Community connection is key. It is as important as it has ever been here in Tauranga. We are one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s fastest growing cities; our population continues to soar; our neighbourhoods continue to expand. Bay Venues has an important role to play when it comes to community connection.
The 24 public facilities we manage on behalf of Tauranga City Council – aquatic centres, indoor sports venues, gyms, community halls – are places where people can meet and interact, share moments and milestones, and experience a sense of belonging. There is increasing demand to upgrade our ageing facilities to ensure they meet the needs of the community.
Our purpose as an organisation is to create exceptional experiences in each of these facilities every single day that will bring people together and encourage them to return. This purpose guides our newly formed executive team as they weave together all areas of Bay Venues and work towards our vision of being The Best Venues for the Bay. The common thread is always community connection.
Our 24 venues across Tauranga host nearly two million visits a year and we want every one of those visits to be exceptional. That requires a huge team effort. Our general managers work closely together to ensure Bay Venues and all of our people operate as one cohesive unit; all departments complementing each other; all departments driven by the same purpose – to connect our communities.
For 11 years I was the Director of Operations at H3, Hamilton City Council’s event and venue division. Before that, I managed shopping centres for more than a decade. Our Bay Venues executive team has that same mix of community and commercial experience and together we are firmly focused on this organisation being a great host and connector for our rapidly growing city.
General Manager: Operations
Operations is the heartbeat of Bay Venues. It consists of events, aquatics, sport and fitness, and community centres and halls. I have worked in the sport and leisure industry my entire career, I am incredibly passionate about it, and I have seen first-hand how our facilities and the people within them contribute to the fabric of our communities. These facilities are places where people can come for sport and recreation, to socialise, revitalise, relax, learn, enjoy, exercise, hone their skills, be looked after, compete, eat, and develop friendships.
Attending events can offer a range of benefits, such as the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, expand one’s knowledge or skill set, experience new perspectives and ideas, gain inspiration and motivation, celebrate, have fun and enjoy social interactions. Our Bay Venues operations team runs a diverse range of facilities, activities, and events that are available to both our communities and visitors to the city, to participate in and be entertained by.
General Manager: Customer Experience
The customer journey might start with a click. Or a call. Or maybe a walk through the door at one of our venues. Customer experience in 2023 is marketing an activity or event, booking lessons, communicating updates and serving customers across multiple platforms, all while making sure it is an exceptional and integrated experience throughout. Over the phone, in person, and online. With almost 20 years in the marketing and communications industry, both internationally and locally, and with a strong background in digital technology, I am leading a customer service team that is focused on providing exceptional customer experiences at all venues at all times. These experiences help to connect our communities and leave a lasting impression.
General Manager: Finance & Commercial
Bay Venues is currently undertaking a significant digital transformation journey, enabling us to operate more efficiently, as well as improve understanding of our business and the needs of our communities. A large part of my role is identifying where we need to invest in our business support. I come from a commercial finance background and have seen the benefit of investing in digital capability to enable us to connect better with customers. Within Bay Venues’ remit, we also operate some more commercially focused areas such as Bay Catering, Bay Audio Visual and BayStation. This enables us to provide a complete offering for customers booking events in our facilities, while at the same time generating a financial return that can be invested back into our community facilities.
General Manager: People & Capability
My team is focused on a few priority areas over the next year but the biggest one is creating a learning and development programme that creates leaders who lead from every seat. If we do that well, each and every customer will be delighted with their experience. And when I say customer, I’m talking about every person who walks through the doors of our facilities, as well as every Bay Venues employee who works alongside us. The people and capability team serve both.
Community connection starts at home, after all, and exceptional customer experiences are only possible when you have happy, valued employees. I’ve worked in the HR space for a variety of different organisations and big commercial entities over the years, across a range of sectors and industries. What floored me when I started at Bay Venues was the size of our heart. It was evident from the outset that our people are here to make a genuine difference to the communities in which they live, and I’m really proud to be a part of that.
General Manager: Facilities
We want all of our facilities to be the best they can be. Our facilities are filled with members of the community every single day and our focus is making them places for our people to feel safe and connected. Maintaining and improving our assets is our key responsibility. We are doing a good job if no one notices the work we do because everyone’s experience is smooth. This includes the running of large venues such as Baywave, Mount Hot Pools and Trustpower Baypark, as well as enabling our clients that are hosting events and activities, and customers visiting our facilities.
We also look after the organisation’s response to sustainability, accessibility, and security – putting a clear focus on this across the city to ensure our facilities are for everyone. With my background and experience in local government, both overseas and locally at Tauranga City Council, I am leading the Bay Venues team that is working closely alongside the council to adapt, improve and, in some cases, completely rebuild and transform the public facilities that our growing city will need over the next 10 years and beyond.