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Dameon Gonga

Class of 2022

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The Sports Product Management graduate programme stood out to me because it was truly one of a kind. After watching the informational video, I said out loud, ‘This is my dream programme.’ I felt like a whole new world had been discovered. I’d been a sneakerhead my entire life, but never thought I could turn that passion into a paycheck. To be honest, until the pandemic happened, I had every intention to play professional soccer. I was devastated when I realised that wouldn’t happen, but I believed everything was happening for a reason. 

One of my favorite quotes is, ’Life is lived forward, but understood backwards.’ That is exactly how I feel about my decision to stop playing soccer and enrol at the University of Oregon. At the time, I questioned myself. But looking back at it now, I can confidently say it was the best decision I ever made.

In my current role as Assistant Manager, Brand Marketing & Partnerships at Allbirds, I serve as the marketing lead for all Energy (limited-edition) product launches and brand marketing campaigns, while contributing to pitch efforts for high-profile talent and brands in pursuit of strategic partnerships. This includes but is not limited to market research, consumer insights, creative brief writing, and budget management.

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In the 18-month graduate programme, we studied everything I named above through classes such as Sports Product Branding, Sports Product Marketing Strategy, Legal Aspects of Sports Business, New Venture Planning, Consumer Research, and Financial Accounting, to name a few. These classes allowed me to come in to Allbirds as an intern after the first nine months in the programme and be an immediate, high-level contributor to our Brand Marketing team and cross-functionally to other teams in the organisation. Through my education, internship, and the network I built, I secured a full-time position with Allbirds following graduation in the Spring of 2022.”