THROUGHOUT THE YEAR students at the Carlton College of Sport have the opportunity to attend our guest lecture series. Every two weeks throughout the semester, guest presenters speak to students about their career journey in sport and answer any questions that our students throw at them about their roles.

Our second guest lecture for the year was delivered by one of the most friendly and familiar faces at the Carlton Football Club, Community Engagement Manager Adrian Asdagi.

Having completed an internship at the Carlton Football Club in the third year of his Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) at La Trobe University, Adrian then landed within the Carlton Membership team.

Over seven years Adrian has had a wide range of jobs at the Club and is now working as the Community Engagement Manager and is responsible for all of the community programs run by the Carlton Football Club.

Carlton Respects is the Club’s flagship community program, operating in schools, workplaces and the wider community to promote gender equality for the prevention of violence against women. Additional community initiatives include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and cultural inclusion through initiatives such as the Adam Saad Academy.

Below are a few of the questions that students asked Adrian throughout his presentation, and his insightful responses to them.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

‘Luckily in sport there isn’t really a typical day, there’s always a variety of things going on. Some days I might be working with interns and volunteers to run our programs or speaking to AFL and AFLW players about their involvement in our initiatives. On other days I might be pitching our programs to commercial partners to get them involved in our gender equality programs.’

What are the best ways to network (without making a fool of yourself)?

‘The best way to network is to just be yourself! Make an effort when you talk to people and follow up with them to make a meaningful connection. Get to know people by starting a conversation like you would with a friend.’

What are some things at the Club that have changed over seven years?

‘Back when I started, a lot of AFL clubs would talk-the-talk but not walk-the-walk with their community programs. The media are good at keeping clubs accountable and making sure they do what they say they will do. Clubs are changing to focus internally first before moving their focus externally. For example, Carlton conducted an internal review into gender equality at the Club before going out to the community with the Carlton Respects program.’

Where can Community at the Club improve?

‘Sometimes we worry about beating our own drum and seeming inauthentic. With Community programs, being authentic about the work is critical. Having said that, we also have to celebrate what we’re doing and show our supporters and members that they can be proud of what we’re doing as a Club.