Individual, Industry, News, Professional Development

Inside The VPN - With Tom Madden


Tom Madden Photo 1
Name: Tom Madden VPN Membership: Industry Professional How many year have you been in the sport industry? As an employee = 1.5, As a volunteer = 9 years Current organisation/s: Water Polo Victoria Job title: Sport Development Officer How long have you been in this position? 1.5 years What project are you currently working on? Have you been a part of any major projects? The Water Polo Victoria office is a busy place to be at the moment. I am currently working on a number of key projects that will hopefully increase the awareness of water polo and lead to a growth in participation across all forms of the sport in the future. The key projects for me at the moment are Women's Social Water Polo, Flippa Ball at MSAC, and Bumpa Ball. Our Women's Social program stems from the Female Participation Review which we undertook with Vicsport to assist with identifying and addressing barriers for participation within our sport.  The Women's Social program will run across 6 Friday evenings, from 6pm-8pm at Melbourne High School (details available on the WPV website). Flippa Ball is water polo’s equivalent to Milo Cricket, Auskick or Aussie Hoops.  We saw an opportunity to establish an initial program at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in an attempt to draw 8-12 year olds into the sport prior to needing to engage with a club.  The program is currently administered and run by WPV, with another 2 sessions taking place at MSAC over the coming weeks (details available on the WPV website). The final key project I am working on at the moment is Bumpa Ball, which involves playing modified water polo whilst sitting in an inner tube.  This exciting format is being developed under the VicHealth Innovation Challenge for 2016.  Whilst I don’t have a great deal on this product just yet, I can say that it is an absolute blast to play and encourage everyone to be on the lookout for an opportunity to take part in Bumpa Ball throughout the year. Recently, I was extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to work closely with the Victorian Seals National Water Polo League Club, as well as Midsumma, Melbourne Surge, beyondblue, and patron Rowena Allen to celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusion in sport.  The Victorian Seals home games against the KFC Queensland Breakers was joined by the Melbourne Surge V Sydney Stingers Grudge Match and placed on the Midsumma Festival events calendar.  The event was a great way to celebrate diversity and inclusion in sport, with WPV hoping the event sparks broader change in the sporting sector. Where did you get your first start in the sport industry? My first paid role in the sport industry is the one I currently hold at Water Polo Victoria.  Whilst having over 10 years of playing and volunteering experience in the sport, I had actually undertaken my studies in Environmental Science in Albury prior to applying for the role with WPV.  I am extremely grateful for the support and trust that Simon and the selection panel placed in me and hope that I haven’t disappointed them over the past year and a half. What advice would you give a student just starting out in their sport career? As a relatively new face in the sporting field myself, I would most likely say that whilst the industry is competitive and quite a popular field to work in, if you don’t happen to get a position straight away there are always opportunities to gain experience across the variety of sports we have available in Australia.  Look at every setback as an opportunity to improve and gather more experience in a particular area. What is your dream job? Whilst I haven’t quite decided on where I would like my career in the sporting industry to get to, I do know that whatever role I find myself in in the latter stages of my career I would want it to be a challenge, yet at the same time be something that is rewarding and satisfying each and every day.  My dream job would be in the sporting industry, but where that is and what that entails is all an unknown. What is your next step to get there? The next step for me is to gain as much experience as possible in a variety of roles over the next 10-15 years and see where that puts me.  If I continue to learn and develop my knowledge of the industry as much as I have over the past 18 months, who knows where I may find myself in 10 years’ time. Who’s your sport idol? With so many inspirational figures in the sporting arena these days it is extremely difficult to pick a single one who I would consider my idol. In saying that, there is one athlete within water polo who has defied conflict and adversity to now be on track for his 3rd Olympic Games as the Australian Men’s Goal Keeper. James Stanton-French first represented Australia at the Olympics at the 2004 Athens games and competed again in Beijing 2008.  Faced with the unfortunate scenario of missing the 2012 London games, James could have easily called an end to his international career.  However, at 6’5” and almost 34 years of age, James is in line to be selected to compete as the Goal Keeper for the Australian Men’s team at Rio 2016.  Driven, determinate and one of the nicest people you will ever meet, James has taken a few blows to the chin and shown that you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it. Is a sporting administrator you have looked up to as a role model/mentor? I have been extremely fortunate to have two great sporting administrator and business minds working alongside me over the past 18 months.  Simon Blundell and Steve Blunt have both acted as unofficial mentors for me, particularly during the first 12 months of entering the sporting industry as an employee.  Simon and Steve have guided and supported me every step of the way and I hope to continue to learn from both of them into the future as I look to cement myself in the industry. What is favourite thing about working in the sports industry? My favourite part of doing what I do would have to be seeing the enjoyment and excitement in participants faces when they are taking part in a sporting activity.  Whether it be at the entry level through to the most elite level, people enjoying an activity which you have had something to do with behind the scenes is uplifting and fulfilling. What event/workshop would you like to see Vicsport facilitate as part of the VPN? Incorporating technology into day to day sporting administration tasks – what’s out there? What could sporting organisations do in order to make these advances in technology cost effective?  How can it improve the participant’s experience?

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