Sports business leaders celebrated at George Brown’s annual 5 to Watch awards

Mike Fenton, Cindy Gouveia, Maureen Loweth and Kathy Dumanski

Photo: (From left to right) Mike Fenton, Cindy Gouveia, Maureen Loweth and Kathy Dumanski

More than 400 people gathered for the 5 to Watch awards at George Brown College’s Waterfront Campus to celebrate Canadian sports business leaders who’ve achieved remarkable success by the age of 40.

TSN’s Kate Beirness hosted the sixth annual event on June 22 when the following top five players in the industry were honoured:

  • Andrew Agro, Director of Corporate Sponsorship & Business Development at the New York Jets
  • Atila Ozkaplan, Senior Director at NBC Sports Group
  • Catherine Gosselin-Despres, Executive Director of Sport at the Canadian Paralympic Committee
  • Jordan Vader, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE)
  • Lisa Ferkul, Scotiabank’s Director of Hockey Sponsorship

The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Dan Mackenzie, Vice President and Managing Director of NBA Canada. Mackenzie graduated from George Brown’s Sport and Event Marketing program in 1997. Dan has served on the 5 to Watch committee and continues to support George Brown College.

“We want to honour the hard work and innovation that Canadian sports business professionals are doing,” says Kathy Dumanski, Chair of George Brown’s School of Marketing. “They are taking sports business to the next level and we want to celebrate that.”

Supporting students

The event raised $50,000 for scholarships and bursaries for Sport and Event Marketing students in the Centre for Business. Support came from premier sponsors such as Bank of Montreal, CFL, Canadian Tire, MLSE, SDI Marketing, TSN and from ticket sales. This generous donation was presented by Kathy Dumanski and Mike Fenton, Co-Chairs of the 5 to Watch Organizing Committee, in the form of a cheque presentation, to Maureen Loweth, Dean of the Centre for Business and Cindy Gouveia the President of the George Brown College Foundation.

“George Brown College students are thriving because of the connections they are able to make with industry professionals,” said Loweth. "Students get to meet the people they aspire to be, they can ask the right questions and learn from the best. This will catapult them into a future of success. We are so grateful for the constant and continued support from leaders in the sports business industry.”

Since 2012, the 5 to Watch program has raised over $250,000 for student awards. George Brown College is grateful for the support provided by the 5 to Watch committee as George Brown celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Learn more about 5 to Watch

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Students can find information about scholarships, bursaries and other awards at

For more information about this gift, please contact Trinity Zhang, Development Officer, Annual Giving at 416-415-5000 ext. 2063, or by email at