active CEO Podcast Jennie Wyllie (Netball New Zealand) – Challenge Privately Support Publicly

active CEO Podcast #44 Jennie Wyllie Challenge Privately Support Publicly

Jennie Wyllie – Chief Executive Netball NZ

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Jennie Wyllie about growing up watching the New Zealand Silver Ferns netball team, coping with intense public scrutiny, challenge employees privately and support publicly, and leading a high performing team as Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand. We also discuss standing out from other graduates at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the impact of the Tanya Dalton Foundation, an internal review following the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and resetting the body and mind by taking family vacations to her kiwi batch at the beach.

Jennie Wyllie

Jennie Wyllie is a wonderful leader who has navigated some major transformations in a short period of time. In her current role of Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand, she has led the implementation of the ‘Whole of Netball Plan’ strategy, has managed the move back to a domestic elite competition and is using all her experience to implement the recommendations following a recent independent review into the National team.

She went to Pakuranga College in New Zealand, before completing a Bachelor of Commerce specialising in Accounting and Tax, from the University of Auckland. Today’s guest has also completed an Institute of Directors Companies Director Course, is a certified New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountant and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies at the University of Waikato.

Her career began in accounting and finance with roles, in New Zealand and the UK, at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Discovery Networks, GlaxoSmithKline, Orange and Telecom New Zealand. While at Telecom New Zealand she spent time as a Next Generation Marketing Offers Lead before returning to finance as Head of Finance, Strategy and Services at Netball New Zealand.

Jennie talks about:

  • What is your differentiator – ‘just be me”
  • Being able to relate to everyone from the CEO and Board down to the receptionist.
  • Being an authentic leader – I am, what I am.
  • To be high performing you need to wrap yourself with experts in the field.
  • Balancing working in the business versus working on the business is a major challenge.
  • Coping with the intense public scrutiny, especially when the team may not be playing well.
  • The independent review of the unsuccessful 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver Ferns.
  • If you are not living the values of the team, who is going to hold you to account.
  • Balancing a focus on participation versus the elite side of the sport.
  • Recognising all the hard work that volunteers do in the netball community.
  • Ensuring that the health and wellness of our coaches and employees are being looked after.
  • Coaches challenges are not so much different to the athletes.
  • “How do we support our female coaches?” because they are different from the men coaches.
  • We encourage staff to stay active including a wellness day, where it is all tools down.
  • Requiring a growth mindset in sport as it reinvigorates you to go for that next challenge.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

It’s Not About You! – You are here to SERVE, You are here to CONTRIBUTE and you are here to make a DIFFERENCE. As a leader you have to let go of the ego and make sure that everything that happens is about the team, is there for them and they can shine every single day.


“Weird natural high, a buzz, for me that’s when I know that things are clicking, you come up with ideas, you interact with people and bounce ideas off without fears of reprisal. That’s when I know!” Jennie Wyllie explaining her peak state of mind on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“With an intense public scrutiny comes a level of engagement and ownership they have with the team… You have to back yourself to make good decisions, and be able to stand behind your choices and the decisions you make. ” Jennie Wyllie talks about coping with public scrutiny on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“In high performance the environment for athletes is inherently unsafe. You can be selected or not selected at any one time. But for a high performing team you need to feel safe, vulnerable to share your strengths and weaknesses.” The high performance environment conundrum, with Jennie Wyllie, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Jennie Wyllie LinkedIn
Netball NZ
Netball NZ
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercole

active CEO POdcast Craig Phillips (Commonwealth Games Australia) – The Games Shaper

active CEO Podcast #40 Craig Phillips The Games Shaper

Craig Phillips – CEO Commonwealth Games Australia

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Craig Phillips the CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia about the success of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; leading in the sports industry; the importance of volunteers; and why females bring a different game to sports leadership, coaching and high performance. We take a deep dive into bringing world-class athletes and teams together in an Olympic team environment; the pioneering days of professional sport management; leading an active and healthy lifestyle; and the legacy of international sporting events.

Craig Phillips

Craig Phillips is the most capped Australian Olympic Committee Team official in Australian sporting history. With more than 35 years experience in the sports industry, he has been involved in the successful planning, management & leadership of 12 Australian Olympic (Summer & Winter) Teams between 1992 and 2014.

His education involved earning a Diploma of Teaching in Physical Education from the Australian College of Physical Education, and a MBA in Sports Management from the Southern Cross University. He is internationally recognised expert in strategic, team and event planning, and has a wealth of experience in sport program design, policy development, governance and integrity.

After eight years working in the New South Wales Department of Sport and Recreation, Craig has had an illustrious 24 years as the Technical Director, Director of Sport and Secretary General of the Australian Olympic Committee. Most recently he led the highly successful 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Craig is the current CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia and the recipient of the 2018 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Sports Performance Award For Leadership.

Craig talks about:

  • Going to South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League team games with his dad.
  • Playing rugby league, swimming, water polo and modern pentathlon as a child.
  • Starting his career with the NSW Office of Sport & Recreation.
  • Parked his sporting ambitions to volunteer with Modern Pentathlon
  • Seismic changes in sport with the creation of the Australian Institute of Sport, considerable funding in sport in the 1980’s and then the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
  • His greatest sporting moments in being involved in 12 Olympic Games campaigns, while working at the Australian Olympic Committee,
  • Helping Steven Bradbury fix his boot before winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games.
  • Driving Grant Hackett to training in a golf cart at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
  • What’s involved in planning an Olympic Games campaign for Team Australia.  
  • Seeing coaching as actually a legitimate career path without being a great athlete.
  • Why the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was so successful.
  • A greater sense of community on the Gold Coast and the flow on effect of the Games.
  • There needs to be a greater focus on the mental health of coaches and sport managers.
  • Athlete engagement and wellbeing post their career.
  • How he looks after his health and wellness.
  • Creating international sports structures that are done in such a way that don’t lend itself to abuse in the system.
  • Why Ian Chesterman AM and Craig McLatchey AO had the greatest influence on his career.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Learning – The first stage of learning is absolute silence. The second stage is listening to what people are saying. Absorbing what they say and how they are saying it, so you have a better understanding of what they are expressing.


“You have got to be really careful with knowledge and experience that you don’t let arrogance grow. You shouldn’t ever believe that you have got all the answers. You have got to be a good listener and bring in other people with expertise who give you the answers.” Craig Phillips provides important advice for sport leaders, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“The volunteer is still a very much an important part of sport industry. If we started to pull back on the contribution of volunteers, sport will start to die. ” Craig Phillips talks about the importance of volunteers in sport, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“When you do get everyone hitting in the same direction and singing off the same sheet it is very rewarding.” Preparing an Olympic Games environment that produces gold medals, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Craig Phillips LinkedIn
Commonwealth Games Australia
Commonwealth Games Australia LinkedIn
2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
Australian Olympic Committee
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercole