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Heather Hyde

Backstage access with co-op placement

It’s Friday night and the Air Canada Centre is packed with 15,000 screaming fans, waiting patiently for Taylor Swift to take the stage.

After a few minutes, the 21-year-old country-pop superstar dressed in a gold sequined mini-dress and black boots, emerges from beneath the wooden stage floor to the crowd’s delight.

Her two-hour show goes off without a hitch and backstage no one is happier than Heather Hyde. The Seneca Business Administration — Marketing student is a Taylor Swift fan. On this day her excitement is not the result of meeting one of her musical idols and hearing her sing live, instead it’s reserved for the small part she played in helping put together a concert of this magnitude.

Heather spent the entire summer working as an Events Co-ordinator at the Air Canada Centre, where she rubbed elbows with the biggest names in the music industry including Britney Spears, the Foo Fighters and Kid Rock.

“It was the most amazing experience of my professional career,” Heather says. “I honestly loved every moment of it.”

Heather received the opportunity to work at the Air Canada Centre through the co-op component of her program. As part of their studies, students in the program are required to complete a four month paid placement to gain real-world experience in their field.

After a series of interviews, Heather was hired by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in May and was assigned to the company’s live events team. As part of her job, she helped organize VIP parties and meet-and-greets for music fans. On concert nights, Heather would begin her shift by assisting with decorations backstage before going on to serve for the rest of the evening as the liaison between the artists and the venue. Needless to say, she met every challenge she was given and passed her co-op evaluation with flying colours.

Before studying at Seneca, Heather worked at the College for four years in admissions and registration. Assisting other students with their occupational goals inspired her to follow her dreams of pursuing a career in marketing.

Since being back in class, she has seized every opportunity that has presented itself, including taking part in the Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition and serving as a Marketing Intern for Recipe to Riches, a Canadian Food Network show where cooks battle to have their original recipes turned into a President’s Choice product.

“I realized I needed an education behind me to be in marketing,” she says. “It was a big decision, but I’m glad I finally made it.”

Heather says she particularly enjoys the fast-paced and deadline driven environment of event marketing and hopes to specialize in that area of the industry once she has completed her diploma this April. Her focus from now until then is to soak up any last lessons she can.

“My education is just the beginning of my career and I am excited to see where this path leads me.”

To learn more about the Business Administration — Marketing program, visit senecacollege.ca/fulltime/BAM.html