In this month’s edition of In Profile, we sit down with VenuesLive NSW Infrastructure Project Manager George Perry to discover his hidden talents, all-time favourite book, and what he is studying at Harvard University in his spare time.

We heard you had quite the career before joining our team, can you give us a run down? Well, I started out as accountant at Price Waterhouse way back (but I like to keep that a bit of a secret). After that, I joined SOCOG and had five wonderful years there with a number of roles, my last one was as Venue Operations Manager at the Showground Halls (where I replaced Sue Max when she left to join the Stadium, so I have her to partly thank for my career trajectory). At the end of 2000 I joined the Australian Rugby Union which is where I first met DK and Steve. Rugby was enjoying a golden run back then – British & Irish Lions Tour in 2001, Rugby World Cup in 2003 and we even held the Bledisloe Cup. After a great run there, I joined Sydney FC as their CEO for a couple of years which was an adventure, before joining the consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, as their COO.  

What are some of your interests outside of work? I’m an avid reader of news websites – Herald, Guardian, New York Times – I find politics fascinating and exasperating in equal measures. I love puzzles – jigsaw and maths.  And I’m back learning French again which I’m really enjoying and, just for fun, I’m teaching myself to ride a unicycle, which is really hard! Oh, and podcasts.

A little birdie (Paula Brodie) told us you’re also a football referee. Is there a chance we’ll be seeing you out in the middle of a Sydney Derby anytime soon? Yep, I do a little refereeing which allows me to keep my fitness up – contrary to the players’ opinions, I’m always right.

And is it true you are currently a Harvard University student? Well, technically, I suppose I am. Online at Harvard EDX – I’ve just finished a fascinating subject called Justice. It’s fun studying for enjoyment rather than having to.

What’s been your most interesting discovery over the past year? I think COVID was a stark reminder about what is really important in life – family, friends and health. Our two kids, Ben and Courtney, both live in Canberra so that was a challenge last year.

As a pioneer member of our VenuesLive Book Club, can you share your favourite book? One? I’m a late comer to reading books (English at school did some damage) but I reckon I have three favourites: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger; and The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. All classics!

What are you currently watching? Where do I start? I’m a sucker for sports docos: The Last Dance, Last Chance U, Drive to Survive and more recently, Making Their Mark.  I’ve really enjoyed a couple of French series: Lupin, and Call My Agent – French is such a beautiful language and these two series have prompted me to go back and refresh my French.

Where will be the first place you go when travel restrictions are lifted, and why? Our daughter Courtney was deprived of her overseas trip last year after graduating so I’d like to take her to England and France.