Mark Cohon
Mark Cohon, CFL Commissioner, talked about building a winning organization at an Odette Breakfast with Champions event on October 30 at the Caboto Club.

CFL Commissioner speaks on building winning organization.

For Mark Cohon, the CFL is a lot more than football.  The CFL Commissioner says his organization is interested in Canada and the communities that make up the country. The CFL, under his leadership, is constantly working to make a positive difference in communities across Canada through the power of the Grey Cup championship to bring Canadians together. 

Cohon was appointed Commissioner of the CFL in 2007 and was recently named number six on the Globe and Mail’s power list of the 30 most influential people in Canadian sport. According to Cohon, the secret to building the CFL into a winning organization is to focus on the experience and the memories for the 28,000 fans, on average, who attend a football game. For Cohon, the experience and the memories these fans have are what creates a kind of connectivity between the CFL organization, the fans and the country.

Cohon also talked about the importance of pride in building winning organizations. “If you have pride in what you are doing, you will take a step towards success,” he said.  It was the desire to create pride that caused Cohen to fix crumbling stadiums so that stadium managers could compete effectively with other sports for ticket sales and to instill a sense of pride in the organization.

Cohon’s advice for students and community members who want to build successful organizations was to: focus on what’s important, communicate what you’re doing, hire the right people, seize opportunities, maintain authenticity, work hard and love what you do. 

This year is especially unique for Cohen and the league because it marks the 100th Grey Cup with celebrations to include a 10-day festival, a Grey Cup train with a museum car, a Grey Cup car and a player’s car traveling across the country so fans can join in the celebration.  “If we cherish what is ours then we are able to grow and move forward,” Cohen said. “Celebrate the past but always be moving towards the future.”

The Breakfast with Champions events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.  Contact Barbara Barone at