Managing Partnerships & Athletes

Wow! What an evening. In partnership with The Hunter Young Professionals, UoN BusCom were delighted to introduce attendees to the world of sport and management of professional athletes. Over 80 guests enjoyed a glass of wine and a beer in the Kotara-room corporate box at McDonald Jones Stadium where Mr Darren Rankine, Partner at Sparke Helmore “kicked us off”, by explaining to guests how as a community we can achieve great feats through collaboration. Mr Rankine described how and why Sparke Helmore sponsor organisations and how this sponsorship supports community development. Mr Rankine also touched on the fact that this development model is required in the management of professional athletes. Seconding that was Dr Paul Stolk, lead academic in Sports Management studies at the University of Newcastle. Through his research and teaching, Dr Stolk has built successful connections between students and the local and international sporting community. Dr Stolk was present at the Hunter Coast Regional Experience and echoed the previous event’s catch phrase that along with tourism, sport is also everyone’s business.


Our first speaker for the evening was Newcastle Jet’s CEO, Lawrie McKinna, who is currently recovering from recent surgeries relating to his days playing professional football in Scotland. Lawrie immediately filled the room with a tangible warmth and soon had the crowd in stitches. Mr McKinna shared his experiences relating to the international world of sport, both from a personal, business and community perspective. CEO of Northern NSW Football, David Eland, took the stage as Mr McKinna was ushered out the door with a bottle of wine in his walker basket. Mr Eland educated attendees on the competitive and multidisciplinary nature of the sporting world, challenging attendees to pursue careers and positons outside their comfort zones and skill sets.


Kick off!


The Jets v Wanderers match was underway. Not before guests had been given the opportunity to grab some food and top up at the bar! At half time guests were treated to a talk by ex A-League Jets player, Joel Griffiths. Mr Griffiths gave a thoroughly entertaining overview of his career and how sport has shaped the person he has become. Finally, guests enjoyed the second half of the game, despite the full-time result.


A huge thank you to our sponsors for the evening: Sparke Helmore and the University of Newcastle Faculty of Business and Law. Thank also to the Hunter Young Professionals for collaborating with us on this event – hopefully we can do it all again next year!


If you missed this event, our next professional event is “Your Hire Purpose” at DASH Co-work in Charlestown on the 11th of May. We also have the UoN BusCom Ball coming up on the 28th of April, make sure to purchase your tickets at!