Celebrating awesome entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs just like you. Learn from others’ stories, successes, advice, and actions.
Meet Peter Cosentino, the President of DEC Sports & Entertainment and Co-Founder of Inspire Athlete Management. Peter has over 30 years of experience in creating meaningful partnerships that connect brands with audiences through properties in Canada and the United States.
Currently, Peter’s focus is on two main areas: The first is representing lifestyle property rights holders such as Canada Running Series, Crankworx, World Cup Mountain Biking, and Speed Skating Canada to provide brands with opportunities to invest in these properties. The second is on Inspire Athlete Management which provides brands with socially active high-performance cyclists that compete on the global stage in various disciplines of the sport.
A leader in Canada’s sports and entertainment marketing field, Peter has a long, successful track record of building and fostering winning marketing and sponsorship programs for sports and entertainment organizations, including 11 seasons at the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, The Toronto Argonauts Football Club and NFL Canada.
Peter shared with us so many excellent stories from his days with the Toronto Blue Jays and learnings from his career as a leader and entrepreneur in sports and entertainment marketing.
1. What are your sources of motivation and inspiration? How do you stay motivated/keep your cup full?
It’s complicated – I’m motivated through a few different channels.
I want to generate revenue through my business for our family so that we can have a quality of life, opportunities, and experiences that are fulfilling.
I don’t want to let anyone down. This keeps up the tenacity level to lift new and old rocks to see what might be there.
I surround myself with good people that I trust and respect.
For personal health:
You know when you’re on the airplane and you are told to put your mask on first, then your child’s? Looking after myself first sounds selfish, but it gives my loved ones the peace of mind that they don’t have to worry about me. Doing something every day keeps my body and my mind as fit as can be without being extra
2. What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like?
I usually rise early in the morning and go through a full-body stretch before I jump on my bike. I typically ride the same route most days. I also try to do a Wordle and Quordle to kick-start my brain! When I get to my desk, I review my day and my TO-DO’s and start charging!
3. Do you have a personal ethos that helps guide your decisions and choices? What is it and where did it come from?
My ethos is “Always Lead”. You know when you come to a door at the same time as someone else and there is that awkward moment around who is going to open the door? I will always go for the handle. I try to take that lead in everything I do. It keeps the momentum moving forward and makes people feel comfortable that someone is on their business.
4. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on your professional journey so far?
No means ‘Not Yet’. When I left the Toronto Blue Jays, I worked in an office with about 12 other people who all had different agencies. One of my colleagues was Joe Marino who worked at the Toronto Sun in the 80s and 90s. Joe could unabashedly sell. He closed a lot of deals because of his persistence and perseverance. He would call the same people every two weeks (his paper route he called it) and if they said no, he would hang up the phone and just say ‘not yet’. He was confident that sooner or later, they would come around and make the buy. This, combined with not taking anything too personally (Joe would say that they are just not ready for him yet – but they will be) helps keep the train on the tracks!
5. How do you encourage innovative ideas and disruptive thinking?
I work with a lot of properties that have done things the same way for years.During ideation sessions about ‘what ifs’ or ‘pie in the sky’ ideas, don’t be afraid to look foolish. It’s important to share your ideas andpush the boundaries with your thinking.Even if some of your wild ideas don’t stick, they will most likely kickstart everyone’s thinking and energize the group!
6. What type of superpower would you want to have? Why?
I would never try skydiving, but I would love to have the power of flight. Seeing the world from above gives such an incredible perspective on life: It suddenly seems to slow down and the dots are more easily connected. Sometimes we get so in the weeds on our day-to-day tasks that we forget what it’s all about. Plus, how cool would that be?
7. What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your business/current role?
How to ask for the sale. Still to this day, I value the relationship as much as the sale, so I don’t push incredibly hard. If it’s right, they’ll buy. But what’s more important is making sure your relationship with the client remains strong. Integrity is everything.
8. What book/podcast/documentary/piece of content do you recommend the most and why?
I encourage everyone to read up on their industry as a means to stay current, but I also believe it’s important to broaden your interests so that you can bring new thinking into your daily routine. I listen to everything from The Daily to Smartless to The Neuro Experience to Cycling Magazine Podcast.
I also love to read biographies like Steve Jobs or Keith Richards’ Life. I love anything Malcolm Gladwell and books like James Clear’s Atomic Habits (that make you take a deeper dive into your psyche).
9. What advice would you give to future entre/intrapreneurs looking to make their mark on the world?
Don’t overthink it. Just do it. If I had spent too much time thinking things through, I may have never left the Jays. I had such a great time there, but I am so much more fulfilled in my own business. Write your business plan, let it evolve but then just do the work. Don’t fret about the outcomes; just get the work done and things will typically work out in the end. Every day is a new opportunity to make things happen. Embrace it with vigour!
I remember at the Jays, Paul Beeston wanted a foundation and so it landed on my desk. I had no idea about foundations, why they existed and why they would be beneficial to an organization. All I knew was that the Beest wanted one. This was before we had the internet so googling wasn’t a thing. I ended up calling the good folks at the John Labatt Foundation (Labatt owned the Jays back then) and asked them for supporting documents, their process, their foundation objectives, etc. They helped me navigate the multiple forms and procedures necessary. It makes me happy to see how strong JaysCare is today – which started as a side-of-desk project that the CEO wanted. Knowing what the objective is and just getting it done with the resources that you have can make beautiful things happen!
Peter brings a personal and relatable lens to all of his learnings throughout the years. From his motivations to his personal ethos and what he wishes he’d known sooner, we love all of Peter’s genuine and practical advice.