Anett is a powerful advocate for gender equality and using sport to combat social issues. Her career has found her represent Uefa Euros 2020, the FINA Swimming World Championships and many sporting committees in Hungary. This interview sees Anett discuss how her journey started, the challenges and the benefits that volunteering brings to the industry and an individual.
Question 1: Anett, it’s great to have you on Ash’s Sports Talk. Let’s kick this off by understanding how your sports career began?
Thanks for the opportunity. When I was a child, I participated in athletics at Primary school and eventually, I started fencing. At High school, I had a chance to volunteer at Budapest’s European swimming championship in 2010, which fascinated me with the event side of sport.
As I grew up, I developed a passion for acting and film production. Eventually, I had to choose whether I wanted my career to be led by sport or performing arts. It’s now evident what route I chose, and it was the volunteering that really sparked my initial interest, and it landed me my first full-time job in sport as the tournaments competitions coordinator.
Question 2: Throughout your journey to becoming the Volunteer Manager at UEFA Euro 2020, what have you enjoyed the most?
I’d say volunteering; it’s the reason why I’ve met so many people around Europe. In Hungary, UEFA Euro 2020 were looking for a volunteer manager as there typically aren’t many volunteers in the country. I appreciate it can be hard to encourage others to volunteer as it’s seen as ‘working for free’, it made me think twice about taking on the role. However, I remembered what got me into volunteering, and I wanted to share the benefits I’ve gained from volunteering to encourage others to do the same.
Question 3: Your career has been highly orientated at promoting volunteering in sport. What can you share about the impact volunteering provides to an individual in the industry and the value volunteering offers to the industry?
The connections you build are essential; they open multiple doors in the industry in ways you couldn’t imagine. I started my first event as a volunteer at a LEN event (the European Aquatics Federation), then I moved to the European Swimming Championship. After this, I got my first paid job at the World Championships. I still volunteer now; my positions used to be orientated around event operations, whereas now I’m sitting in board meetings and holding more strategic roles. Therefore, if you remain committed for long enough, you’ll have the chance to make some substantial impacts in sport on both an operational and strategic level.
Question 4: At UEFA Euro 2020, it would be amazing to hear what your role looks like and what you’re responsible for?
My role involves managing various processes around marketing, legal affairs, financial issues, administration and more. I thoroughly enjoy the variety as it keeps things exciting. I manage multiple groups, including my small core team, a bunch of long-term volunteers and over 1,000 volunteers during event operations.
I used to live in Spain during the 2012 Euros’, and I remember the electric atmosphere when people danced on the streets. This truly sparked a passion for being a part of this competition; I also had a miraculous opportunity to go to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which was terrific to witness the event’s ambience over there.
We’re looking to establish workshops for volunteers at the Euros which can become essential for sports education. Its an opportunity to teach people about cultural diversity, equality and the power volunteering brings.
Question 5: It’s clear you’re a strong advocate for gender equality and using sport to combat social issues. I’m aware you sit on the Hungarian Olympic Committee, Budapest Association for International Sports, International University Sport Federation, Hungarian Football Federation and ENGSO Youth boards. How do these involvements champion your passions in sport?
I have different statuses in these organisations. The Hungarian Football Federation (HFF) is the central area of focus, as we are one of the host venues of EURO 2020. Although, due to the pandemic, it’s allowed more time to focus on other causes. I am really proud of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) Women and Sport Commission position because I’m their youngest elected member. This lets me represent the youths’ voice to get the best out of their careers. In the Budapest Association of International Sports (BAIS), I was actually one of the founders which I started with a couple of friends. It was inspired by knowing how it’s tougher to break into the local community when you’re an international expact. We organise local opportunities to share cultural diversity through sport and promote a healthy lifestyle for like-minded individuals.
I’m also a committee member at the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation’s youth body (ENGSO Youth). The organisation has a huge potential, providing many opportunities across Europe.
The International University of Sports Federation (FISU) came to fruition by myself becoming a young ambassador. I won the spot in a competition the FISU ran, called FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy, and the next time they asked me to become a mentor of the newcomers. This allowed me to speak and get involved in their fantastic programmes publicly. Essentially, each of these organisations allows me to make strides to show the power sport for development has for individuals wanting to get involved in the industry.
Question 6: With any successful sporting career, there comes an array of challenges. Would you mind sharing some of the adversities you’ve experienced in your sports industry come up?
It’s fair to stay I started from ground zero. I came from a family who wasn’t naturally passionate about sports. Therefore, I had to find my own way to succeed in the industry. As a youthful leader, it wasn’t always easy to find opportunities that could take me further in my career path and create my own connection net.
Plus, I began taking up boxing when I was younger and unfortunately was on the back end of stereotypical and old-fashioned comments about female sports participation. This was wrong, but it ignited my passion for driving this issue forward to find a solution.
It’s challenging to find the right team members However, once the right employees are found, it’s an excellent feeling. The impact of COVID19 is an obvious one, events have suffered tremendously, and it’s been so unprecedented as I thought the pandemic would’ve ended by now. Nevertheless, I’ve been keeping myself motivated throughout these strange times.
Question 7: Anett, reflecting on this discussion and your sports career, what is your killer piece of advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in sport?
Help whenever you can. Once you find a passion, go for it. By all means, don’t let it exhaust you as you must enjoy it. Value connections, turn up to conferences and be loyal to your values.
What a sensational interview by Anett. Her story has truly inspired me that many things are possible if you put your mind to it. Despite her adversities growing up in a non-sporting family, it didn’t stop her from making a tremendous impact across many levels of sport. Therefore, if you’re an individual who’s got a thriving passion for making your career in sport happen, don’t let anything hold you back, especially not the pandemic!