Member of the week - Paula WardBy Business Chicks | Apr 30, 12 01:36 PM
Founder of Know The Game
Name: Paula Ward
State: New South Wales
Job title: Founder & Director
Company: Know The Game
Describe your personal journey: We live In a nation where sport often pushes big business off the front pages. After spending almost two decades in the mostly male corporate arena of investment banking and professional services, I’ve seen many people shy away from sport because of unfamiliarity with a particular code, and as a result, they close the door on business or career growth opportunities.
I launched Know The Game to level the playing field. Know The Game is a consulting firm focused on educating people about Australian sports through face-to-face workshops.
Know The Game currently delivers workshops on seven of the most popular sports in Australia and has programs for in-house corporate forums such as women’s networks, secondee orientation programs and business development events. In addition to sport specific workshops, Know The Game presents on the parallels of business and sport.
Know The Game operates nationally and is aligned with some of Australia’s largest sporting associations including the AFL, Cricket Australia, Rugby Union Player’s Association (RUPA), Victoria Rugby Union and the HSBC Waratahs.
Describe your typical day: Staying across and sharing sporting headlines via social media is the only common element to my day. The balance of my day is varied. I may be facilitating workshops, presenting at conferences, networking at industry forums or accompanying clients to sporting events. I may be devouring business articles and sports commentary to identify ideas for a new presentation or workshop. I could be writing blogs, website articles, keynote presentations or a sport specific workshop. I spend time developing and pitching proposals to prospective corporate clients to assist them to better leverage their sporting sponsorship spend by getting a greater diversity of clients to their sporting events. I also take time to research the needs and wants of sporting clubs and associations in an endeavour to best position Know The Game to offer a relationship that creates mutual benefit.
Involvement in Cricket Australia’s Multicultural Reference Group and the Executive Committee for the NSW Equal Employment Opportunity Practitioners’ Association also requires periodic focus and attendance at forums and meetings.
When was the last time you felt inspired? Recently I attended Atlassian’s 10th birthday party where a video of their evolution was shown. The genuine excitement in the room; the impulsive cheers for their milestones; and the laughter about in-jokes demonstrated that their team readily identifies with, and feels an integral part of, what has been created over the last 10 years. It is a great benchmark on how to involve others in the journey to achieve substantial growth, develop a unique culture and build team accountability.
What’s next on your 'Bucket List' and why? I have an extensive bucket list, it's a 'work-in-progress'. I’m trying to identify my top 100. Some are small and some are big. Some are one-offs, others are about regularity to achieve balance in life. Writing it down gives me focus and encourages me to plan to actually make it happen.
In the next few months I will stand on the basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway in Ireland; publish a book; get a golf handicap and continue to grow Know The Game.
Tell us something about you that may surprise people? In 2008 I spent a couple of months in South America trekking, kayaking and mountaineering through Patagonia as part of an Andean Condor conservation research project funded by NASA and the Argentinean government. Carrying a pack that weighed as much as 34kgs at a time we learnt to ice-climb, traverse thick lenge forests and wade through icy rivers. We worked and lived in sweltering desert conditions, bivouacked on the Patagonian Steppe, gained enough altitude to cross the snow and ice line, strapped on crampons and used ice-axes to explore glaciers and crevasses and slept in temperatures plummeting to minus twenty degrees each night.
What’s your top tip for success? Think about the activities that you would jump at to be involved in and then find a way to make them a key part of what you do everyday. No doubt it will involve a level of risk but without taking a risk and pushing beyond your comfort zone, how will you know what you can achieve? It is a truism that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.
What would you like to get from your Business Chicks experience? Connecting with others to broaden my exposure to new ideas, different business models and diverse thinking, while contributing to others in the same way.
Learn more about, and connect with, Paula here