An interview with: Kelly Fairweather, Chief Executive, International Hockey Federation (FIH)
Published: 12 Feb 2013
Kelly offers an insight into his career path, from being a student in physical education to now the Chief Executive of the FIH. He argues that candidates need to gain a diverse range of experience in the industry and must accept that sport is not a normal 9-5 job.
GlobalSportsJobs: Please explain who you are, what you do and what your job entails.
Kelly Fairweather: I’m Kelly Fairweather and I’m the Chief Executive of the International Hockey Federation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I've been in acquisition for 20 months.
I'm responsible for delivering the day-to-day operations based on our strategic plan that's been approved by our board and has been running for around 18 months.
GlobalSportsJobs: What career path have you taken to get to where you are today?
KF: A fairly diverse one but most of it has been in sport. I started out as a student in Physical Education. I had to pay my university fees so I started coaching hockey, and later became a full-time coach. I then went on to coach the National team in South Africa. Through that I became a High Performance Director and then had a break to join the IOC in Switzerland where I stayed for nine years. With a brief stint back in South Africa, I went on and joined the World Anti-Doping Agency and then found myself back in my first love which is Hockey.
GlobalSportsJobs: What has been the highlight of your professional business career to date?
KF: It's difficult but obviously working in the Olympic Games is a massive opportunity and I think most would consider that a highlight. Having worked in the Games in different capacities, all of those have been extremely different but also all extremely rewarding. So I think all of those are really highlights.
GlobalSportsJobs: What advice would you give to candidates seeking a career in sport?
KF: If you want to work in sport, the first thing you've got to accept is that it's not a normal job. Sport is 24/7. Sometimes that's tough - a lot of time, a lot of travel on the road and a lot of weekend work. But it's extremely rewarding.
I'd also say you've got to be willing to do everything and anything to take an opportunity. I think that people who have had different experiences will in my view always get an opportunity. When we advertise now, there are so many people qualified for the position but I look for that extra factor. The people skills for me are absolutely critical. The attitude, the motivation - that's what I look for in a candidate.