🏟 Goals, routines, influences & career decisions from the TGI Sport GM of Partnerships
What makes Antonia Beggs an elite operator in the sports industry?
Hey, I’m Reuben and welcome to another edition of SportsGrad Pro - the newsletter here to help Young Professionals in the sports industry level up and become the best they can be.
Anti and I crossed paths at Cricket Australia (yes I have gone back to the CA well - too many good people to share with you!) I reached out to meet with Anti almost as soon as I joined CA because I loved the sound of her role (Head of Fan Experience) and immediately I saw she was a purpose-driven person. Soon she became my Acting EGM in Commercial, and luckily put me in charge of the level 4 seating plan! This meant when a new secondee by the name of Ryan Walker was joining, I placed him next to me and the rest is history. What I’m saying is we have Anti to thank for SportsGrad.
Anyway, you’re going to love this, enjoy!
Can you explain a bit about your career background and your current role?
I’ve been working for 20 years now. I was always headed towards the law or banking but after a couple of years in banking realised that my heart was in sports. And I was young enough to start from the very beginning in sport and work my way up.
In 2001 as a woman it was quite a challenging time to get into sports – but I sneaked in as a secretary and eventually got to the role of Staging Director for the Ryder Cup, Championship Director for the Irish Open and then Head of Partnerships. The travel was pretty punishing and with a young family, we chose a life change by moving to Melbourne and I took up a role as Head of Fan Experience & Partnerships at Cricket Australia.
After an incredible 4 years, covid borders took their toll and we moved back to the UK to be closer to our family and friends. I’d worked with TLA/TGI in Australia and found them to be a brilliant agency with a culture that I loved – and luckily they brought me on to help grow their business in the UK & Europe as GM of the Partnerships Team.
If you had complete control of your day, how would you structure it?
That’s a great question! Can I eliminate the commute time – at present it’s 2 hours each way! Without the commute then:
Wake up early (before the kids) and do the early calls to our Australian team. Then 30 minutes focus on actions for the day and admin emails.
Take a break to take kids to school and walk the dog and then start on the big project of the day. I work way better in the morning so when I need brain power and thinking I like to do this before midday.
The afternoon is for meetings and generic email responses to move forward the work that I’ve done in the morning.
Evening is picking up the kids from school and walking the dog again. Then back for another 30 minutes of work to wrap up thoughts and set intentions for the next day.
In short – do the hard work early- and then the routine in the afternoon 😊
My luxury would be to meet a colleague or work contact for breakfast 2-3 times a week just to share and catch up – I love that. I probably manage it once a week at the moment.
You made a career change from Investment Banking to sport, what did your decision-making process look like?
To be honest I hadn’t really begun my career in banking – it was very early days – although it was something that had been assumed since I was about 13! I had always wanted to work in sport – I just didn’t know about any of the opportunities and I couldn’t articulate what I wanted to do within it.
I also knew that banking wasn’t the career for me – despite a healthy interest in economics and the commercial side of things. It was as ever a bit of luck and right place and right time for me. I was asked by my boyfriend at the time to ask a friend of mine who worked at the European Tour if there were any jobs at all – and she said there was nothing – apart from her job as a secretary (she was leaving to go to Law School). The ex-boyfriend didn’t fancy it so I thought I might have a crack at it – and that’s how it happened.
I had to learn how to touch type, make good tea and generally be invisible in meetings – but from my first day I loved it. I was home. It was a risk. A considerable drop in earnings and salary – but I knew that being in the industry I loved would open up way more opportunities for me, than being in an industry where I felt I didn’t fit. And fortunately it was a risk that paid off.
Explain your approach to personal and professional goal setting. What does this look like for you?
I have always tried to keep my goals as simple as possible. And a mixture of personal and professional – luckily working in an industry that I genuinely care about they do sort of merge together. Early on in my career my goals were pretty simple – work hard, say yes to everything, learn and be curious and make a difference.
Once you get to management level, things change and become a lot more focussed on your team and enabling them to be at their best. At Cricket Australia I was lucky enough to work with two amazing people – Chris Rubick and Ben Crowe. Chris gave me such great insight on establishing a platform to enable those around you to thrive – and then I was lucky enough to work with Ben Crowe on The Connection Project.
