assist him in reaching the next step – one of leadership. make a positive difference in the community and building strong genuine relationships.
Bartlett is Executive Director of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation. Toss in responsibilities for sport development, player relations, marketing of events, just to mention a few, and Bartlett is quite a busy guy.
“What I am doing now amounts to an absolute dream – a dream come true,” said Bartlett who, while at Wilfrid Laurier University, was involved in charity work, keenly interested in Student Union, fraternity life, student activities, participating in intramurals and being a fan of the Golden Hawks.
“For me, I was just more enthusiastic about devoting time to network, meet more people and gather experience than devote a huge commitment of time to varsity sports. That was just me. I also knew that there would be a connection between my involvement in student activities and sports. As for a fan, in four years I only missed one or two football games.”
For Bartlett, experience in sponsorship, event planning and management – learned while at Laurier and enhanced in a series of progressively developing career moves after graduation – would pay off. Bartlett also remembers when a colleague tipped him off about a job opportunity with one of the largest sports and entertainment companies in North America.
“I applied and seven interviews later, I got the job. I am very fortunate to be where I am now,” said Bartlett, winner of a MLSE senior leadership award in 2016. “Responsible for charitable events, being involved in sport – with professional hockey, basketball and soccer. The projects we do at MLSE are ones we developed – and I learned a lot, of what I am doing, when I was at Laurier.”
There was no doubt, after high school in Oakville, that Laurier was his next destination.
“The Laurier Business Program attracted me – small school, great environment, superb education,” he said. “To be truthful, I grew up watching Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind) football games, wanted to go there, too, and even took my (Scholastic Aptitude Tests), but realized Laurier was the practical thing for me to do.”
After Laurier, Bartlett worked in management with philanthropic organizations. He was an Associate Director in Development for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Then, it was off to the Oakville Hospital Foundation as a Director of Community Giving, raising money in a capital campaign that would lead to the construction of a new hospital. Three years later, he became Vice President of the Foundation.
A wealth of knowledge, experience and advice would become a launchpad that, he envisioned, had a positive impact on people and changing the lives of many. For Bartlett, his plan was to develop a path that incorporated a well-rounded understanding of business and experience.
An Honors grad in Business at Laurier, intellectual and well educated, Bartlett was always on a mission to do things right. His meticulous approach to projects always resulted in success.
His latest, selling a project to MLSE ownership and funding partners, Bartlett said will be the one that he is most proud of in his career: the new MLSE Launch Pad, a 42,000 square foot building in Toronto that will host a variety of programs, life skill opportunities and more for 26,000 kids living in Community Housing and who don’t have the financial means to register for events.Previous FeaturesWeek 1 - Steve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay LightningWeek 2 - Sophie Kotsopoulos - Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueWeek 3 - Mike McKenna - Former Director, Telecom, Media and Technology Investment BankingWeek 4 - Nicole Lee - Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey League