Adrienne Garvey — Professional women’s rugby player and risk analytics manager — sharing her perspective on her performance in sports and the workplace
Adrienne is currently balancing her career with HSBC in Hong Kong as a Risk Analytics Manager, while representing our city in the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s National Sevens program, a full-time training programme based at the Hong Kong Institute of Sport. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, Adrienne played at the London Wasps RFC, while working in the finance industry in London. Adrienne has been playing rugby for 14 years. She most recently represented Hong Kong at the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens and the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier.
In this interview, Adrienne shares how she is able to manage both a professional and sporting career simultaneously and the key skills needed, and the impact of sports in her life.
You play rugby professionally representing Hong Kong, while working at HSBC. How did you get to this stage, and how do you manage to do both?
The opportunity to trial for the Hong Kong rugby team arose in 2014. My HSBC colleagues were extremely supportive of the opportunity and provided a flexible working arrangement and additional leave to enable me to participate in weekly trainings during office hours and travel monthly to various competitions.
What 2 – 3 skills have you developed that translate from the sporting field to the workplace, or vice versa?
Leadership is certainly an important skill in both environments along with collaboration. I work closely with my team mates on the pitch to achieve our goal within trainings and games and this translates directly to working with my colleagues in the office.
What does sport bring to your professional career? What is the impact of sports on your professional career?
I believe sport helps bring another angle for personal development. Many soft skills transfer across both environments, thus it gives you more development opportunities. Also you can often become a senior member of a sports team earlier than the office team, particularly if you join a sport from a young age and this can help develop leadership and core communication skills earlier.
Juggling both an athletic and corporate career, what challenges do you face? How have you been able to manage these challenges?
Time management is always critical. Team training times are set and I cannot be late, but at the same time when deadlines are laid out in the office I need to ensure I manage my time to produce the best work on time. This is only possible as I work closely with my office colleagues and frequently provide updates on my time commitments, sharing work load if necessary and working openly with all those in the office and on the pitch.
Not everyone will pursue both an athletic and corporate career; however, we all can benefit from including a little bit of sport into our lives. How would you recommend someone who’s looking to start playing sports for fun or at an amateur level begin to do so?
Sports is a fantastic addition to anyone’s week. Whether it’s professional, amateur or even just a light walk. If new to finding sports assess first what fits best for you in terms of work out time; morning, lunchtime evening? Are there any activities you have done before that you would like to try again, or have you seen something new that interests you? There are options for all routines and all workout preferences, group training, team sports, the gym, don’t say you don’t have time and don’t like running, you need to make some time and find what you enjoy. You may need to trial a few different options to work out what you enjoy most and best fits for you.
WISE HK ran a survey in January 2017 where limited time and work pressures were the two most significant barriers to playing sports. What words of advice do you have for someone who’s struggling to incorporate some sports into their life?
Limited time is just an excuse. I believe anyone can make time if it is a priority to them. You just need to work out when is the optimal time and place to undertake the activities. Start by looking at your week, when could you fit in even just 30 minutes of sport? When are you maybe less productive and infact may benefit from a break in the office or other activities? Its all about planning and preparation and you can make it happen. It can often be easier if you find a friend to join you on this journey. I find early morning sport is perfect for a refreshing start to the day and leaves me ready to be efficient in the office.