This week in Melbourne, Directioneering’s Alumni heard about a career defined by passion and tenacity. Chyloe Kurdas, founder of Own Journey Travel, spent much of her career developing women’s football for the AFL. She worked for AFL Victoria as their Female Football Development Manager for almost 10 years, and served as AFL’s Director for the National Female Academy for four years.
Kurdas was five years old when she realised that as much as she loved playing football, as a female, it would never be a career she could pursue at a professional level. She continued to play, however, and remained close to the female football community as an elite player and coach. When Chyloe was appointed Female Football Development Manager for AFL Victoria in 2007, her own vision of a women’s league far exceeded the organisation’s expectations, and it was a long and challenging journey to see that vision come to fruition.
As we now know, the first season of the AFLW was a huge success. The first game saw a crowd of 24,568 set an all-time record for attendance at a stand-alone women’s sports event in Australia. With additional teams added to the league ahead of the 2018 season, it seems that Australia’s appetite for a women’s league continues to grow.
Kurdas is now sharing her knowledge and expertise with a broader audience. She is a commentator and columnist, and lectures at Melbourne Business School. As the keynote speaker at Directioneering’s Alumni event, Kurdas talked about different styles of leadership, offering insights into the most effective ways of engaging stakeholders and how to support and elevate the people around you. She sees the role of a leader as one of empowerment – a good leader is one that knows their people, understands what drives them, and can propel them onward and upward.
Kurdas also touched on strategies for dealing with reluctant stakeholders, a common occurrence throughout her career. She is a proponent of a persistent approach underpinned by empathy. Again, an understanding of motivation, either individual or organisational, is key.
Recently launched, Own Journey Travel pulls together Kurdas’ passion for travel, well-being, and investing in people and the community. Currently offering places to young people aged 18-23, Own Journey Travel aims to empower travellers, encouraging them to be curious about themselves and their own authenticity, and their place in the world. Visit Own Journey Travel here.
Kurdas believes that we should all be who we are, not who we are supposed to be. Authenticity is an important attribute in our leaders, and an important trait for each of us to develop. Our leaders can create limitless legacies, Kurdas says, if they take the time and effort to invest in their people.