CLUBLINKSINIAN CHAT - TROY WALKER
A country kid at heart, Precinct Manager for the newly built Narrandjeri Stadium (and soon to take over the Darebin Community Sports Centre), Troy Walker has garnered a CV more closely reminiscent of someone twice his age.
From Wangaratta in country Victoria to the bright lights of London and back to Melbourne – Troy’s illustrious career has seen him working for large scale operations across the world. A strong relationship with key Clublinks contacts in Tom Zappulla and Anthony Edgar, coupled with a keenness to join an organisation that his peers couldn’t stop cheerleading, meant that when the Precinct Manager for Darebin position came up, Troy jumped at the chance.
A love of sport and passion to eventually work in the sport and rec industry, Troy remembers even from an early age that being a part of a team and playing a sport wasn’t just about the game itself.
“Playing sport in a small town especially, it was always about that sense of community and friendship and making connections – the sport itself was almost secondary. That’s what I loved so much.”
With initial ambition to become a PE teacher, it was wise words from Troy’s parents that steered him in a slightly different direction after suggesting he test his passion by working a school holiday program at the local sport and rec centre first.
“Mum and Dad highlighted that I hadn’t spent a lot of time around kids before, so why not work a school holiday program first before committing to uni. I lasted two days!”
With a renewed focus on what he wasn’t interested in doing, but with the passion for sport and rec still very strong – management of facilities was where Troy concentrated his efforts next.
Having quickly worked his way up to Venue Manager of the local sporting facility, Troy realised that perhaps his ambitious spirit meant he had outgrown his hometown – so decided to push himself outside of his comfort and familiarity and uprooted to a life in London.
Troy quickly found the interview process for a role in a large-scale fitness organisation, quite refreshing and takes key learnings from his first interview, into his recruitment responsibilities today.
“I’m sitting in a café waiting, all dressed up, and the general manager just comes up and sits down and we just start having a chat. Super informal, just talking about life, where I come from, what I’ve done and I’m sitting there this whole time wondering when the interview will start. When am I going to be taken into a formal room?
We get to the end of the conversation and he says they’ll be in touch and I leave thinking I’ve completely botched that… yet a few days later, I’m offered a better job than the one I went in to interview for!
I now understand how much of an importance that GM placed on personality and cultural fit, as on paper I could clearly do the job. I utilise this same informal process to get to know candidates, in my recruitment process today. It was a great lesson in recruiting for success.”
With life in Australia beckoning him home, Troy soon ventured back to familiar shores and took up various roles in the Melbourne area with a focus on strategic leadership, bolstered by his recent experience aboard.
When Clublinks successfully attained the management contract for the two Darebin stadiums, Troy was an obvious choice for precinct manager given his wealth of experience and easy fit within the Clublinksinian culture.
“The job aside or what you do aside, it’s about the people you work with in the organisation you’re with. Me as a 25-year-old heading to the UK, my priorities were completely different – they were all about how do I get up the ladder, how can I do this or that.
But now, it’s about what makes me happy, what is going to make me fulfilled, what is going to make me a good husband and good Dad. I need to be happy to roll in on Monday and happy for me means being around great people.”
When Troy isn’t managing the newly opened Narrandjeri Stadium (and soon to take over the Darebin Community Sports Centre in July), he is Dad to two boys – Pat (5yrs) and Oliver (7yrs) and supported by wife Eliza.
When asked what advice he would give to his 25-year-old self when he was about to embark on a life overseas, Troy easily answers “enjoy the moment a little bit!”
“I would just take it in a lot more. I’d probably enjoy myself more. Things are going to be fine – you’re going to get there and enjoy the ride.”