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Justin Obey '06 and Brian Shaw '06: Connecting People Through Sports
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
When it comes to mixing business and pleasure, Justin Obey and Brian Shaw have a can’t-miss brew for Beantown. The 2006 graduates are founders of Social Boston Sports, a company that brings together young professionals for fun and friend-making in an organized setting.
The idea surfaced during an informal chat among Obey, Shaw and two other friends. Reflecting on the difficulty of meeting new people outside a bar setting, the foursome decided to craft a solution themselves.
“We realized this was something we could do,” says Shaw. “Coming from Bentley, you know you need a business plan, but it didn’t take a whole lot to start it up. We had a few planning meetings and then just went for it.”
Social Boston Sports launched in January 2007 with a full menu of activities. Members, who join for free, can play in four sports leagues: dodgeball, kickball, volleyball and softball. The company also runs evening events – parties, fashion shows and cultural outings, for instance – and weekend trips such as skiing at Sunday River. Profits come from fees generated by the various offerings.
Charity, too, is part of the mix. Members have volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank, cleaned up two city parks, and participated in fund-raising efforts such as the Walk for Hunger.
Though just barely a year old, SBS already has more than 1,100 members on tap. The age range is 20 to 35; most live and work in Boston, though Rhode Island and New Hampshire are represented as well.
“A lot of people have good things to say about us,” observes Shaw, who serves as VP of operations and financials. “Word of mouth is supposed to be the best marketing, and it’s really true.”
The company also advertises in The Improper Bostonian and online at MySpace, Facebook and craigslist.
For now, the founders are combining their venture with full-time jobs. Obey, the president of events for SBS, is a loan administrator for CWCapital in Needham, Mass. Shaw is an operations analyst for Benchmark Assisted Living, in Wellesley.
Watching people meet each other is a motivator for Obey. “We’ll overhear conversations about members hanging out with each other outside SBS events,” he says. “It’s great to see that. It shows that we’re accomplishing something.”
“I’m having a blast,” adds Shaw. “We’re making a lot of people happy.”
For more on the company, visit www.socialbostonsports.com.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.