Jess Davidson, BSc majoring in Sports Development and Management, Master in Sport Development and Management (MSpDM) with Distinction. In recognition of significant contribution to the growth and exposure of female cricket within Otago.
Having played cricket since childhood, and worked as Development Officer for Otago Cricket, Jess is relishing her role as Head of Female Engagement at New Zealand Cricket, leading the growth of the women and girls' game.
What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?
I was really surprised and honoured to find out I would be receiving the award. It was a privilege to be nominated among such a high calibre of young alumni and to be recognised for something I am extremely passionate about.
What have you done since graduation?
Since graduating, I have moved to Auckland and am now working for New Zealand Cricket within the Community Cricket Team as the Head of Female Engagement. My role consists of leading and shaping New Zealand Cricket's Women and Girls strategy to ensure the opportunities presented by growing women's engagement with cricket are realised.
I am thoroughly enjoying my role and the opportunity to drive the delivery of operational programmes and experiences to foster the growth of female cricket.
What inspires and motivates you to work and volunteer in the areas you are involved with?
Some of my favourite childhood memories include playing cricket in the backyard, down at the local park or beach with my friends and whānau. As one of few girls playing for my local junior cricket club, I am motivated to improve gender balance within our sport. I am extremely passionate about providing new and innovative approaches to cricket that reflect the way that women and girls want to participate in our sport.
Whilst significant and encouraging progress has been made to grow the women and girls' game, it is important that we continue to build on this momentum. It is my hope to continue the development of a visible career pathway for females within cricket and to normalise female involvement in all aspects of our sport.
What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it helped you in your career and following your interests?
Looking back at my time in Otago, I have several fond memories including the support from my lecturers to pursue a career in sport management as well as opportunities at Otago Cricket to practically apply the tools and knowledge I was acquiring. I feel this combination ensured I was equipped to move into full-time employment in the sports management sector.
I also can't go past all the laughs and lifelong friendships formed throughout my five years at Otago, I will cherish these for many years to come!