Categorized | Breaking News

Small Business Pep Talk with the Jaguars: Event Recap

By: Alison Williams

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ new management team joined ADVANTAGE Business Magazine on Tuesday, September 11th, to host an event for local small business owners. Invitations were extended exclusively to ADVANTAGE subscribers and readers, and the event’s one hundred spots were quickly filled. The gathering, which took place at Everbank Field, included a cocktail hour to give attendees an opportunity to network, a “Chalk Talk” led by the Jaguars’ vice president of sales, Chad Johnson, and a tour of the newly renovated locker room. The guests finished the evening with a walk out on to the football field.

After checking in at the Touchdown Club at Everbank Field, guests were given an opportunity to see “behind the scenes” at the stadium. Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres were served, during which new Jaguars’ owner, Shahid Kahn, made an unexpected appearance.

“I thought that if Mr. Kahn was here, he would just be a guest speaker. It’s great that he is walking around and meeting people,” said Katie Hirschman, marketing coordinator at James Taylor Vinson

Lisa Felts, Shad Khan, Wally Conway

Company. This open, receptive attitude is exactly what Kahn wants to portray as the “new face” of the Jaguars. Kahn, along with the team’s president, Mark Lamping, and vice president of sales, Chad Johnson, understands the value and influence of local small to midsize businesses. After all, Kahn was once a small business owner, himself.

During the “Chalk Talk”, Johnson focused on the importance of an open, approachable business culture for the Jaguars, and how it relates to local small business owners. Johnson recognizes the value of building relationships with clients, and is steering the Jaguars from a transactional business into a relationship business. Forming relationships with small businesses is critical to the success of the Jaguars, as small business owners make up a vast majority of ticket sales. The new management appreciates the benefit of engaging with these clients, and they hope to build a new understanding of how the two can help each other.

Johnson sees the importance of connecting with small business owners year-round, not just at ticket-renewal time. Events such as this, where the Jaguars bring in the owner, president, and vice president, show the involvement and engagement that is critical to building relationships. They want local businesses and the Jaguars to work together to build a better community for Jacksonville.

Towards the close of Johnson’s speech, the winner of a raffle for four free tickets to the season’s home opener against the Houston Texans was announced. Johnson then announced that all one hundred attendees would have the chance to receive four tickets as well, in exchange for their business cards. Johnson wanted to follow up with everyone in attendance to find out how the Jaguars could help the represented businesses grow.

The “Chalk Talk” was followed by a greeting from Jaguars’ head coach, Mike Mularkey, and a tour of the new locker room. The $3.5 million expenditure was paid for entirely by Kahn. The locker room, with a ventilation system in each stall, hot and cold treatment pools, a 41,000-watt sound system, and more improvements in the works, is the best in the NFL—surpassing the famed Dallas Cowboys’ locker room. Kahn wanted to give the players something special, to boost and encourage the Jaguars as they strive for success.

It is clear from interacting with the Jaguars’ new management that they are committed to creating a new era for Jacksonville. By improving the relationships with local businesses, and having an approachable owner and president, the Jaguars are developing a positive culture that demonstrates their care for the future of the Jacksonville community. As guests at the ADVANTAGE sponsored event took photographs with owner, Kahn (with Jaguars’ president, Lamping, acting as photographer), they were able to see firsthand that the Jaguars are intent on becoming involved and engaged in the community.

By the close of the event, guests were exchanging business cards, taking photographs in the plush armchairs in the locker room, and discussing newfound business ventures. Johnson had achieved his goal; these small business owners understood how they could work with the Jaguars to move their businesses forward. One attendee stated, “Chad is different, the organization is different, and [he] is fired up about the Jaguars becoming a first-class organization.”

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