Georgia Ridler, a successful and well-acclaimed sports psychologist and USQ alumnus, has just returned from the Rio Olympics where she worked with the Australian swim team. Ms Ridler visited the university’s Toowoomba campus on Monday September 19 for Ignite: Leadership Potential, a program designed for academic and professional employees who aspire to leadership roles and wish to further their careers.

Ms Ridler, describes her role at Rio as primarily around wellbeing, leadership and performance. “If athletes and staff maintain their wellbeing, there is a greater chance for a higher performance,” Ms Ridler said. USQ was delighted that a past student could return to where they first began learning about their career, and impart 15 years of expertise to keen listeners.

Ms Ridler is used to helping both individuals and groups reach their full potential, whether it’s the champions of the pool or the champions of the USQ staff. Her personal career journey has equipped her with lots of stories and advice to impart at the leadership program, bringing her sporting success strategies into a higher education setting. “Corporate environments could learn from key practices in sport, like the strict and focused preparation demonstrated by athletes before a race,” she said.\

Ignite: Leadership Potential goes for five months and numerous guest speakers, like Ridler, present to staff members from a range of USQ departments.

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas commended this years participants. “This is a great program for USQ’s current and future leaders and the University is committed to providing opportunities for staff development,” Professor Thomas said. The key topics in the program are honing strategic focus, becoming more responsive to change, developing strategies to shape culture, and increasing self-awareness. Ridler says that in swimming “we lead for the purpose of developing more leaders”. The same can be said for the leaders within the community at USQ.

Words by Anna Ghioni
Image by USQ