Simon Dell: Welcome to the show, Larissa Mouttou, who is at the moment the State Media and Marketing Manager of AFL Queensland. So, welcome to the show.

Larissa Mouttou: Thanks, Simon. Great to be here.

Simon Dell: Now, I’m going to have — I have a confession for you because I’ve seen a few of the other jobs that you’ve done in the past. I’m not a big AFL fan. And in fact, I will say that I have, on occasions, maybe bagged it once or twice. So, I just want to apologize for that before we start.

Larissa Mouttou: Thanks for disclosing that upfront. That’s important. So, I guess it’ll be my aim coming into this podcast to hopefully change your perception just a little.

Simon Dell: You’ve got a tough job ahead of you, that’s all I can say. I just want to go back to — we’ll do this in chronological timeline, so I want to get an understanding of where you grew up, where you originated from, and the first question I normally ask everyone is the first job that you ever did, the first job that you were actually paid to do.

Larissa Mouttou:So, I grew up in Western Sydney and grew up in the Hills District. I went to primary school there and went to high school in Western Sydney. So, pretty much all of my schooling was in that area. My first job was working as a checkout chick at the local Woolworths. So, I worked there at the back end of school and into my uni study. So, completely different from what I’m doing now, fortunately.

Simon Dell:Maybe you wouldn’t be surprised, but the amount of people that have been on the show whose first job has been Coles or Woolworths checkout chick… Well, not just checkout chick, checkout guy as well.

Larissa Mouttou:Exactly. Well, with more automated checkouts, I wonder what the school jobs are going to evolve to.

Simon Dell: Yeah, absolutely. Did you take anything from that earlier on, and was there something that you look back and think that really helped you, or the things that you learned from during that time?

Larissa Mouttou: It’s an interesting question and not one that I’ve been asked before, to be honest. I guess working in a very customer-centric role for years during my schooling did have a bit of an influence on the career path that I ended up taking. Obviously, when you’re working on a checkout, and you have to keep that smile on your face, even after 4 hours of standing in the same spot, and people may not be particularly polite to you, it really taught me how to focus on the customer or how to have that at the forefront of the jobs that I’ve had since. I would say that it has had an influence on my career path.

Simon Dell: Yeah. I think that’s a familiar theme that I’ve heard from a lot of people, is that in those early days, those kind of roles really helped you understand dealing with customer challenges, dealing with when people aren’t necessarily happy all the time. And certainly later on in careers, that’s a valuable lesson to understand. 

Larissa Mouttou: Definitely.

Simon Dell: You ended up… I looked at your university career. You kind of did some interesting — had a few interesting options there. I actually did politics as well. So, how did you decide what you were going to do when it came to university?

Larissa Mouttou: I absolutely loved the social sciences when I was at school, and I really enjoyed politics, and modern history, and all of those types of academic content, I suppose. So, I naively thought in my youth that just because I enjoyed a particular subject at school, it was going to translate into a future career path.

So, I finished up high school, went to the University of Sydney to do a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Modern History and Politics, which from a personal interest point of view I really enjoyed, but it did become clear that perhaps there wasn’t a clear career path out of it. So, after two years, I decided that I would tack on and dip into my study in that area, and then was kind of horrified once I started getting into the classroom and found that teaching just wasn’t suited for me and it really wasn’t something that I was particularly good at, unfortunately. So, I packed up my bags and went overseas to become a ski instructor at the end of that. You probably wouldn’t find that out on LinkedIn. So, I spent some time as a ski instructor and that’s really where my passion for working in sport began.

Simon Dell: Where was your head when you were thinking modern history, English, sociology, what did you originally think as your career path was going to be?

Larissa Mouttou: Perhaps I could end up in policy writing or something in that space where I really had a strong interest in. I loved studying it, but from a… Like, when you’re 18, 19 years old and really getting into it, it just didn’t end up being something I felt I was willing to spend the rest of my life doing.

Simon Dell: Were you a skier? I presume you don’t go and start teaching skiing if you can’t ski to a certain level, but had you been skiing through childhood and teenage years?

Larissa Mouttou: Well, not really. I had been on… I think I had been some total of 5 days skiing prior to… They used to run ski recruitment expos at the universities where they’d encourage students to come and do a stint over the American winter at a ski resort. So, you’d go and you’d have interviews with different resorts, and they’d speak to you about what you wanted to do and we went over there, and I completely embellished my skiing ability and ended up securing a job as a kid’s ski instructor with probably less experience teaching than the kids I was teaching.

Simon Dell:Another familiar theme on the people I’ve interviewed is at some point lying on their CVs.

Larissa Mouttou: Well, when you’ve skied every single day on the snow for six months straight, you get pretty good pretty quick. So, it wasn’t too bad. Anyone who has had any exposure to teaching four and five year olds how to ski, it’s a lot of French fries, and pizzas, and not too much highly skilled skiing abilities. So, it ended up okay.

Simon Dell: Do you still ski now?

Larissa Mouttou: I have not skied for 10 years, and interestingly just this year, we have booked a family holiday to take my young one skiing next year. So, it’ll be the first time as a family we’ve been back on the snow. So, very excited about that.

Simon Dell: Did you say you learned in America, that was where you were doing that?

Larissa Mouttou: That’s right. I was a ski instructor in a place called Snowshoe in West Virginia, and a funny little anecdote about Snowshoe was that there was four federal prisons closer to Snowshoe then there was a Walmart. So, it was pretty remote.

Simon Dell: Wow. That could be interesting if there was a breakout on the slopes.

Larissa Mouttou: Yeah. It was a fantastic experience and definitely something that I’d encourage anyone to get out and spend some time travelling overseas and really experiencing life before you knuckle down to reality, and mortgages and all those sorts of commitments. It was fantastic.

Simon Dell: Yes. Mortgages and being an adult, things like that.

Larissa Mouttou: Yeah, that’s right.

Simon Dell: Okay. So, sports marketing then. So, you’ve done a few roles, membership projects, manager at Sydney Cricket Ground. You’ve worked with the Sydney Swans, the Manly Seagulls. With a background in skiing and spending a lot of time doing that, was this a natural progression, to start working in the sports industry?

Larissa Mouttou: It was something that, after I left my checkout operator job, I started working in health clubs back in my university time. So, I was working at membership retention and customer service in the fitness industry. So, that was where I really had my real formative experience in terms of a really focused customer service and membership retention experience. That led me on a path to then move on to the SAG trust and all the sporting organizations that I’ve been fortunate enough to work for.

It was a fairly natural progression from there, because the fitness industry and the sports industry is fairly similar in that regard, in terms of membership basis, and retention and acquisition.

Simon Dell: There’s quite a strong sales approach in that as well, did you find?

Larissa Mouttou: Very much so, and that’s probably one of the things that has held me in the best stead as I’ve moved through heavy membership-related roles in the clubs that I’ve worked for. Having worked in fitness, there’s a really strong focus on retention, and overcoming objections, and being able to have conversations with people, and retain them from a membership perspective. So, that’s been very, very helpful.

Simon Dell: As you’ve moved through the various sports, and obviously, cricket, AFL, Rugby League, and then back again, what’s been… Have you migrated to these places and these roles because you admired the team, or was it the role that was available? What’s kept you moving from a career perspective?

Larissa Mouttou:It’s interesting. It does kind of mirror the life path that you follow, I suppose, the roles that you hold are where you’re at in your levels of maturity and what have you is I guess you learn more and more as you get older. Prior to working for the Sydney Swans, I was probably the biggest Sydney Swans fan there was on the planet. 

Simon Dell: So, if that’s the case, how was day one working there for you? I bet it was close to sort of a meltdown.

Larissa Mouttou: My wardrobe was predominantly red and white, so it was interesting for me at quite a young age to have had the opportunity to work for a club that I was so passionate about and was an absolutely incredible experience. The Swans brand and culture and the way that they operate was… What’s perceived in the media is exactly the same as what it is when you walk through the doors of that organization. So, it was fantastic for me to have the opportunity to work in a club like that and to learn so much from the people that I worked with. The professionalism was just incredible.

For me to move on from the Swans was extremely difficult, but as I’ve moved on to the roles, since then, there’ve been pretty much opportunities for me to expand my skill set and to take a step professionally. So, moving on from the Swans, which was a really membership-focused job, I then wanted to grow into more of a marketing communications skill set and moving to Manly afforded me that opportunity. I was very lucky to have worked there and to have been able to oversee not only membership and consumer business but also marketing communications for the club.

Simon Dell: Just taking a step back to the Sydney Swans, and you mentioned the brand there: When you look at the Sydney Swans brand, what were the things that really stood out to you that made them so recognizable and such a strong brand? Were there things that they were doing on a day-to-day basis that brought that brand alive for the public? I know that’s a fairly big question there, but just sort of interested to get your thoughts about how the brand of Sydney Swans actually lives and breathes.

Larissa Mouttou: At the time when I was working there, the Swans were still the only AFL club in town. So, there was a real sense of ownership that Sydney Swans was Sydney’s team, and that was something that the Swans focused on very heavily in terms of their brand and marketing at that time. In terms of the club culture and just the culture of accountability that everyone within the organization knew what their role was, and what was expected of them, and how their piece of the pie came together to drive the club forward, whether it be from the receptionist right through to senior management.

That was something that I really took a lot from, and from the outside looking in, accountability and having the tough conversations, but also treating people with respect was the outward brand that they projected, but it was also very true of those within the organization.

Simon Dell: How did they communicate that internally? So, you mentioned there that it’s right down from the top down to the receptionist. A lot of brands, a lot of businesses, be they sports brands or non-sports brands, struggle to kind of bring the brand alive throughout the whole organization. Was there something within that time that they were doing to get buy in from every level of staff member there?

Larissa Mouttou: There was a lot of consultation with staff when new brand campaigns were going to go to market. There was a lot of internal consultation on brand positioning, and getting feedback from everyone within the organization about what it meant to be the Sydney Swans. There was also a lot of communication of strategic plan, and KPIs, and objectives from a year-to-year basis on what everyone’s targets were to drive towards, say, a five year plan. So, just really good communication, I would say, and consultation of staff in the process.

Simon Dell: When you’ve moved from Sydney Swans to the Manly Seagulls, and you’ve gone from a more membership-based role to a more marketing-based role, I’m kind of guessing your marketing at that point, or at least your marketing knowledge, was pretty much self-taught based on the previous experience in your university education, or had you had some sort of formal marketing learnings prior to that?

Larissa Mouttou: Not a whole lot of formal learnings. The AFL and Rugby League are quite good at running learning sessions and sharing ideas across their organizations to increase the skills of the staff working there. So, I was fortunate enough to be involved in those types of learning experiences throughout my time at the Swans, and at Manly, and onto the Parramatta Eels. 

From a formal marketing perspective, moving from membership into marketing proper in a club is very similar. In terms of… When we think about marketing from a sports club perspective, it’s all about fan engagement, creating meaningful connections with their stakeholders, which are the local fans or potential new fans, and taking them along a fan engagement journey, whether it be first point just engaging with a brand at a local community event, or a school program, to potentially starting to watch the game on television, through to potentially coming to a game, coming to a few games, becoming a member. It’s all part of one ecosystem that’s very closely-aligned.

So, it wasn’t that big of a job to go from a very membership-focused role at the Swans into Manly, which is quite fortunate because of the nature of the Northern Beaches, it’s a very captive market and it makes your job a little easier in terms of your audience and knowing who you’re speaking to and creating a connection with them. So, it was pretty much a perfect environment for me to hone those broader club marketing skills.

Simon Dell: Across that time, because after you worked in Manly, you went to work at Parramatta. How does that go, the first day in Parramatta and you’ve working at Manly for the past…

Larissa Mouttou: Having grown up in Western Sydney, I was a Parramatta fan growing up.

Simon Dell: Okay, so it’s coming home, really.

Larissa Mouttou: A little. But as I mentioned before, those… the milestones of your life that are obviously sitting aside your career journey, I was heavily pregnant when I started my role at Parramatta. So, I was commuting from Western Sydney to Narrabeen every day, which was fine, an hour, an hour and a half at the car. I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts, and making phone calls, and the like. But once I was six months pregnant, it was becoming harder and harder to be commuting that length of time when you’ve got a young family is not really realistic, unfortunately. So, I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to move to Parramatta which was far more convenient at that point in time. So, definitely personal and family reasons, that move.

Simon Dell: Across that time in your NFL work, what are some of the things you look back on perhaps most proudly that you achieved within those years?

