SFIA Future Industry Leader Scholar Profile: Mike Gugat

Mike Gugat 2Next week in Chicago, five young professionals in the sports and fitness industry will be recognized as the Class of 2014 SFIA Future Industry Leader Scholars. All five of these recipients will be present at SFIA’s Industry Leaders Summit on September 16-17, 2014 at the Drake Hotel.

Each of our scholarship recipients is incredibly talented and display an incredible amount of promise as they rise to the top of their field. This week, SFIAinsider, in collaboration with SFIA Weekly, will be posting exclusive interviews with each of our five winners. We are honored to have the opportunity to put them in the spotlight before the event.

Meet Mike Gugat, Oakland A’s fan and Senior Sales manager for SFIA member adidas Running and Reebok Cross Fit who knows the value of customer service. Continue reading to see the full interview.

Why did you apply to the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program?

I was encouraged to apply for the Leader Scholarship Program by industry peers. The program was presented to me as a great opportunity to promote the future well-being of our industry.

What was your very first job?

My first full time job was as a sales associate at Luke’s Locker in Dallas, TX. I needed the job to pay for tuition and books while in college, but never dreamed I’d get a hands-on business education that could not have been taught in a classroom. I actually learned to think like a merchant and understand the importance of customer service. To this day, I reference this experience when coaching and developing my employees.

What made you want to work in the sports and fitness industry?

I was born with a ball in my hand, but unfortunately not blessed with great speed. I knew at a young age I was most happy when around sports and sporting goods. I’d spend hours in my local sporting goods store, eyeing the products I couldn’t afford. I’d then mow lawns to save up the necessary cash to buy that must have shoe or glove.

What exactly do you do in your current position?

I’m a Senior Sales manager for adidas Running and Reebok Cross Fit for the Western United States. I’ve got a team of 7 specialty reps whom call on Running Retailers.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of your work?

I love strategic planning and executing against those plans. It requires buy-in from our team and customers, all of whom will influence the consumer’s purchasing decision.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Industry Leaders Summit?

Networking and listening to “thought leaders” as to better understand where they see our industry going.

What is your favorite sports memory from your lifetime?

My fondest memory was having my picture taken with John Elway in 1982. It was just after the father-son football game at Stanford Stadium.

Do you have a favorite sports movie?

Moneyball. I’m a huge Oakland A’s fan and also a fan of the writer Michael Lewis.

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