active CEO Podcast Deepthi Bopaiah India's Next olympic Gold GoSports Foundation

active CEO Podcast #69 Deepthi Bopaiah India’s Next Olympic Gold

active CEO Podcast Deepthi Bopaiah India's Next olympic Gold GoSports Foundation
Deepthi Bopaiah – CEO GoSports Foundation

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Deepthi Bopaiah about finding India’s next Olympic Gold Medal, having impact and creating influential change, and transitioning from HSBC to GoSport Foundation. We also dive into the power of India mandating Corporate Social Responsibility, be the change you wish to see, and how to put India consistently on the world sporting map.

This active CEO podcast episode was recorded live at the 2019 Mass Participation World Conference, at the Hilton Hotel, in Singapore.

Deepthi Bopaiah – India’s Next Olympic Gold

Deepthi Bopaiah is a highly determined and visionary young leader from India, who is making waves on the sub-continent with GoSports Foundation, creating an enriched sporting ecosystem, sport for all, and is determined to put India on the sporting map and win Olympic Gold Medals. She is an actor, travel junkie and dog lover, who managed to sweet-talk her way into the Rio Paralympic Games village, and was a fine athlete in her own right, representing Karnataka State in Basketball and Tennis.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce from Mont Carmel College and a MBA Finance & Marketing Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies. Her career has included Assistant Manager, Assistant Vice President Training & Development and Vice President of HSBC in Bangalore. Since 2012, She started out working at GoSports Foundation as a Communications Director and Marketing Director, and since 2016, is the Executive Director.

Deepthi talks about:

  • Growing up in Bangalore and living in a country of 1.3 Billion people.
  • Having a dream that has impact, where you could influence change.
  • Why Steffi Graf was her role model as a child.
  • The rise of the female athlete in India and sport teaching you life lessons.
  • Taking the initiative to approach Walt Disney India for an internship
  • The biggest lesson learnt while working at HSBC.
  • You can only get people to invest if they see that you are doing it.
  • The catalyst and focus for GoSport Foundation
  • Rahul Dravid mentoring program to help athletes transitioning to elite level.
  • Pullela Gopichand focuses on coaching eco-system model.
  • India’s Next Olympic Gold
  • Breaking the logic of India and women in sport in India.
  • India’s challenges to finding the next Indian Olympic and Paralympic Gold Medalist.
  • Corporate India embracing Sport in their CSR programs.
  • The participation catalyst of four medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
  • Fit India movement and people talking about being more healthy.
  • The value of collaborative leadership.
  • How tennis, pilates and chanting help her bring her A-Game.
  • If you want to get fit do a 10k, if you want to change your life do a marathon.

Active CEO Performance Tip

CEO Companionship – CEO loneliness is a real problem affecting our society. Have you ever felt lonely, isolated and there is no one you can speak to, as a leader? Well, you are not alone! Harvard Business Review reported that 61% of CEO’s feel that loneliness hinders their job performance. The higher you move up the ladder the greater the responsibility, pressure to deliver results, expectation to remain calm and the level of confidentiality, increases. Here are 4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness: Build a Team of Mentors, Create Work-Life Integration, Join a Support Group and Embrace the Inclusivity of Courage and Vulnerability. Take the time to reflect and then recognize how the 4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness can you help you rise up and become a better leader in 2020.  


“You can only get people to invest if they see that you are doing it.” Talking about change and leadership with Deepthi Bopaiah, on the active CEO Podcast.

“When you support a young athlete you support one of them, where f you support a coach you can support a hundred athletes through that one sport.” Deepthi Bopaiah talks about Pullela Gopichand, India National Badminton Coach, approach to coach ecosystems, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Deepthi Bopaiah LinkedIn
Deepthi Bopaiah Twitter
Deepthi Bopaiah Instagram
Go Sports Foundation India
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recent active CEO Podcast Episodes:

#68 – Abraham Kamarck (True Made Foods) – Leadership Lessons From The Sky Link
#67 – Liz Volpe (Ambisie) – Dare to Dream Link
#66 – Bill Coletti (Kith) – Reputational Resilience & Transformation Link
#65 – Todd Greenberg (NRL) More Than A Game Link
#64 – Gabrielle Dow (Green Bay Packers) Green Bay Packers Experience Link
#63 – Charles Fairlie Unsung Business Heroes Link
#62 – Amanda Jacobs (Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron) She Leads With Empathy Link
#61 – Mark Turner (Triathlon Scotland) Coaching Saved My Life Link
#60 – Jennifer Dunham (Happiness Matters) – Pivotal Moments Create Decisions Link
#59 – Tim Oberg (parkrun) – Moving A Nation Link

Amanda Jacobs She Leads With Empathy

active CEO Podcast #62 Amanda Jacobs She Leads With Empathy

Amanda Jacobs She Leads With Empathy
Amanda Jacobs – General Manager Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Amanda Jacobs about She Leads With Empathy, empowering women in sport, working at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the ultimate elevator pitch. We also delve into entrepreneurship and working in corporate life, balancing family life, imposter syndrome and the 3 major ingredients to a successful Olympic Games event.

Amanda Jacobs – She Leads With Empathy

Amanda Jacobs is a champion of great ideas, engaging leadership coach for sport event professionals, and the creator of the ICC Method. She is an empathetic and creative leader, who is passionate about encouraging more women into leadership roles, empowering people through The Event Show Podcast, and spending quality time with her three young children

She has a Bachelor of Creative Arts, Theatre from the University of Wollongong, in Australia, and is a Chisholm Institute certified Trainer and Assessor. Amanda loves being involved in major sporting events with roles as Venue Manager at the 2007 World Swimming Champs in Melbourne, Event Acquisition Manager for the Victorian major Events Company, Head of City Operations Manager at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Strategic Business Management at Limelight Sports.

