Georgia Manning has joined the team at Optus Stadium as the inaugural Training Manager, a role she – and we – are excited to explore! We sat down with her to find out what it’s like coming to work at the Most Beautiful Stadium in the world after having worked at “the Happiest Place in Perth” – Adventure World.
You’ve joined us from Adventure World, that must have been hard to leave?
I really enjoyed my time at Adventure World as their Head of Guest Experience. That role encompassed everything team related from recruitment to training and development for both the casual team and the permanent team. I also looked after all the reward and recognition programs. And then importantly I was across the total guest experience, identifying friction points and actioning change, as well as being the mouthpiece of AW in relation to social media responses. It was a pretty diverse role.
There must have been some great perks?
It was a lot of fun, and I instantly became “mother of the year” in the eyes of my 11-year-old. It was definitely a benefit to have a workplace that had an outlet like jumping on a roller coaster to get rid of any of the day’s stresses! Working in an environment where you can hear people laughing and screaming and having fun and seeing your work come to life was pretty unique.
I loved The Abyss. I would normally finish my permanent team inductions with a choice of ‘thrill ride’ that they would like to go on just to see if they were up to the task.
I know you love to travel, did you used to go to theme parks on holiday?
Yes, and it was a very different experience. I think it ruined it a little bit. I’d be the one taking photos of bins and bollards and my husband would be going, ‘what are you doing, security will be coming out to see you shortly’. Perhaps now I might get some of the magic back!
Best Theme Park?
It’s hard to go past Disney, it is so magical. I’ve been to Disney at Hong Kong, Paris and California. With Disney, the attention to detail is so spot on.
You are Optus Stadium’s very first Training Manager, what are the specific challenges?
This is what excited me about the position, it’s a new role and there is a unique opportunity to shape what the role will deliver. At the moment I am picking the brains of a lot of people and getting my head around the way things are done here and seeing how I can add value to that current process. Already we’re running full throttle to the next AFL season. I came in for the WCE Eagles AFL Final and shadowed a few people and that gave me a great opportunity to see the scale and operation of what happens at Optus Stadium on event day. There are definitely some areas where we can score quick wins in terms of improvements, but the longer-term opportunities are what I’m most excited about. At the end of the day, it’s really about elevating the experience that our guests have when they come to the Stadium, and that they continue to have that level of experience consistently with every visit. This should be what shapes the way our team is trained. Begin with the end in mind, as the late Stephen Covey said. Also, we need to keep front of mind the working experience of our team and provide our people with development pathways and opportunities to grow and learn.
Favourite travel spots?
Our family loves snow skiing and we did a trip to the US early last year going to Steamboat, Colorado which was just amazing. The whole skiing set up is fantastic. We skied, went horse riding, dog sledding, it was such a great experience and I would head back there in an instant.
One child and one dog?
Yes. Sophia has just finished primary school, first year high school next year which is a big year. Our dog Maggie is a little crazy, she’s a Miniature Dachshund-Jack Russell cross. For a small scruffy (complete with a beard) little thing, she definitely punches above her weight personality wise!
Our Commercial General Manager Greg Sleigh always wants to know what is on everyone’s Optus Stadium concert bucket list?
I think Coldplay would be a great one, in terms of the lighting and effects they use in their shows, it would be pretty amazing. The other one would be AC/DC.
And it’s not just snow skiing that you love, but also water skiing?
Yes, I have my Skipper’s Ticket. Brett (hubby) and I both love water skiing, so it made sense for both of us to be able to drive the boat. I’m always keen to get amongst it…you probably wouldn’t like me to get behind the wheel of the Rotto Ferry though!
Favourite water-skiing spot?
It’s all pretty good on the Swan River, but Freshwater Bay is a favourite spot.