What is your job and where are you based for work?
I’m National Manager for Clubs and Facilities for England Hockey and I’m based in Marlow.
Did you train for a specific job?
I have always had an interest in sport, so from academic perspective I took sport and sciences – I did a degree in psychology but also additional modules in sport.
Sport was my passion. I got offered a job with the FA and that’s the path I took. Psychology and sport go together. I always wanted to play and do sport for my work and I am very lucky!
What are you doing now? A typical day
I manage a team of three. We have some big strategy development work ongoing at Board level and we deal with practical questions from clubs around facilities. The ‘club’ side of the job is more strategic around how to develop clubs on a national level.
Most of the week I am out and about all over the country visiting hockey clubs and facilities and Sport England for example. It’s very enjoyable and very varied. Hockey is my own sport so that’s even better.
What are your aspirations for your career in the future?
I’ve worked previously within cricket in Australia and also in the FA. It takes getting used to, coming to something smaller. In a smaller organisation you can really make changes, which is great. I would love to be the Development Director – which would mean you look after all the schools’ and adult participation across the country. You automatically be a board member – an Executive Director. Not necessarily in hockey but it certainly could be. However, it’s not something I am looking for at the moment.
Can you tell me about a defining moment of your career?
There’s been a few! Trying to decide whether to do my Masters or go for an FA job for example. When I left England to go to Australia I didn’t have a job to go to, so that was scary. But I looked at Cricket Australia and managed to get into a role there. Getting the job in cricket was based purely on my experience and wasn’t easy – I tend to undersell myself. I wasn’t known on a personal level so that was challenging.
Another example was when I became a County Development Manager in a county that wasn’t used to the idea of a young female Development Manager. A lady who
worked at the FA encouraged me to keep pushing at this role and was empathic with the struggles I was experiencing.
Who helped you along the way? Did you have formal or informal mentors?
I was on a leadership programme when I worked in the FA – but that was for a set time and so it was quite formal. Here at England Hockey we have a brilliant female CEO who really supports us and is a great role model. She really motivates her staff.
Have you changed direction in your career? Did you ever swerve off course?
No, not in the type of work I do – we went to Australia for my partner’s job and that meant I left my own job – so I had no idea what I would do! I chose to carry on with my sports roles. I still love it.
What the worst and best bit about your job?
The best bit is that I get up and work in something I care about and see the changes that happen. I am passionate about it!
The difficulties are on the flip side that we can’t help everyone all the time – we don’t have the manpower and resources to do that. Much more money could be invested into hockey to improve it.
Have you ever considered a board/NED/trustee role?
I recently became a Board member in a County Sports Partnership at Oxfordshire. It gives me that level of experience. Plus I have always worked in specific sports and this gives me the experience I need – it takes me out of my comfort zone. Oxfordshire is also a region I grew up in and I want to see some changes there. I’m really enjoying it!
What helps you to stay interested/excited in what you do?
My passion for the area – I also manage three different and excellent people who keep me on my toes. They have a passion for hockey too and sometimes I have to contain that and be the bad guy, but they are a great bunch. And I have a great manager. Employee satisfaction is very high at England Hockey.