Teamwork the key to long-term success

March 8, 2021

In 15 months, GiveToLocal has built an expert team capable of surpassing the organisation’s initial target of driving an additional £10 million a year towards community sport.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

When basketball royalty Michael Jordan was pressed on his remarkable contribution to the all-conquering Chicago Bulls, he was keen to shift the focus towards his team-mates.

The most recognisable face in North American sports during the 1990s won six Most Valuable Player awards in the NBA finals in recognition of his unique individual talent.

And yet even one of the greatest athletes of all time noted that teamwork and a collective appreciation of the bigger picture makes the difference when it comes to achieving sustained success.

Jordan, of course, framed one of his most widely repeated quotes in the context of elite sport, but the sentiment rings true for any organisation seeking to realise its goals.

It’s a powerful statement that clearly resonates with the backers, founders and executive team at North East-based sports service GiveToLocal.

“We’re a team that lives and breathes sport and those are words that we can really relate to,” says GiveToLocal co-founder and chief executive Neil Gardiner.

“Working with community clubs and sport organisations at every level, it’s clear to see that it doesn’t matter whether you’re representing the Chicago Bulls or playing for the Newcastle Eagles Academy — it’s the effectiveness of your team that defines success.

“Of course, the same goes for business; long before we launched GiveToLocal, our focus was on putting together the best team possible.

“Fifteen months down the line and that team has grown significantly. We’re proud to say that we have key players in key positions across the board.

“This is a big year for GiveToLocal, but there’s a collective focus at the heart of our service that will ensure we deliver against our ambitious aims.”

One of the first names on the GiveToLocal team sheet was Scott Wall.

The former internal engagement manager was promoted to head of process and compliance last December, and his insight into the organisation’s development reveals a genuine determination to evolve.

“I’ve been involved in the processes that underpin GiveToLocal from an early stage and now it’s about refining those processes and improving things where we can,” explains Scott.

“The staff who have joined the team this year have, quite rightly, questioned some of our processes and offered opinions on what could be done to streamline what we do. I love that.

“I enjoy working alongside the other heads of department to ensure we’re all moving in the right direction and that’s one of the easier aspects of my new role.

“I’m surrounded by a great team and by people with fantastic ideas. That’s what I want.”

Elsewhere, GiveToLocal’s head of media Simon Rushworth is a familiar face on the region’s sports scene.

The Independent’s former North East football writer and ex-chief sports writer at The Journal went on to co-found the digital media agency in 2015.

And Simon retains a strong connection to community sport across the region as a player, parent and supporter.

“Joining GiveToLocal was the natural move for someone like me,” says Simon.

“Sport has always been a huge part of my life.

“I’ve played for — and worked with — some fantastic teams in the past and I’ve always learned a lot from the people around me.

“Over the years I’ve listened to everyone from Sir Bobby Robson to the chap batting alongside me for Backworth 3rd XI.

“Now I’m learning from colleagues at GiveToLocal and the team here is talented and ambitious from top to bottom.”

GiveToLocal’s head of corporate relations David Broom is fast approaching his first anniversary with the organisation and nobody knows the value of a strong team better than the popular Scot.

“The growth of GiveToLocal’s corporate team reflects our commitment to investing in the right people and is a response to our increasingly prominent position within the North East business community,” explains David.

“I’ve been able to bring in some strong characters who enjoy a collaborative approach to working and who recognise and respect each other’s strengths.

“James Rooney, our corporate relations manager, is great at explaining why GiveToLocal exists and how organisations can help to protect community sport.

“Maisie Cole has joined us as a partnership executive and she ensures our corporate partners realise the full benefit of working with GiveToLocal.

“Then there’s Dan Dixon, who’s our first community engagement executive.

“He’s also one of the first — and most enthusiastic — voices that most corporate partners hear.”

Last month, GiveToLocal revealed plans to expand its North Tyneside-based team and Neil adds: “To grow our workforce from zero to 60 within two years is a significant achievement.

“We have the confidence to grow at scale because we’ve tested our processes with real people.

“We know how and where our technology fits, where the support for community sport is needed most and how it needs to be deployed.

“That’s what drives future recruitment.”

Get to know GiveToLocal

Meet some of the key players on the GiveToLocal team

Jerome Iveson:
co-founder and chief product officer

As a father of two, Jerome knows the benefits community sport can bring to families. As chief product officer, he boasts 20 years of experience in developing digital products from small ideas through to the finished article. Jerome heads up the product design team — responsible for building and maintaining the technology that supports GiveToLocal. “The technology we use is tried and tested to ensure the best possible user experience,” he says.

Colin Stromsoy:
director of strategic partnerships

Following his successful tenure as director of sport for Northumbria University, Colin joined GiveToLocal as director of strategic partnerships. His work with sport organisations and governing bodies at a national and regional level ensures we have the best possible insight into what’s needed by clubs at the heart of our communities. Colin is manager of Newton Aycliffe Football Club and holds a UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence. “Community sport is a big part of who I am, and it always will be,” he says.

David Broom:
head of corporate relations

As a grassroots football coach, David has seen first-hand the challenges facing community sport clubs. GiveToLocal’s head of corporate relations is tasked with building and delivering value to our network of regional and national partners. In his role, David speaks to businesses across the UK on a daily basis, helping them to understand GiveToLocal’s unique proposition. “We can help businesses to give back to their communities and benefit from being part of a like-minded network,” he says.

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