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

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.

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
  • 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
  • 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.

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

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