Geelong United Basketball Commission

Chairperson: Renee Jovic

  Renée Jovic  
  I am currently the Chair of the Geelong United Basketball Commission, having joined the commission in March 2020.  It is a privilege to be on this commission working with the amazing GUB staff, my fellow commissioners, our clubs, players and families led by one of the best Sports CEO’s in Mark Neeld.  It has certainly been an exciting and challenging time for us all as a Basketball community the last two years with the restructure and then the challenges of Covid – but we have ridden the storm and we are continuing to grow and succeed as one united basketball organisation.   I have been an Accountant and Business Advisor for 25 years, having had my own Accounting practice in Geelong for the last 16 years, which I sold in 2019 to focus on more strategic business advisory with some both local and national businesses and this also enabled me to take on Board roles such as this with GUB.  My experience in accounting, business advisory and strategy, leadership and finance is the perfect experience to bring into my role as the Chair of GUB.   I have a Bachelor of Commerce, Diploma of Financial Planning, Fellow of CPA Australia and also have completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course which is a valuable tool to apply in the role on the Commission.   My previous Board experience over the last 16 years was with two not for profit Charities and an Advisory role on the Board for an International Women’s Business organisation.  I currently also sit on the Geelong Business Club.   My passion for basketball commenced when growing up in Ballarat where I both played the game and supported the Ballarat Miners.  Within 12 months of moving to Geelong I started attending Supercats games and becoming a regular supporter, it is such a wonderful community to be a part of and support.   Upon meeting my now husband, I found myself regularly at local domestic games supporting his three teams which he played in, and becoming very involved with the Vytis Basketball Club in our community competition.   I have two teenage children (a daughter 15 and a son 13) who attend Kardinia International College and who both play VJBL for Geelong United Basketball, as well as a husband who coaches both VJBL and community mid-week.  My husband has been a coach for over 30 years and the kids started with Aussie Hoops as 4 year olds, so our family is imbedded in the basketball community.  I understand the 7 day a week juggle of games and training, as well as the Friday night commitments many of our families face week after week, but I love it and during covid it was definitely missed.   My portfolios on the Commission, in addition to being the Chair, are Finance, Facilities and Governance.   My driving force when undertaking this role on the Commission of Geelong United Basketball was to see Geelong become the largest and most successful regional basketball organisation in Australia.  I am very passionate about seeing an increase of our female participants in all roles of the game as players, coaches, referees and administrators.  And last, but my no means least, I want to know we have achieved the goal of building additional basketball stadiums and facilities in the Geelong region, especially a high performance facility, which will enable us to achieve increased participation of everyone in our region, development of our local players and a community of support and diversity for all who wish play this wonderful game.  

