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AMA welcomes back marketer for OKC Thunder

Senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Oklahoma City Thunder returns to the Oklahoma Christian campus to engage American Marketing Association members.

For the past nine years, Brian Byrnes has been speaking to this group of Oklahoma Christian students about his career experiences while offering advice for future success.

Byrnes started working as the senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2005.

“There’s a lot of financial responsibility to generating revenue,” Byrnes said. “Most of our ticket sales, corporate hospitality packages, things that are generally involved around the game experience and the use of the venue all fall under my responsibility.”

Senior Amanda Cooper is the executive vice president of Oklahoma Christian University’s AMA Chapter. Cooper is the one who coordinated this year’s visit from Brynes.

“Brian is a fan favorite,” Cooper said. “It’s just really awesome that somebody like Brian, who’s at the Thunder, will take time out of his day to come speak to students at Oklahoma Christian. He loves us, we love him and we love hearing about him and his team market such a big aspect of this city. It’s great to get some insight and some networking opportunities.”

Cooper said Byrnes offers Oklahoma Christian students the opportunity to go to his office and shadow him.

Byrnes said being invited to Oklahoma Christian to speak is an annual tradition for him, and he does not take the opportunity for granted.

“Dr. Burt invited me back in the summer of 2008,” Byrnes said. “We had not even established really the identity of the organization. We were still hiring people. We hadn’t played a game yet. I’m not sure anybody knew who the Oklahoma City Thunder was, but he saw an opportunity and it was a terrific experience.”

Byrnes said although he gets to share fun aspects about working for a professional basketball team, there are challenges.

“I think there’s a part of these experiences where the story that I tell is obviously about the Thunder,” Byrnes said. “There’s hopefully very interesting stories that are shared about the composition of the team, or how we do certain things, but then there’s another part that I would call more of the tough love part.”

Byrnes said he hopes the students who heard him speak took away the knowledge that it is important for them to develop certain skills and understand certain aspects of the workplace as a young professional work ethic, personal social media accounts, and being self-aware and cognizant that others are advocates for you, whether you like it or not.

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