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Volume 6 No. 214

People and Pop Culture

CLARE BRIEGAL joined the Int’l Netball Federation as interim CEO in September and was named to the permanent CEO position in February. Briegal came to the INF after working in sales marketing and general management roles at ICI Acrylics and Twyford Bathrooms. She spoke with SBD Global about switching career paths and her goals for increasing netball’s worldwide exposure.

On leaving the commercial and marketing sector …
: Most of my career has been in manufacturing products and commercial sales marketing. Then I took a rethink and realized that I spend all my spare time in sports. I played netball in school and my other sport is rowing. I’m an umpire and competitor and a coach in that. I just thought it’s about time I combined my career with my passion -- which is sport. I took on the role as interim CEO here at the International Netball Federation, which was to cover for a maternity leave. I had been doing some interim work, so I was an experienced interim. I thought, if I’m going to target sport, then I can go in as an experienced interim. I knew the sport, obviously, even though I wasn’t active in the sport. But it was all about transferable skills.

On transferable skills …
: One of the first tasks I worked on was rebranding the INF itself. It used to be known as IFNA [Int’l Federation of Netball Associations]. In my first period here, I was actually delivering a change to the brand image, which was the starting point to a bigger communication program. So that was straight into my comfort zone, quite frankly. I was also on the board of a local hospital. I was a non-exec director there. So I’d learned a lot from that about governance. And that’s something that’s really critical in terms of an international federation. So I was able to transfer those skills.

On her biggest challenge at the INF …
: I was used to coming in to companies and hitting the ground quickly. So it was really about coming in, identifying and building those relationships with the key stakeholders. In an international federation, that’s the member organizations -- the board of directors. So [the challenge] was making sure that I was addressing their needs and understanding what they were looking for. When you come in as an interim, obviously, you’re delivering the immediate plan, not changing plans, not necessarily. My role as interim was about managing status quo and making sure that the strategic plan -- a game plan as it’s known -- was delivered for the INF.

On her biggest professional risk …
: Probably the sector change. I’m not averse to risk-taking, quite frankly. I enjoy the challenge and the change. Coming into a new environment, you think you’ve got transferable skills. Obviously you’ve sold those to whoever you’re working with as an interim or as a permanent role in an interview situation. It’s about making sure that you demonstrate that those skills are transferable.

On boosting netball’s exposure …
: In New Zealand, netball is the No. 2 sport televised. So we know it can happen. It’s right there after rugby, so we know there is an interest. Men and women watch it, so it has primetime television appeal. The starting point is to get the message out to those audiences that it’s interesting to watch. My biggest priority as chief exec is working with the board and the national federations to increase the exposure of the sport across the world using our television partners. That can drive all sorts of interesting sponsorship opportunities. The networks we use are Sky Sports, SuperSport in Africa, ESPN and Sky in New Zealand. At the moment, we’re thinking ahead for our World Cup, which is in 2015 in Sydney. We have our qualifiers this summer, in the five regions, and we’re working on how we can sell the TV rights to those -- not just television, though. Online streaming is really important for us because our target audience is women ages 18-24 and they use online media a lot. So being able to live stream matches works particularly well. We had our world youth netball championships in Glasgow last year and all those games were streamed live. There were people watching it in the Cook Islands, in the Caribbean and Africa. Most of our target audience, they’re not all in areas where they can access television, so the Internet is really important.

ITV anchor ADRIAN CHILES has been voted the "most gaffe-prone football pundit this season," according to James Orr of the London INDEPENDENT. He had "not one, but two ill-advised quips in a list of the top 10 most embarrassing football pundit gaffes this season." The poll was conducted by fantasy football firm Chiles said of the "perils of upsetting" Polish fans, "I'm trying to get some building work done at the moment, quite seriously. Be careful." He also promised anyone watching EPL Fulham's FA Cup replay with Sheffield a "crisp five pound note," saying, "If you're still watching, write in and we'll send you a fiver each." Plenty "of people took him up on his offer." While Chiles was the "only name to have two clangers in the poll," Sky Sports' MATT LE TISSIER took the "top honour of the biggest gaffe of the season with this humdinger of a prediction regarding the Premier League title race." Le Tissier said, "Who'll win the league? It's a coin toss between three of them" (INDEPENDENT, 4/10). Here is a link to the poll's full results.

Former London 2012 and Eurostar marketer GREG NUGENT has joined exec search firm The Talent Business in an exec advisory role. Nugent, who was director of brand, marketing and culture at London 2012, will provide "strategic advice" on the subject of global expansion to the board at The Talent Business. Prior to joining the London 2012 team, Nugent "was marketing director at Eurostar" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 4/10). ... Tennis Channel named Asian pop culture TV channel Mnet America CEO ADAM WARE to the newly created position of Senior VP & Head of Digital Media (Tennis Channel).

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Atlético Mineiro footballer RONALDINHO's charity, the Instituto Ronaldinho Gaúcho, is being investigated on suspicion of embezzling funds provided by the local government. The "amount Ronaldinho may have embezzled could reach $725,000." The "money was intended to help various social projects in Porto Alegre." The three projects "being investigated involved centers for underprivileged children" -- the charity's total contract was worth around $2.4M, but "some of those funds disappeared" (EFE, 4/10). ... Former Indian cricketer SACHIN TENDULKAR has "become the source of hope for some young sports enthusiasts, this time from football, in Kerala." A group of 16 young football fans, under the banner of World Malayalee Football Fans Association, "has begun a social media campaign in favour of Tendulkar bidding for Kochi franchise in the Indian Super League football tournament, scheduled to be held in September-October" (PTI, 4/10). ... Chelsea Manager JOSE MOURINHO has been fined £8,000 ($13,400) and "warned about his future conduct" after being sent off during Chelsea's 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in March. He "denied an improper conduct charge but it was proven at a personal hearing with an independent regulatory commission on Wednesday" (BBC, 4/10). ... British Olympic Association Chair SEBASTIAN COE indicated that he will seek the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations presidency next year. LAMINE DIACK, 80, will step down in '15 "after 16 years in charge of the body that governs world athletics." Coe: "I will have to think long and hard about it. It's my sport and it's the basis of everything I've ever done, so why wouldn't I want to take that role?" (BBC, 4/10).

Sydney Morning Herald's DOMINIC BOSSI: "Question has to be asked; is Diego Simeone the best coach in Europe at the moment?"

The PA's SIMON PEACH: "Good grief applying for a US visa is hard work. Amazed at question 'have you ever engaged in the recruitment or the use of child soldiers?'"

NBC's NICK ZACCARDI: "If Asafa Powell's 18-month suspension is backdated to June 2013, does that wipe out his 9.88 from July 2013?"

NBA San Antonio Spurs player MANU GINOBILI: "No clue how it happened but thank you guys for the award! HoopsHype - Manu Ginobili is the NBA's Tweeter of the Year."

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