Vice-chairperson: Mike Deam

 
  My name is Mike Deam, Generally when people ask what do you do I just answer “Retired”. Those that know me well will just smile. So what I’ve done? Briefly 20 years in IT and 10 running a bookkeeping consultancy. The IT side was mostly in technical roles, but also been a project manager, operations and development. I’ve worked in most industries but mainly Insurance, Manufacturing, Government and Banking. I did a lot of work in Image processing and process reengineering. Then I got into Bookkeeping, getting myself in and out of a franchise to run my own consulting bookkeeping firm where I had a myriad of clients but tended to focus more towards the medical sector both human and animal. My longest career has been as an investor. I’ve just celebrated 45 years since my first trade as a bright 16 year old investing and still going strong… Ah the value of compound interest was a topic I wrote about in the Geelong Community Foundation.   I’m a current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and still a member of the Australian Computer Society and the Australian Bookkeepers Network.   I have been nomadic, brought up in inner Melbourne with family ties to family farm in the east. My parents were always pushing boundaries I started skiing at 4. I had to learn to walk up the hill because I was too small for the lift.  When my own kids starting coming along we relocated to Ballarat. As I explained to my parents at the time, its only 2 hours I could have picked Brussels where IBM wanted to send me. Then we “retired” to Geelong in about 2010. My somewhat accidental arrival in Basketball Geelong (2015) has been well documented. I played the game as a junior, coached for a short time and then retired from Basketball in my mid 20’s when I ripped an achilles tendon (indoor cricket) and got married, not together but related a story for another time. Today I’m a regular with the Walking Basketball crew under the careful tutelage of Issac Turner. He loves to call me for a “running” foul which I refer to as a “speeding” ticket.   My involvement with the then Basketball Geelong was purely as a sponsor and supporter. The sponsorship side has somewhat grown and I currently sponsor 13 players in various teams and that is the most enjoyable side of my fan involvement. Home or away I’ll be there supporting and counting the clock down – COVID permitting. Before going on to the commission I was an encouraging influencer in the decision to go to the AWA stadium and found the Australian Sports Foundation as a vehicle to make a deductible gifts to the Association.   My decision to agree to put my name forward was in part looking at Chris Burrell and Keith Roderick, who have also been sponsors and have both put time into the club by being a commissioner. I felt that it was not enough just being a sponsor, so I joined and was voted in for the next two years on to the commission.   My role in the commission are Deputy Chair to Renee, who I’m really enjoying working with. I’m on a few of the committees Facilities, Finance, History, Governance and Communication. Which is a lot. So what’s my contribution I’m trying to make.  
  • Facilities: unlike other sports Basketball has direct relationship to the facilities in order to play. The number of teams (and therefore players) we can support is directly related to the number of courts we control. In our terms No Court = No Play! Our relationship with the COGG has improved from when we owed them hundreds of thousands in back fees (2015) to being up to date (financially) and in meaningful discussions about the relationship and the future. But we have expanded our influence well beyond the COGG. with access to Schools. With our teams spreading from Torquay to Lara a central facility doesn’t work for everyone. We will always be multi-court/multi-location and managing this will present its own unique challenges. Working with Mark, Renee, Andy and often dragging in Lukas it’s a great team we have assembled. If you see the number of courts grow – then we will have been successful.
  • Finance: my involvement in the associations finance has been for sometime before being a commissioner. I did talk Dean Anglin into moving into Xero Accounting and assisted with conversion and some of the reporting options and how to use the product. The current finance group on the commission is quite strong with Renee being an Accountant and myself a Bookkeeper we tend to survive in the detail and strategy quite well in our support to Vicki. One thing COVID has highlighted that if we were still CBBA and BG neither would have survived 2020. Financially speaking we are much stronger together but more importantly is its altered the focus and work of the commission. We are much more focused on the future rather than being concerned about if we have a future.
  • History. This is really an unstructured problem which I quite enjoy. Of course Basketball Geelong or Corio Bay Basketball is not the start of our History merely a midpoint when we created Geelong United Basketball the collection of so much more than these 3 entities. Working with Francis Harrison its about how do we pull this together and present the combined story of multiple associations to give recognition and justice to all that have gone before. Not as easy as you may think, But we hope to be presenting the start of the story soon.
  • Governance. So including Mark Neeld the Commission as its meets is 8 members. With 5 changes last year (including me) Mark becomes the longest serving member on the commission. We have already made some significant changes in using the cloud based Board platform called OnBoard. Recently Ash has found a platform where we can document our sporting governance which is a process we will commence next week. Certainly the tools make it easier to not only document but provide a central repository of data. As we grow the association this will become more important. We are the largest of the regional associations, but we have to do more. As I’ve said to Dean and then Mark – “We are Geelong” – meaning that we have to set a standard. Then we have to raise it.
  • Communication. This is really working with Aaron and Julia on Media, Website and Events and Communications. The benefit of having Andy Mathers on this team as my fellow commissioner can not be understated. I think apart from trying to run events in a COVID world is an experience lots of entities have at present, one of our challenges is how to integrate our electronic side so that we present a single message. There are great similarities with the History project and equal challenges.
  I’m pretty easy to find and generally up for a chat (In a break of game)… If the game is on, there is a clock descending, when we have the ball. I’ll be gently reminding the players how much of it is left before the buzzer robs them of further glory. By all means come and have a chat, but if I break into a count I hope you understand, I’m just trying to help my team to another win! In this COVID – No spectator – world we live in at present I’m not at as many games that I would like. The phone is the best way to contact me 0404 66 55 33. If I can’t talk leave a message or SMS.  