Part of our reading was a book called True North by Bill George. It seemed to verbalise the ad hoc way I’d been setting goals in the past – and now the book itself is something I turn to time and time again. The entire focus is really around goal setting i.e. finding your True North. And he helps you divide up our life into 4 buckets – and you look at how you keep those buckets nearer full than empty.
My goals are focussed all around these 4 buckets and every quarter I review how they are looking – when one is looking empty I work at ways to redress this. I would recommend anyone looking for guidance and purpose then True North is the book for you – thanks Chris, Bill & Ben 😊
If you had to put your success down to 1 or 2 things that helped you receive consistent promotions, what would they be?
Reuben note: Over 13 years at the European Tour, Anti started as the Secretary and progressed to Championship Director and then Head of Partnerships.
Genuinely it’s about being proactive and saying yes. I had zero experience in golf or in event management. But I knew that I loved sport and being part of a team. And that’s all about getting stuck in, listening to instructions, learning and being curious. I tried my hardest not to be entitled (although I’m sure that I was at times!!) and I also learnt to appreciate how my bosses needed to do their job better – and so I worked at how I could help them do this as well as bring the people around me on the journey.
What have you carried with you from your Investment Banking career that you think gives you an extra string to your bow in sport that perhaps others may not have?
I’m not sure – but at the beginning it was gratitude. And still is. It taught me that it wasn’t the place for me to thrive – and gave me the strength to move to a different industry. And I am so thankful that I moved – and that gratitude helps me be more optimistic than I may normally be. It also taught me a lot in the commercial space – valuation/analysis/the importance of data and fact – and even though sometimes partnerships can be a “grey” space – the importance of data has always stuck with me. Banking also allows you to be curious and come up with new ideas or ways to do things. Sport can be quite traditional in it’s thinking. And I like to sometimes challenge that 😊
On the flipside, what things or ways of working have you had to unlearn or leave behind in Investment Banking to help your career in sport?
That’s a tough one. If I had to say anything it would be about me personally. Lack of self-confidence I would say. As I didn’t really fit in the banking world, it definitely affected my own self-confidence. And sometimes when I’ve been in a situation in my career where I’ve felt that I haven’t really fit the self-confidence wobbles have come back. And that’s why True North has been such a great help – and the work with Ben Crowe. It has helped me lean into the self-confidence worries and overcome them through focussing on my 4 buckets.
You’re good friends with Ben Crowe, what influence has he made to your career? Is there a favourite quote or tool he’s introduced you to?
I’ve only just seen this question! Well you can see that I’ve mentioned him quite a few times already. Ben talks about crucible moments – and the irony is that the work that Cricket Australia enabled me to do with him was a crucible moment in itself. I remember when Anthony Everard introduced Ben to our senior leadership team to discuss the power of storytelling – at this stage it wasn’t about our own personal development but how we connected with the fan after the Cape Town situation – and I was blown away.
It just made me smile and feel so grateful that I worked in sport and could have these discussions for a living. And be living. It was brilliant. Then we were supported to do work with Ben on The Connection Project which was more about our own selves and leadership style. And luckily I have been fortunate to stay in touch with Ben. The best tool as I’ve already said is True North. And so many favourite quotes – I couldn’t do them justice. You need to join Mojo Crowe and that’s where you’ll find the gold 😊
Ben Crowe & Antonia Beggs
If you could buy everyone in your team one book to help them with their career, what book would you gift?
This will come as no surprise: True North 😊
I promise there are loads of other amazing books – and I read and listen to podcasts loads. It’s just this one helps not just with the career – it’s about life as well and it brings them together – which is something I love.
Finally, if you could read the work habits, routines and approaches of one person in the sports industry, who would that be?
Oh that’s such a hard question. There are just so many brilliant people out there. And also there are some amazing operators who have moved out of the sports industry. However, I would love to read about Steph Rudnick.
Her work on Women’s football in the US and her power to connect others for good is just phenomenal. And she’s super bright. I am sad I never got to work with her – and ironically now our companies compete in some areas – but I will always support whatever she does as she’s a true trailblazer.
Got a workmate who needs to read this?
Make their day and hit ‘forward’ 📩
And if you want help with something work-related, hit reply and let me know! We can cover it in a future blog.
Go get em’,