Football Australia works to ensure it provides the best possible opportunities for National Team players, both during and after their playing days.
The historic Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2019 achieved equality between the men’s and women’s national teams, and with increased remuneration and raised high performance standards, the Westfield Matildas have been allowed to flourish.
However acknowledging that football careers are finite, a similarly significant emphasis has been placed upon supporting and preparing players for their lives beyond football.
In order to achieve this, Football Australia forges partnerships with like-minded organisations who share the values central to its operations.
One of these is Seven Consulting, Australia’s Best Program Delivery Company, whose Founder Declan Boylan is a strong advocate of female development. This is evident in the pathways that Seven Consulting provides for women in project delivery as well as their Women’s Executive Football Invitational Tournament (WEFIT) and sponsorship of the Westfield Matildas.
Seven Consulting also implement this ethos with their Westfield Matildas partnership where they provide players with internships which are geared towards preparing players to one day transition smoothly from the pitch to the boardroom.
Seven recognise that beyond the physical benefits, sports participation has been demonstrated to build the female leaders of tomorrow. In the high pressure of international sport, traits that are transferrable to the business realm are fostered – strong team focus, work ethic, leadership and communication.
As a sponsor since 2017, several Westfield Matildas have undertaken internships with Seven Consulting including Elise Kellond-Knight, Tameka Yallop, Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams.
“The internship is important to me because I’ve completed an MBA and also a Masters in Marketing, but I’m yet to experience any real work experience out in the real world,” Yallop said.
“Seven Consulting always let me put my football first and it’s really given me the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time. My football journey has taken me around the world. It’s also allowed me the time to complete my studies and now make the step into this internship.”
The dedication Yallop has demonstrated in building a decade long international career is evident in how she has embraced her opportunity with Seven Consulting.
With Yallop and her wife Kirsty welcoming a baby girl last year, planning for life after football has taken on a new dimension.
“Being a professional footballer, and also focusing on my career off the field can be very busy at times and also hectic, but at the same time, it’s very rewarding and fulfilling,” she said.
“In my life after football, I’m looking for the next challenge. And I think gaining work experience in such a dynamic and always changing environment will really prepare me for my next challenge.”
Kyah Simon has undertaken administration work for the company and Elise Kellond-Knight has turned her internship into part-time work as she recovers from an ACL injury.
“For me, it’s important to have intellectual stimulation to keep a balanced lifestyle,” Kellond-Knight said.
“I like to constantly learn, and I feel like I’m doing that at Seven Consulting. The internship has given me personal development. It’s been a great experience to be able to be amongst the corporate personnel and be able to learn from them.
“I think it’s given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to access previously. Being able to go into a corporate setup and work with highly experienced personnel is something really unique and something we wouldn’t be able to have access to within our football environment.”
Seven Consulting said that these interns have made an outstanding contributions towards their organisation.
Founder Declan Boylan has witnessed first-hand the transferrable soft skills that grant elite athletes an edge in the corporate world.
“Elise is a born leader and communicator,” he said.
“She’s been working with us at Seven Consulting for about twelve months now. Like Tameka she has worked with six of our client teams and is learning her craft very quickly.
“On top of being an international sports star, Tameka already has a degree and a double Masters. She’s probably the most qualified person in any room she walks into. I don’t know how she fits it all in but obviously she’s a born project manager.”