Adam Kelly is the General Manager Football at SANFL (formerly South Australian National Football League).
Since completing his undergraduate studies, Adam studied to become a Certified Practicing Accountant, completed a Masters in Sports Management, has completed short courses at Harvard Business School, Melbourne Business School and Latrobe University along with numerous seminars and conferences.
Adam starts the day with sport, every weekday, consuming sports radio for the first few hours of his morning and follows news stories regarding the industry throughout the day. He stresses the importance of immersing yourself in the industry, to understand current trends, and keep up-to-date.
“I engage with colleagues across Australia, sharing experiences and breaking news – my network is diverse, which keeps me ahead of the trend in business and sports management. Alongside this, to help broaden my thinking, and further develop my knowledge, I follow a number of podcasts and read lots of books, more often than not, they have been recommended to me by people in my network.”
What else do you do outside of work?
As a father of three, I love spending time with my children, 15, 13, 10, watching them grow and enjoy their own sport. When time permits, albeit infrequently, I also like to have a round of golf. By getting outdoors and being active with the family, whenever there is collective downtime, means that we can share this special time together, something I am passionate about.
A typical week will also see me run 3 to 4 times per week to clear the mind (yes, I get grumpy when I don’t!).
It’s important for me to achieve an effective work-life balance, and I aim to be conscious of this – placing high importance on my competing priorities: family, work, health and community. Whilst I accept that some areas will always be getting more investment than others, I try to always put my best foot forward. Recently having to give up my regular volunteering at St Vincent de Paul society, due to conflicting deadlines, I am currently looking for the next opportunity to invest, and give back to the community.
What was the best piece of career (or life) advice that you received?
My grandfather used to often say a job worth doing is a job worth doing well. To me it speaks to effort, standards and quality, and personal pride in what you are doing.
The second comes from my Pop – it is always nice to meet nice people! This taught me to acknowledge the good people that you get to interact with and let them know that they are appreciated and to example this in my interactions with others.
Finally, don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions. My first employer challenged me with this statement early in my working career and it has stuck with me throughout. On balance, I think it is harder to find solutions people and that makes them really valuable when you find them.
What tips would you give to graduates looking to make their mark in the industry?
Torrens has a partnership with SANFL, so it’s great to see how we can benefit the students. From internship opportunities to collaborative course content – we help integrate professional sport experience into the Torrens business program – which is critical for students in shaping their careers.
Being passionate about sport is a great prerequisite for a career in the industry but passion alone won’t make you employable. You need to bring skills that can only be developed through education and experience. Invest in your education, avail yourself to experiences, and build a career plan, even though it will most likely deviate along way, and don’t forget to have fun. We wouldn’t want your passion for sport to turn into just a job!
“Torrens has a partnership with SANFL, so it’s wonderful to see how we can benefit the students. From internship opportunities to collaborative course content – we help integrate professional sport experience into the Torrens business program – which is critical for students in shaping their careers.”
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