As a busy entrepreneur, she has founded Like Minds Create, She Leads, The Event School Global,, and in her spare time, she is the General manager of Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron.

Amanda talks about:

  • She Leads with empathy.
  • Following a pathway that she loved.
  • Her first experience with imposter syndrome.
  • The amazing experience of working at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
  • Managing multiple stakeholders under pressure.
  • Taking your own personal objectives out and thinking of the bigger picture.
  • The ultimate Elevator Pitch that led to the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Connecting people with the bigger picture.
  • The Blairgowrie yacht Squadron motto of Family, Friendship & Sailing.
  • Her key leadership strengths of empathy, creativity and collaboration.
  • Having a professional coaching appointment once per month.
  • Empowering women in sport through She Leads.
  • Females not being able to see a visible pathway to leadership.
  • “You’ve got this” through Like Minds Create.
  • Changing habits and restoring some balance in my life.
  • How do we inject more play and creativity on a daily basis?

Active CEO Performance Tip

Your Main Job Is To Develop Talent – Leadership development is a vital ingredient to company or organization success. As a leader your main job is to develop talent. How are you observing and then developing talent within your environment?  Identify, nurture, develop and challenge the talent within your organization and ensure that it is aligned to their internal motivation and purpose.


“Its all about collaboration, getting the most the skillset in that room, creating an ensemble that is high performing, understanding how that theatre show is going to connect best with the audience and a really early insight into what emotional intelligence is, and read peoples emotions and understand why they are making certain decisions.” Amanda Jacob shares her leadership lessons from theatre, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“When I worked out that empathy is what I lead with, that’s when I became the leader I am today, with confidence.” Amanda Jacobs discusses leading with empathy, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Amanda Jacobs
Amanda Jacobs LinkedIn
Amanda Jacobs Twitter
Amanda Jacobs Instagram
Amanda Jacobs Facebook
Like Minds Create
Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

High Performance Leadership

active CEO Podcast #49 Alex Baumann High Performance Leadership

High Performance Leadership

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Alex Baumann about overcoming tragedy to win two Olympic Gold swimming medals, transforming coaches of high performance into high-performing coaches, high performance leadership, and his new role as Chief Strategist High Performance at Swimming Australia. We also dive into being a swimming parent, balancing wellness and performance, the importance of empathy and building trust, and the principles of high performance leadership.

Alex Baumann

Alex Baumann sets very high standards, doesn’t settle for mediocrity, and has a proven record in leading successful teams and sport organisations. He is one of the worlds’ leading sports administrators, International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, husband to Australian swimmer Tracey Taggart and humble sporting parent of two International swimmers.

He was born in Prague Czechoslovakia, however grew up in Canada winning two swimming gold medals and setting two world records at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Alex holds an Honours degree in Political Science from Laurentian University, a Graduate Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Laurentian University.

His career has included working as a sports administrator in Canada, Australia and New Zealand with roles as CEO and Executive Director roles at of Queensland Swimming, Queensland Academy of Sport, Canada’s Road to Excellence Program, Canadian Olympic Committee’s Own the Podium, High Performance Sport New Zealand and is currently the Swimming Australia’s Chief Strategist, High Performance.

Alex talks about:

  • When you have some success early on you want more.
  • Swimming with the Dr. Jeno Tihanyi and the legendary coach James ‘Doc’ Counsilman.
  • Winning the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games 200m IM and 400m IM swimming gold medals in World Record times.
  • Coping with the tragedies of losing both his father and brother.
  • A majority of Gold Medallists have had to deal with some sort of trauma.
  • The pressure of being the current world record holder going into an Olympic Games.
  • Balancing athlete wellbeing and high performance.
  • Transforming coaches of high performance into high-performing coaches.
  • You get the best out of athletes when you can empower them.
  • Winning when it matters to inspire a nation.
  • Embracing pressure, rather than seeing it as a negative.  
  • How Wilma Shakespeare guided his introduction to sports administration.
  • The ability to challenge in a way that doesn’t offend people.
  • The differences in High Performance leadership in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
  • How a CEO or leader balances resources versus being resourceful.
  • Sometimes we get too complex to get that additional 1%.
  • There was not one word of winning in the Swimming Australia High Performance strategy.
  • One of my challenges is ensuring I have enough balance between work and family life.
  • The importance of urgency and the need to react quickly.
  • You have to keep doing new things and reinventing yourself through new things.
  • What drives each individual?
  • Once you think you know it all, you are dead in the water.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Commitment To Excellence – Own where you want to go, constantly work at it, have the discipline to strive for excellence around how you are going to do it and why you are going to do it and make sure you put that plan into action. You need to commit to excellence if you want to be excellent.


“Pressure is a positive thing as ultimately it gets the best out of us. Obviously if there is too much you get stiff, you just cant perform, The negative thoughts come into your mind and the pressure gets to you. Embrace it versus letting it consume you.” Embracing pressure with Alex Baumann, on the active CEO Podcast.

“When I got to the Olympics I had been through it all. You could throw anything at me and I would still be able to perform.” Alex Baumann on overcoming adversity, on the active CEO Podcast.

“I can’t worry about external things. I have to just concentrate on what I have to do. I have done the physical preparation, I am psychologically ready, I’ve competed against all these guys and I have beaten them.” Alex Baumann understanding the pressure of being an Olympian, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Alex Baumann LinkedIn
Alex Baumann Wikipedia
Swimming Australia
International Swimming Hall of Fame Bio
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

Swimming With Alex Baumann: A Program for Competitive and Recreational Swimmers link

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