Senior Manager, Game Entertainment and Producer, Toronto Blue Jays
Interview by Jenn Goldasic
Stefanie Wright is Senior Manager and Game Entertainment and Producer for the Toronto Blue Jays
What have you been up to since graduating from Ryerson’s Journalism program?
I started working for the Blue Jays as an intern a few weeks before I our masthead ended in my last year of school back in 2011; I spent three years working full-time as the Intern of Promotions and Production. They eventually created a full-time position for me as Coordinator of Promotions and Stadium Entertainment which I held for another 3 years. Recently I’ve been promoted to Manager of Game Entertainment.
Did you have a strong interest in sports journalism prior to attending Ryerson or did you discover that interest while in the program?
Sports has been a passion of mine from a very young age. Growing up I wanted to be a sideline reporter covering baseball and hockey. I loved Hazel Mae who at the time was an anchor for the morning news on Sportsnet but discovered very quickly that being on-camera was not the gig for me. I was much better directing and being behind the camera and found that there were so many different jobs in sports that didn’t require being on-air.
While in school I volunteered at Rogers TV where I developed my production skills and also landed a job with the Toronto Marlies on their promotions team; both experiences opened my eyes to all the different possibilities within the field and eventually landed me a production job in sports.
What was it like being a sports reporter for The Eyeopener? What did you take with you from your time working for the publication that you now use in your career?
I didn’t spend much time at the Eyeopener – one of my classmates was the sports editor and wanted me to cover basketball for him. The only thing I really took from the experience is that the line of work was not for me – I am a people pleaser and enjoy focusing on positivity, unfortunately I found that my stories were made to focus on negative aspects of the teams I was covering and I didn’t feel comfortable with that.
What is your most notable memory at Ryerson?
Two notable classes that really shaped me in my professional career –
1- First semester, first class with Don Gibb reporting. He was a great teacher and helped me get over being shy and talking to people. Streeters ended up being my favourite stories to write.
2- Court reporting in 4th year. I wasn’t able to take sports reporting and was forced to take this class. It turned out to be one of the best classes I would take in school and our teacher, Kirk Makin, did such a good job at engaging his students and having great speakers come in weekly to show us different perspectives of court.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you while being the Manager of Game Entertainment for the Toronto Blue Jays?
I’ve only been in this position for about a month so nothing too crazy has happened. I just went down to Dunedin for Spring Training for the first time so overall that was a great experience. It was very rewarding to see my team’s hard work and great ideas be well-received by the players as well as seeing our vision come to life (we come up with all the content on the videoboard before Spring Training and shoot everything down there for the entire season).
I will say that throughout my six years with the club there has never been a dull moment. I’ve had some extremely cool days and some not-so-glamorous ones. I’ve steamed ribbons that are the length of an entire section for a gala at 1:00am and I’ve met Snoop Dogg and Kim Catrell within days of each other, both throwing out the first pitch.
I’d also have to say that meeting so many of my childhood heroes who have played for the Jays has been something very surreal to me. I always think to myself that when I was a kid daydreaming about my future, never would I have thought that I’d be standing in the Blue Jays dugout chatting with Roy Halladay and cueing him to head out onto the field during one of the pregame ceremonies at the ballpark.
Do you have any advice for current journalism students who are hoping to break into the sports media/journalism industry after graduation?
The thing that I think is most important to keep in mind is patience! Good things come to those who work hard and are patient. Put your head down, work your butt off, say yes to everything even if you think you may not like it and eventually it will pay off! I would never be where I am today if I had been stubborn and not taken the random opportunities that came my way. Another thing I’d say is: volunteer! My experience at Rogers TV was incredible and while my friends were partying at the bar on Thursday nights I was getting on the subway and heading uptown to York Mills to produce “Sex at 11” – I won’t say that it was an easy decision or that I had a smile on my face as my streetcar passed the bar, but in the long run it really helped me.