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20 Questions with Greg McCambridge

March 13, 2017

Name: Greg McCambridge
Position/Institution: Program Manager for Trademark Licensing and Bookstore Contract/UNC Charlotte
Number of years in your position: 4+
Alma Mater(s): Fairfield University (BA), University of Arizona (MA)
Hometown: Closter, NJ

1. Why did you become involved in ICLA?
I believe it is important to be up to date with issues and concerns, as well as promotions and marketing. By joining ICLA I am able to find out what other licensing programs are doing and how they are dealing with problems that may not have hit my school just yet. I can stay ahead of the curve.

2. What is your favorite part about being a member of ICLA?
The ability to send out a question to the wonderful members who may have experienced the same or similar situation is great. I can get information from similar and vastly different programs. No two licensing departments are the same, and for very good reason.

3. What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
Communication. There are many departments on campus dependent on licensing. Sometimes these departments have no idea of the rules and responsibilities. Explaining the policies and reasons can feel tedious, but is an important part of the job.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
The number of relationships I’ve built. It’s a great feeling to be a resource for others, as well as being recognized as a partner on campus. Much better than just the person who denies artwork.

5. What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
Active listening. I can be a talkative person when engaged. Sometimes in negotiating and when dealing with confused and frustrated departments or licensees or retailers, it helps to stop talking and listen to find out what problems they are trying to solve.

6. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
My parents, because they won’t let me move back home. Plus they taught me to be resilient and fair.

7. What is one item you cannot live without?
A good pair of comfortable shoes. I walk all over our hilly campus for game day enforcement, and talk to departments and faculty on a regular basis, so without them, I’d be miserable.

8. Who would you chose to switch places with for a day?
UNC Charlotte’s Chancellor, so I can be sure to get all of my contracts signed, policies pushed through, and initiatives passed. Plus he has great seats for sporting events.

9. What is your favorite sporting that event you have ever attended?
1994 NHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition Madison Square Garden, followed closely by the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. Definitely not one of our youth basketball games...we were terrible.

10. Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
I worked retail for some time and wanted to sit down for a bit. Little did I know I’d still be walking around. I still haven’t decided if this is my forever career, because I always want to learn and experience more.

11. In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
I think most LD’s have some experience or insight that is valuable. Often I ask multiple people the same question, or just post to the Community, to get a wide perspective. Usually, I just ask Rachael Bickerton, because the Boise State University “B” is really for Bickerton.

12. How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
It has proven to me that help is but a phone call, email, or Community post away. I am happy to answer questions regarding our policies as most LD’s are and ICLA has helped me find others out there who have gone or are going through similar issues and concerns.

13) What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing?
Retail experience has been a big help. Experiencing firsthand how licensing affects retail and knowing a brand from that perspective helps me understand how retailers order, what they are looking to do, and how I can help or offer suggestions if applicable.

14. What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors?
Students don’t always know the brand standards. Neither do vendors. Sometimes, neither do I until we determine them. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte just started D1 football in 2013, so getting our name out is important, but we also have to do it right. Otherwise trying to change the branding later could be disastrous. So education is the biggest challenge I have here, other than explaining Charlotte is not Chapel Hill (no apologies to Derek).

15. Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
There are fewer students wearing gear of other institutions on campus. When I got here I wasn’t sure where I was. Now more student’s wear our colors and our marks. Partnering with student government to start a spirit day, working with Athletics to promote our teams, pushing the bookstore to carry different merch, and collaborating with housing to promote events has helped increase brand equity and awareness.

16. In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
I can’t tell you yet as I’m hoping my investment will bring me millions. I think strategic brand management and licensee limitation/exclusives will play a part.

17. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field of collegiate licensing?
The best advice I ever received was “Don’t eat that.” Actually, “sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness, not permission”. I keep forgetting the sometimes part. My advice to those looking to get into collegiate licensing is ask an experienced licensing director a million questions, then, find another and ask the same million questions. We all do things a little different, and while it is important to know what that is, you also need to know why.

18. What was your biggest professional failure/mistake and how did you learned from it?
I agreed to do enforcement on game days, including August. It’s hot out there. I learned to drink a lot of water, and take the golf cart instead of walking.

19. What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
65%, though I’m often walking around the office.

20. What are you most looking forward to at the next ICLA Convention or Winter Symposium?
Hearing about all the great programs being implemented and sweet products being branded. Plus I want to see a Utah/BYU hot wing eating contest….just saying, we need to make that happen.