FOR the CEO of an AFL club, staying on – or ahead of – the ball is an ingrained philosophy, so Brendon Gale, chief executive of Richmond Football Club, was curious about how Israelis have stayed on top of their game.
Gale, who will address a Young UIA event this Thursday (August 29), told The AJN he is impressed with how Israelis use forward thinking to develop “the next generation of entrepreneurs in IT”, using risk taking and innovation as the way forward.
And he is fascinated with the Israel Defence Forces’ “organic” approach to fostering “creativity, ingenuity and innovation … you get out in the field and you figure it out for yourself”, rather than more traditional “command-control regimented military setups”.
As a self-described “keen student of leadership and management”, the Tigers CEO spoke to colleagues at the Australia–Israel Chamber of Commerce and has now visited Israel twice.
On his first visit, Gale was introduced to Israeli leaders in their fields across the spectrum – military, government, academia, business and sport – “to see how people lead, create and innovate”.
“I didn’t expect to walk away with what I did. I felt there was a real sense of purpose in Israel. It didn’t matter whether you were a farmer in a kibbutz, or doing national service or working at Hebrew University … which is really instructive,” he reflected.
Gale immersed himself in the country’s biblical heritage, which resonated with his Christian beliefs, he said.
His second visit was as part of a trade mission, during which he witnessed “digital disruption … in the world of sport and entertainment … and some of those things have application for the business I work in, the AFL”.
Gale is a passionate advocate for diversity and holds a number of directorships and board positions. He played 244 AFL games with Richmond, and on retiring, practised law. In 2005, he was appointed CEO of the AFL Players Association, responsible for representing the interests of players.
In 2009, he was appointed Tigers CEO where he leads a diverse team of over 150 people, and has responsibility for all aspects of the club.
Under his leadership, the iconic Punt Road Oval was transformed into an elite high-performance facility, and the Tigers have achieved record consumer and commercial growth year on year, also breaking the drought when winning the 2017 AFL Premiership.
Young UIA (18-40) will host A Conversation with Brendon Gale on August 29, at 7.15pm. Contact the UIA office on 1300 477 235 for location details. Bookings are essential; $30 per person; visit www.uiaaustralia.org.au/our-events/vic.