LC alumni turns up heat for new student orientation

Photo & story by Stephanie Savage

Success in the sports world isn’t always about the numbers that show up in the stats columns. Such is the case for Lethbridge College alum John Vidalin.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Vidalin is a 1991 graduate of Lethbridge College’s Communications Arts program now renamed Digital Communications and Media.

Having initially enrolled at the University of Alberta, the Northern Alberta native switched to Lethbridge College for its practical, hands-on training, which included facets of broadcasting and advertising.

Since receiving his diploma, the ambitious athletics supporter has worked with major professional sports teams in the NFL, NHL and most recently, the NBA.

Vidalin has performed various tasks throughout his career but has found huge success in sales, marketing and corporate sponsorship. He is often hailed as being the driving force behind the San Francisco 49ers $220 million deal with Levi Strauss in 2013.


As the current Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Vidalin is charged with fostering local, national and international business opportunities.

Becoming a key member of the Miami Heat organization since joining the team in 2013, Vidalin is widely credited with positioning the Heat as industry leaders in fan interaction, audience experience and their modern arena.

Originally attending the college to pursue a career in broadcasting, the business savvy graduate just happened upon a talent and appreciation for the more commercial side of the industry.

“I had some opportunities coming out of school to do some broadcasting, but my life took another direction, the money was much more appealing on the PR side,” said Vidalin.

His career shifted once more when he happened upon a chance meeting with famed NHL legend Lanny McDonald while working in consumer sales in Calgary, Alberta. Through that meeting, Vidalin was given the opportunity to join the Calgary Flames organization as their Director of Marketing.

“Sometimes I wonder what my life would have looked like had I taken the broadcasting path, but I’m so happy with how my life turned out.”

The successful business mogul returned to the Val Matteotti gymnasium Tuesday to address some 1,400 first-year students as the keynote speaker for the 2017 New Student Orientation at Lethbridge College. This is the first time in 10 years the now states side businessman has returned to campus.

“It’s great to be back. I love this city, I love this school. But mostly, I love the people,” said Vidalin.

Speaking to students as they begin their journey was an honor for the distinguished alumnus.

“It’s a big day and I’m just here to share some of my life experience,” said Vidalin.

Conveying a message of how important taking risks and challenging things that scare you, the notable speaker doled out a healthy mix of anecdotes and advice to the captivated mass of students.

“Today’s a big first step and I congratulate you on taking it. But when you take a first step, you have to have a plan and you need to take steps with intention,” said Vidalin.

He urged students to ask for help when they get overwhelmed and took time to highlight some of the College’s supportive services.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, along the way, everybody needs help. Plan, and ask for help, and you will probably be successful.”

After sharing what has helped make him as successful as he is today, Vidalin left the crowd to ponder on one single question before making his exit.

“Day one, or one day. You decide.”




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