Interview with Wendy Sanders - CEO of Cycling Queensland
This interview was first published on www.CycleSportnews.com in April- it comes to WomensCycling.net courtesy of Peter Ford.
Little did Wendy Sanders realize in 1986, when she offered to do some volunteer typing for cycling supreme, Mike Victor, she would be occupying the same office almost 20 years later as CEO of Cycling Queensland.
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“I started as a volunteer in those days and have been here ever since” Wendy reflected.
“I was typing one day a week and this grew into full time in1991”.
Wendy Sanders was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2003, and as well as filling this role with great distinction, she is also a National Commissaire, a position which necessitates her appearance at a large number of cycling races around the state.
“In 2004, I clocked up 319 hours as a volunteer Commissaire” Wendy added, - not bad for someone who has never competed in a bike race herself, and whose only connection to the sport was initially through her husband to be, Earl, who was a competitive A Grade cyclist back in 1961.
Wendy has brought significant qualities to her office.
“To be successful in this type of job you need to have both patience and tolerance. So much of
my time, and that of the Cycling Queensland Board, is putting out "bushfires" from within the
members of the association. It would be so good to be able to concentrate on the strategic direction that we have planned for the sport, but unfortunately, we need to deal with these matters first”.
Wendy is prepared to meet her challenges head-on, and although she loves her job, she admits that all the time taken on putting out the “bushfires” can be very wearing.
She acknowledges that is getting harder to function as a cycling CEO in today's cycling world.
“One of our greatest problems is obtaining suitable courses for road events, making us move out further and further from the city to conduct events. Not having a covered velodrome is also detrimental to our members, as they do not have the same indoor racing and training opportunities as riders in all other states.”
When asked what would make life a lot easier, Wendy exclaimed, “A perfect world! That elusive indoor velodrome, and the ability to be able to compete around the Brisbane area, plus, a large sponsorship contract”.
Wendy Sanders is committed to making sure that Queensland youngsters have the same advantages as their southern counterparts, and also to ensuring that Queensland clubs and their respective memberships learn to live in harmony and stop their infighting.
Wendy strongly believes that cycling in Queensland is moving ahead.
“We have a great relationship with James Victor of the Queensland Academy of Sport and we are working in a much closer relationship for the ultimate development of our sport and to create better pathways for our aspiring athletes” she added.
Nevertheless, the CEO remains occasionally frustrated by what she refers to as, “ Too much time spent on matters pandering to the egos of a minority!”
Another area of concern for Wendy Sanders is finance.
“We don't have a big budget, although we are supported very well by Sport and Recreation
Queensland. Sponsorship is very difficult to obtain, and the media are also reluctant to
get involved because even though Cycling was second only to Swimming in the medal count in Athens, we still struggle to get publicity, and have to compete with the football codes, cricket, tennis, gold and car racing”.
Wendy is reluctant to consider herself as “a high-flying executive”.
“I don't really fly too high! My husband and I live in the bush and I just love
to spend time on our big block with my family. It is a whole new world”.
But there never seems to be enough time for Wendy Sanders to escape the pressures of office.
“We have a very full road calendar mapped out for this year, and of course, we will have the
only UCI event in Queensland - the Tour of Queensland, which commences in late October. This year the race will start in Harvey Bay and finish in Rockhampton and will truly be an international tour.” Wendy proudly added.
Wendy’s passion for cycling and the Queensland team is evident in everything she says and does.
Recently she attended the Nationals in Adelaide, and was hugely full of praise for the efforts of the Queenslanders.
“I was the Manager of the Senior Team to Adelaide, and what a team is was - I don't believe I will ever see the likes of it again - ThreeGold medal Athens Olympans/Paralympians, Sara Carrigan, Anna Meares and Chris Scott, Junior World Champion, Miles Olman, Senior World Champion AshleyHutchinson, Athens Weightlifter Deborah Lovely, and just so much talent!! It was fantastic!””
Wendy admits that managing State teams has become a passion.
“This was my 14th! I even take holiday leave to do it! she exclaimed.
Thanks to CycleSportNews.com for permission to reproduce this interview
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Cycling Queensland, Wendy Sanders
Photo courtesy of W.Sanders