Commission member: Adam Natonewski

 
  My name is Adam Natonewski and I work in the real estate industry. I have been a sales agent for 16 years and owned my own real estate office for 10 years, employing 20 full time staff specialising in residential sales and property management.   I am married to my wife Allison whom I met at High School, we have 4 children aged between 5-14 years old, all of which play basketball at GUB.   My involvement in basketball committee’s began at the end of 2018/2019 when I was elected the President of the Corio Bay Basketball Association which came as a bit of a surprise to me at the time, but it appeared the members were keen for a fresh approach, vision and enthusiasm which I brought to the table. I have played basketball since I was about 10 years old, now a coaching father and general spectator. I could see major issues with the structure of basketball not only within our Association but with the sport in the region in general. It required a complete overhaul in my opinion, the sport was diluted among multiple associations, both being run pretty poorly and we were playing in mediocre facilities which was and to some degree still is embarrassing! My goals in the short and long term were ambitious, many laughed at me and said I were wasting my time, but together with a fantastic open minded board at CBBA & BG we very quickly created Geelong United Basketball. Overnight, we became the largest region association in Australia, which was both exciting and a little overwhelming.   There is still so much I want to see achieved, with my main focus being on the continued growth in participation and development of players in the region and obviously stadium development so the sport can be enjoyed in quality facilities for generations to come.  

Commission member: Francis Harrison

 
 

Commission member: Amanda Ruiz

 
  My name is Amanda Ruiz and since 2006 I have worked for Kardinia International College in a dual role as a Administrator/Compliance officer and Early Childhood Educator.   I first become involved in Basketball under the then “Basketball Geelong” in 2009 as a VJBL Team Manager for my son, Aaron’s U14 representative team. Although my connection to the Geelong Supercats began back in the late 80’s with my husband John as Members.   By 2016 I had taken on a role at (CBBA) Stingrays and in 2017 became the Big V Delegate and then Game Day Commissioner. Both roles I still enjoy today.   The Portfolio I oversee is Senior Representative/Elite and encompasses Big V, Geelong United Youth League, Corio Bay Stingrays Senior teams and Geelong Supercats NBL1.   While holding this Portfolio I will be working with the Staff at Geelong United to offer every player at this level the opportunity s to achieve the best individual outcome for them as a player, coach or official.   I will also be working with the Commission and our CEO, Mark Neeld, towards offering an unbroken pathway from Club Basketball through to NBL1.  

Commission member: Ashley Adams

 
  My name is Ashley Adams and I am married with two teenage daughters.  I have worked with Barwon Health at University Hospital Geelong since 2007 as an IT Project Manager and have been involved with basketball in Geelong on and off since starting mini-ball (as it was known back then) with lowered rings back in the mid-70s.  I was most recently reintroduced to the sport when my elder daughter started playing around 10 years ago and since then I have always been involved in various roles as a coach, team manager, club and then association administrator with Corio Bay Basketball Association.   I am really excited to now be appointed as a member of the GUB Commission as it gives me an opportunity to make a positive contribution to not just the sport of basketball in Geelong but to the broader community as a whole.  I have been appointed as the GUB Commission Secretary and also hold portfolio roles in “Community, Club and Social basketball” and “Governance” as these are my primary areas of interest.  I am still learning the ropes on the Commission but it is great to be a part of such a capable and enthusiastic team.   I will be working towards increasing participation amongst under-represented groups and doing my part to ensure that the sport of basketball in Geelong can stay strong through recruiting, maintaining and development of the volunteers in our sport.  

Commission member: Andy Mathers

  General Manager of 8 years at Geelong Broadcasters; radio stations K rock and bay 93.9 15 Years in senior management: Specialising in people leadership, stakeholder engagement, commercial partnerships and strategic concept generation.   Previous roles:   S&J Media Group – National Sales Director   dmg Radio Australia (Nova/smooth FM) – Sales Director   dmg Radio Australia – Star 104.5 Central Coast NSW General Manager   Geelong Football Club – Corporate Sales   Twice winner Australian Commercial Radio General Manager of the Year, Finalist 2019 Geelong Business Excellence Awards – Leader of the Year. Advanced Diploma of Business Management University of Ballarat.   Commission member Basketball Geelong and board Member of Read the Play. Father of three beautiful kids, two at Kardinia and one at Barwon Valley Special School…an amazingly tolerant and loving wife (Ali) and after 20 years in Geelong, almost a local?   Committee roles – Facilities and Communication.   Apart from working with an exceptionally passionate and driven commission, I also have the privilege of working closely with Mark Neeld C.E.O (one of the best in the business) and his highly dedicated Geelong United Basketball staff.   From volunteers to sponsors, players to supporters; my vision is to see Geelong United Basketball continue to expand and to be regarded as the premier basketball organisation of it’s kind in Australia. I also see my role as a commission member is to promote the love of basketball through sportsmanship, inclusion, respect and participation at every level of the game.