Lauren Howe, an industrial engineering student, was recently appointed as the in-arena host for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Some people see being the ‘jack of all trades’ as being a bad thing. I personally think that it is extremely important to be this when you are young,” said Howe. “If you haven’t already found your passion in life to become to master [sic] at that one skill, then saying ‘yes’ to opportunities will help you grow and learn what it is you like and don’t like,” she added.
Howe attributes her attitude partially to her competitive spririt and willingness to pursue challenges. “For the most part, my inspiration is drawn from the many people I’ve met in life and listening to their stories, opinions, and wisdom. Some of the things you hear or experience will just resonate and spark an idea. The tough part is committing to executing that idea. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it,” said Howe.
“Growing up, I was very much of a tomboy. I loved sports, only ever wore dresses when my mother told me to, tried to take ballet but was kicked out,” Howe said. “I have to say, my involvement in sports has definitely shaped me the most,” she added.
Howe grew up in Etobicoke and attended Appleby College in Oakville where she came to be more heavily involved with sports.
She captained her high school field hockey team before going on to play for Team Ontario, the Toronto Titans, and McGill University.
Regarding her appointment as the in-arena host for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Howe said, “It is a dream job for a Leafs fan.”
A hockey game lasts around three hours, but there are only sixty minutes of actual game time. The Toronto Maple Leaf game crew fills the non-playing time with entertainment. Howe will be presenting contests and activities while also getting the fans excited in the arena. She will also cover Leafs events off the ice, such as community events, press conferences, and Leafs TV segments.
“A good friend of mine had sent me the link to the application, which asked for a resume, references, and a demo-reel if you had one,” Howe said about her experience getting the job. “I didn’t have a reel so I hired a good friend to help me put one together. It wasn’t until sending over clips of work I have done that I realized I could actually be qualified for this position! I thought it was a complete long shot!” said Howe.
“After being called in to audition in the empty Air Canada Centre (very strange feeling to see it without twenty thousand fans filling it), I received a phone call for an interview, and a few days after that I received the call saying I got the job. I remember being at work trying to sound as professional as possible on the phone while looking at my co-workers, jumping up and down like a little girl. I have no shame in admitting that,” she added.
Howe also described her experience as the executive vice president for the U of T Sports and Business Association. “My favorite part about this team is that we are all a family and everyone is there because of their passion for sports and sports business — it isn’t just a club you add to your resume to make it sound good.” As part of the Sports and Business Association, Howe worked with an initiative led by TSN’s Michael Landsberg called “Sick Not Weak,” which works with those who suffer from depression.
“This affects an incredibly large number of people and the scariest part is that people are able to hide it incredibly well. It’s important to help people feel comfortable talking about it by eliminating certain stigmas that surround this word,” said Howe.
“Our team felt strongly about this cause and we organized a charity raffle, which I helped spearhead. We ended up raising over $5,000 at the conference,” she said.
Howe has also taken computer science courses at U of T. “There is a very steep learning curve with programming and it can be very frustrating at times — for example, debugging. But it is important that you see through it, and eventually you can find some fun in writing the programs,” she said.
When asked about her career aspirations, Howe admitted she remains uncertain. Her original plan was to take Biomedical Engineering and follow through to medical school, towards becoming a surgeon.
“Well, I’m glad I found out I had naturally shaky hands which wouldn’t go well with neurosurgery — saved myself a lot of time and money there!” she explained.
She then decided to pursue an industrial engineering degree because it could lead to a carreer in business. “The nicest part is, it is very applicable in many fields, from health care and financial services to non-profit organizations and sports analytics.”
“I really enjoy the idea of entrepreneurship and might pursue an MBA down the road,” added Howe.
Amongst her extensive, diverse experiences, one of Howe’s most unique credentials is no doubt her participation in pageantry. Howe was previously named Miss Teen Canada, and, this year, she was named second runner up at this year’s Miss Universe Canada competition.
“Pageants have received some negative publicity because of how they are portrayed [in] the news. In reality, they celebrate all the qualities that a modern, strong woman should possess — intelligence, grace, altruism, a healthy lifestyle, community involvement, independence, ambition, and selflessness,” she said.
The NHL regular season is starting this week with the Leafs’ home and season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. Having already gained an impressive following, Lauren will be at the games throughout the season to support the team and interact with the crowd.