How experience puts you ahead of the field when it comes to a sports career

by frank-stuart
6JUN

As a young girl, Adrienne Lew travelled from Sydney through country New South Wales on family road trips but never imagined her career would take her back there. Now the Operations Coordinator at Country Rugby League NSW and based at Sydney Olympic Park, Adrienne has always been open-minded about her ideal job.

“I grew up playing a lot of sport and I was aware there’s a wide spectrum from grassroots to elite level. But, I wasn’t always aware of the job prospects,” Adrienne said. “After school, I did a traineeship in sports management. That confirmed I wanted to work in the industry but not in player management. I chose a Sports Business degree to get into the coordination of sport.”

At an ACPE networking night, Adrienne made some solid industry contacts and was soon working as an AFL Auskick Program Leader and with the Greater Western Sydney Giants. “You’ve got to apply yourself and get as much experience as you can while you’re studying,” she said. “Sport is a competitive industry and experience will put you ahead of the field. You can’t just think everything will come to you. You’ve got to prove yourself and that takes time.”

Adrienne’s highlight was an internship in the fan development department at the Giants. “It was during the Club’s early years and I learnt so much working behind the scenes while the Club was getting established,” she said. “It was incredible to be there when the team won their first game against the Sydney Swans at Spotless Stadium.”

After her degree, Adrienne worked part-time with Sports Camp Australia, where she gained experience at sports camps in Australia and Singapore. Looking for a full-time position, she found a role at Country Rugby League NSW and couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a great organisation and we’re a close-knit, hard-working team,” Adrienne said. “I started out looking after the country team schedules, liaising with regional clubs and groups. This led to greater responsibility and now I’m looking after the championships and high-performance programs.”

“It’s a good balance between being in the office and out in the field, where I work alongside regional staff to make sure everything goes to plan,” she said. “I’ve been involved in the country origin fixture, seen the representative programs evolve and supported the upcoming women’s competition. There’s so much still to do and to learn.”

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