Meet the Match

A Story of Chance for a Marketing Specialist

Two years ago, Anderson Gama was entering the final year of his bachelor’s degree in communications at the Universidade Estácio de Sá when he was accepted to participate in a student exchange program in Toronto, Canada. Looking to gain further experience in marketing and advertising before graduation, he began searching for an internship upon his return to Brazil.

It was then that a friend told Anderson about Obra Social Dona Meca (OSDM), an NGO in the Taquara neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro that works with children with disabilities.

“It was an exciting opportunity,” Anderson says. “You need to do a little bit of everything here. I handle marketing, graphic design, and I talk directly with sponsors. I think that everybody who works at a non-profit organization wants to make the world a better place, and that’s what I want to do.”

Anderson took the internship and is now the marketing manager for ODSM. Currently, the organization serves 250 children and youth through multiple therapy services—physio-, occupational, speech, psychomotor—and a wide range of sports programs, including Capoeira, running, basketball, football, and swimming. The organization also runs a shelter, Casa Lar Dona Meca, for upwards of ten orphaned youth with disabilities.

For its different projects, OSDM has been able to develop strong partnerships with Olympic Villages, multinational oil company Petrobras, professional football club Vasco da Gama, and multiple other NGOs around Rio. Anderson plays a key role in working directly with sponsors to coordinate media strategy through advertising, website design, and publications.

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games happening in Rio from August through September, Anderson and his team have been planning events for the OSDM youth to experience the excitement and grow the number of children with disabilities they reach with their programs.

“Aside from the Games, we will host our own smaller sports events here in our club and invite our partners to attend,” Anderson says. “We want to use the Paralympic Games as a mirror so the children can see what they can achieve if they never give up.”

One of Anderson’s key focus areas leading up to the Paralympic Games was developing OSDM’s marketing strategy to attract more sponsors for its events and to create a more structured sports programs that can provide children with opportunities from the recreational to the high-performance level.

With his own experience in marketing and as a sports strategy manager for Glideslope, Ian Cropp made the ideal mentor Anderson. For over eight years, Ian, who is fluent in Portuguese, has worked with Olympic sponsors looking to enter the Brazilian market, private brands and agencies, and both the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics. In addition to Ian, the team of experts at Glideslope had the experience of participating in GSMP: Sport for Community with Brazilian emerging leader Alessandro Martins in 2014, and were able to help Anderson develop a plan to grow OSDM’s impact across Taquara and all of Rio de Janeiro.

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