Dion Haddad has kick-started her career as Competitions & Innovation Coordinator at QRL. More than a workplace, she’s found a community here. Dion gives 100% to everything she does - and in 2020, her efforts prompted the creation of a new category in our annual awards ceremony: the Maroon Backbone Award.
Building a career with the number one sport in Queensland
Dion has been part of the Rugby League community since 2006. What began as watching and cheering from the sidelines of her brother’s games soon became a major part of her life; she picked up a whistle and started refereeing. From officiating matches to volunteering at the barbeque tent, her involvement in Rugby League inspired her to study Sport and Event Management at university.
“It was natural for me to translate my love for the game into a career. I feel equally at home in an office or out on the field - so I thought the behind-the-scenes work would be something I’d enjoy.”
Now, Dion is our talented Competitions and Innovation Coordinator, and is kicking goals at each step of her career. She coordinates and appoints ground managers, interchange officials, and game day doctors - supporting them to manage Rugby League games from Tweed Heads to Cairns.
Dion also works on a variety of projects behind the scenes. She’s currently on a committee to develop the Competition and Participant Membership System MySideline, as well as the Smartabase system. The goal? To help streamline communications and processes within the organisation.
“The diversity of the role was a huge drawcard for me. At Queensland Rugby League, you’ll pick up anything and everything. But that’s what I love about it - no day is the same.”
Dion started building her resume while she was still at university, volunteering in support roles with sporting events like the Gold Coast Marathon and the Pan Pacific Masters Games. After graduating in 2015, she started working for Rugby League Gold Coast, then became part of Queensland Rugby League in 2019. She says the professional development she’s experienced in her first five years has really helped her launch her career.
“We’re constantly growing our professional skills at QRL, and we’re provided with funding for learning and development to support this. It’s self-driven by each individual - I decided to focus on my management abilities, so I’m currently undertaking a few leadership courses. There are opportunities here for anyone who has the drive to seek them out.”
Dion’s natural leadership capabilities were quickly noticed at QRL. She’s been supported to take on higher responsibilities, and her passion and skill are shining through. She now manages about 80 volunteers across the state, and is excited to grow her career alongside QRL’s evolution.
For the love of community, and a passion for the game
Dion has a natural affinity for people. She can strike up a conversation with ease, with any of our volunteers. She says she loves the variety of her role - although flexibility is a must-have quality.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge... it’s just something you need to understand and appreciate when coming into this role. Our volunteers are giving up their own time. They might be working a 9 to 5 job, then volunteering from 6 to 10 at night. If they need to contact me after hours, I need to create the flexibility in my role to support that.”
Dion’s love for the game and support from her team mean she’s flourishing in a role that can otherwise be demanding. And she believes her colleagues feel the same.
“Throughout our organisation, we’re united by our passion for the game. Whether you’re in accounting, marketing, or out there on the field on game day; you want to be there.”
“The Maroon Backbone”
Since joining QRL, Dion has proven time and again her invaluable skills in bringing together Queenslanders to engage in a game we all love. And in 2020, her contributions to championing QRL were recognised by her colleagues and friends.
Each year, QRL holds an Awards Ceremony to celebrate the achievements and passion of our staff. Four of the awards categories pertain to four of our key beliefs: we are positive, we are united, we are inclusive, and we are disciplined. Dion was nominated across every single one.
In response, a new award was created to reflect the embodiment of all of our values. It’s called: the Maroon Backbone Award. Dion was awarded for her willingness to volunteer for any task or project that arose, always with a smile on her face.
“It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that you’re appreciated by the people around you. But I don’t do it for the accolades. I do it because I love what I do. If I can give a player, parent, or anyone involved in the game a positive experience, and they remain a part of the rugby league community - that’s my ultimate goal.”
Looking to kick-start your career with Queensland Rugby League? Explore open positions now.