Inclusivity and diversity are essential for us as a game.
Within the Queensland Rugby League, it is also essential that we not only recognise the importance of this externally and push it through our clubs, communities, and leagues, but that we constantly work on this internally.
This work is always ongoing but it was recently highlighted at our annual employee conference last week, when colleagues from all corners of our state came together for two days to learn and grow as a business.
Now, I’ve been in this business for 13 years and I can easily say it was the best and most engaging conference I have been to, and it is one that will not only benefit QRL employees, but how we operate moving forward as a whole.
Throughout the conference we had a number of keynote speakers and they were simply amazing.
We were honoured to listen to the stories of Uncle Gabriel Bani from the Torres Strait (main image); Jason Garrick, who is a member of the QRL’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and an inclusion in sports advocate; Paralympic swimmer Karni Liddell; and Tony Wilson from the Performance Lab.
They all talked for over an hour each and not one person in the crowd spoke a word. On multiple occasions, I was stunned by how engrossed everyone from the QRL was.
They spoke around culture, inclusivity, diversity, the need for hard conversations, the need for change, and much more.
There was passion, truth telling and vulnerability.
Some of it was funny, some of it was confronting and deep, but overall it brought out a lot of emotions in everyone.
If you didn’t learn something about yourself, the organisation, and where we’re going and should be going, then you missed the boat.
Already I’ve taken some of what I learnt to help me continue to build out the QRL’s inclusivity strategy.
As Uncle Gabriel said, culture helps us create our boundaries and it frames our identity. The heart of culture is our values and beliefs.
At the QRL, we have four strong beliefs and being an inclusive game is a key one.
Through this conference and our speakers, we were given some learnings and tools to take our game forward.
It taught us to have a good look inside ourselves and our organisation as to where we’re going and how we as individuals can help on that journey.
If we can continue to take on board what those four key speakers said, put their words into action and walk the walk, our organisation and game will be stronger for it.
When we can achieve inclusivity and diversity as a game, we’ll be one unit moving forward.