Grounding Business in Sport
Being athletic has helped Caree Sullivan (BCom '83) from childhood, when she and her family moved often for her father’s job in the automotive sector. Finding herself in a new school every few years, sports, especially basketball, helped with the often-difficult transition.
Caree continued playing basketball while studying for a BCom (specializing in Marketing) at UBC Sauder, where she remembers, “the push to succeed” as an important value she took into her career as a media sales executive. On a more casual note, she has very fond memories of the legendary POITS hut, where business students (and the occasional faculty member) would gather for Friday afternoon drinks – a traditional that still happens today.
While progressing in her career with Canadian media giants CBC, CTV and eventually Bell Media, Caree maintained her serious sports habit — especially tennis and golf, a deceptively difficult sport which she started playing at the tender age of 10. After retiring in 2014, Caree and business partner, golf pro Sandy Sutton, set up North Vancouver-based SS Golf Lessons and Adventures, aiming to tap into the fastest-growing demographic in golf: women.
Currently, the business focuses on group and private lessons and retreats for women 40+. Caree describes this group as women who finally have time to take up the sport after years of watching their spouses go off to the course. She laughingly describes the equipment many of the clients often bring to their first lessons – ancient, huge clubs inherited from their spouse or father.
Not surprisingly, their 100 regular clients are soon playing with state-of the art clubs (thanks to a strategic partnership with a local sports equipment store) and signing up for the annual retreats she organizes on the Sunshine Coast and at Sun Peaks. One of Caree’s future aspirations for SS Golf is to offer retreats in warm destinations during the winter. Another is to transmit her own positive experience by introducing girls to the game she loves and is currently in discussion with local school and recreation centre sports programs to pilot a course designed specifically for them.
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