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Unlikely path to lead the Capras

By Tony Webeck

ISC17_News_TonyWebeck_Round22

Dominique McGregor has a big job at the CQ Capras, but it’s the little things that bring her the greatest pleasure.

Like watching Reece Baker perform an incredible try-saving tackle on former Ipswich flyer Marmin Barba or cross for a try of his own against the Hunters.

It’s watching players interact with the community in and around Rockhampton and how their positive influence can strengthen a club.

McGregor is the only female CEO currently amongst Intrust Super Cup clubs and the first woman to be appointed fulltime to such a position. After a little more than 12 months in the job, there is so much she still wants to achieve.

In accordance with their governance, the Capras are currently advertising for the CEO role, but as someone who came on board in an administrative role with the original CQ NRL bid more than a decade ago, McGregor is heavily invested in seeing the Capras go from strength to strength in the coming years and will be applying to continue what she has started.

Hailing from Rockhampton originally, McGregor spent a number of years in Townsville managing restaurants before returning home to be closer to family after the arrival of her son.

She continued in the hospitality industry until a desire to work more regular hours saw her apply for an administrative job with local building company that led to an opportunity to join the bid team. That saw her take on the position as finance officer for the Capras in 2012 and after four years, was last May appointed as the club's CEO.

“I was just looking to get into admin to get away from hospitality, I didn't really have any grand plans of what I was going to do,” McGregor said of the path that has led her to this point.

“I started as the admin girl and then I slowly became the financial officer … and then that became the financial officer for the Capras as well and it was a progression, gaining the trust of the board and working my way up the organisation.”

Dominique McGregor at the annoucement of the affliation between the Titans and CQ Capras. 

Bringing a business savvy to the position that in a difficult market is so critical to the long-term viability of the Capras, McGregor admitted that it was a steep learning curve; and attending her first CEOs conference at QRL headquarters last year was an intimidating prospect.

“It was a bit daunting walking into the QRL office for my first CEOs meetings and being the only female in the room,” she said. “I don't know any different, so I don't know if I've had struggles that other CEOs haven't had, but no one has said I couldn't do that because I was a girl or anything.”

The professionalism she brings to her role has permeated throughout the club, from the appointment of former premiership-winning coach Kim Williams to the conduct of the club's players in the community.

“She's very professional, very organised and a good person who is always very accommodating to other people and making people feel very welcome at the club,” Capras co-captain Guy Williams said.

“If the front office is operating in a professional manner, then typically that will translate to how the coaching staff operate and how the players conduct themselves.

“Whether it's a combination of Dominique and Kim and the board as well and some of the senior players, the club's reputation perhaps for having a little bit of trouble off the field is all a thing of the past.

“There's a real professional feel at the club now and I'm guessing Dominique is a real driver of that.”

Her time in hospitality gave McGregor grounding in what was to come at a footy club and even though it is Women in League Round this weekend, McGregor will again be at the coalface on game-day.

In addition to the Capras hosting the Blackhawks on Saturday night, the afternoon of footy starts with the Under 10s Capras Cup grand final, followed by local league semi-finals and a women's exhibition game prior to the Intrust Super Cup clash at 7pm.

And like so many women who work in rugby league, McGregor doesn't want any special treatment this weekend; all she wants is for the team to have a win and to move off the bottom of the ladder.

“I was joking that our masseurs should be giving me a massage this weekend instead of the players but that won't be happening,” McGregor said.

“If the boys can have a win I'll sit down and have a beer with them after the game. That will do me.”

Did you know?

Two Magpies players at opposite ends of their careers are within reach of some significant milestones when the Magpies travel to Cairns to take on the Pride. Club legend Phil Dennis will become just the fourth player in Cup history to play 250 games, while youngster Jamayne Isaako requires just 11 more points to surpass Scott Doyle's record of 162 for most points scored for the Magpies in a Cup season.

A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.