My Career Story: Kit McConnell (Head of Rugby World Cup and RWC Tournament Director)
Current role: Head of Rugby World Cup and RWC Tournament Director, International Rugby Board
Manager, Sport Operations, International Olympic Committee
Manager, Sport Competition, Sydney 2000 Organising Committee
Education: (University/Masters, courses, if applicable)
Master of Business Studies (first class honours), Massey University (New Zealand)
Bachelor of Arts (history and politics), Auckland University (New Zealand)
Date of Birth: February 22, 1973
GlobalSportsJobs: When was your big break in your career?
Kit McConnell: “In 1996 I was completing my Masters thesis in New Zealand and contacted a range of organisations regarding potential internships. The IOC responded within an opportunity and I ended up spending six years in the Olympic Movement in both Lausanne and Sydney. It was an incredible opportunity and opened the door to a career in sport and event management.”
GlobalSportsJobs: What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?
KM: “People make events.”
GlobalSportsJobs: What was the biggest challenge or your most difficult decision of your career so far?
KM: “Moving the planned RWC 2011 matches from Christchurch last year following the earthquake there. It was incredibly challenging only six months out from a major event but more importantly incredibly hard in an environment of such human loss and the challenges to rebuild lives in the city which are still continuing.”
GlobalSportsJobs: What was the biggest challenge in terms of recruitment for the 2011 Rugby World Cup?
KM: “Maximising the knowledge and experience from other major events, particularly with so much experience coming from London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and other events.”
GlobalSportsJobs: Looking ahead to Rugby World Cup 2015, how is the recruitment challenge going to be different than at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand?
KM: “Besides the obvious differences in population and event experience, we have a wonderful chance to build on RWC 2011 and make RWC 2015 a special event which captures the imagination of the whole United Kingdom. We need the right people to turn that vision into a reality.”
GlobalSportsJobs: What is the split between temporary and full-time staff at the Rugby World Cup? Does it differ from tournament to tournament?
KM: “The numbers of long-term staff grow as RWC planning grows in size and complexity. With RWC 2019 already awarded to Japan there are chances for long-term engagements with one of the world’s largest events.”
GlobalSportsJobs: What are the key traits you look for in a candidate for a job involved in the Rugby World Cup?
KM: “Enthusiasm, attitude and experience. RWC is still on a major growth curve and RWC 2015 will strengthen its position as one of the world’s largest sports events. While not yet the size of the Olympic Games or Fifa World Cup, each member of the team can have a tangible impact on delivery and standard of the event.”
GlobalSportsJobs: Rugby union is an increasingly international sport, and the Rugby World Cup will be going to some exciting new markets in the future. Is it increasingly important for a candidate for a role to be able to speak more than one language?
KM: “The growth of the Rugby World Cup has provided the International Rugby Board with the funds and global promotion needed to make rugby a truly global sport. The decision to include Sevens in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games is already having major impacts on further growth. With RWC 2019 in Japan there is certainly an international dimension to the next decade of world rugby and this needs to be reflected in the people working on our major events.
GlobalSportsJobs: What would be your ideal job?
KM: “I think I’ve already got it but there is always the desire for learning and growing.”