Larissa Mouttou: The spirit of collaboration across Rugby League clubs is incredibly strong. The work that we did to push forward fan engagement and membership as a really important component of Rugby League culture, I take a great deal of pride in. Having worked in the AFL, and anyone who’s got much knowledge of the code would know that large and strong membership bases is something that the AFL is known for. And to have been able to affect the culture within Rugby League and to shift the focus from… Traditionally, it was season ticket holders and more of a focus on selling tickets on a game-to-game basis rather than the concept of membership. Over the course of the 9 or 10 years that I spent working in Rugby League, it has taken huge strides in terms of the focus on membership and the focus on the fan which is really, really pleasing to be involved in. 

Simon Dell: If you were talking to somebody running a non-sporting business, a small business, family business, that kind of thing, what were some of the lessons that you could take out of the marketing side of your career that you could see that a lot of small businesses could apply, or at least do better, or attempt to implement within their business? Is there anything that you think translates well from that sporting side?

Larissa Mouttou: When you think about sports marketing, the notion of the fan is pretty interchangeable with the customer. So, fan engagement in sports speak is essentially customer engagement in industries outside of our world. There is a very strong focus within sport on customer and fan acquisition, and then extremely strong retention programs to ensure that fans and members continue to engage with the clubs over a long-term basis. 

It’s interesting you see now so much more focus on loyalty programs and putting the customer at the front of decision making for organizations is something that sport has been doing for quite a long time. So, in terms of translating those skills and those philosophies into businesses outside of sport, it’s probably the big thing for me, that fans are the same as customers. They want to feel valued. They want to feel as though they’re more than just a number. They want to feel as though the organization that they’re buying from cares about them and is putting their needs ahead of those of the business. That’s probably the biggest piece of advice that you can translate across sport.

Simon Dell: I guess the difference that I would see is that it might be easier for a business to lose a customer than it is for a sports club to lose a fan, because I wonder where the sports club’s fans… Once you start supporting a club, if you’re going to support it seriously, you’re there through thick and thin, and the wins and the losses, and all those kind of things. Whereas a small business, as soon as a small business does something to piss you off, you’re gone and you may never come back again. I say that as a Tottenham Hotspur fan, who has very rarely seen any success for a long, long time.

Larissa Mouttou: I can appreciate that. My husband is a Leeds United fan so I completely understand.

Simon Dell: Poor man. At least poor old Leeds never really had that much allusions of grandeur. They’ve always been terrible and you can tell him I said that. But also I guess, I look at somebody like the Brisbane Roar where back when they were winning premierships, they were filling up Suncorp Stadium in the finals. Now, you look at the number of people going to the games and it’s just terrible. And I know that’s not your sport, but do you think there’s something… You look at perhaps other codes, do you think there’s things that they’re doing wrong or they should be doing better?

Larissa Mouttou: One of the blessings and curses of working in sports marketing is the passion of our fans. We’re very lucky that people care so much about our product and it’s something that people take, spend so much time investing themselves within our sport. And with that comes the opportunity for us to connect with them and to have them part of our clubs or codes. 

But with that comes a much higher set of expectations in terms of the service delivery that we provide them and the experience that they have with our clubs. For example, if something goes wrong with some membership fulfillment with a sporting club, and they bring you up and they want to make a complaint about their experience… Because of all the invested emotion that they have in the sporting team, the level of interaction that they expect from you is exceptionally high. So, there is a need to deliver on that expectation every single time you have an interaction with a fan.

Where if you were to call any other sort of service company, there may not be that same level of connection that people expect from you because you’re the representation of their sporting club, the team that they had tattoos of, the team who they cry over. And that’s important for us to remember that when we’re having interactions with our members and fans, that we are very fortunate to hold a place of being a representation of a brand that people care just so much about and we have to remember that when we’re making decisions, and speaking to people, and to respect the fact that we’re representing, often, organizations that have been around far longer than we have been and that we’re just custodians of that brand for the time that we’re involved in it.

Having said that, it can sometimes be quite difficult to live up to those expectations when things go wrong because they always do. But at the same time, sporting teams can go through a period of lack of success on the field, and if things turn around, then the fans are usually pretty forgiving because they want to get back on board. If they see their team is performing well, so you’re pretty lucky in terms of being able to drop in back to the code if you’re starting to see success. Because sporting success is the one thing that we can’t plan for, and there are sports marketers that are responsible for ensuring that our KPIs are met regardless of whether or not the two teams in Queensland are winning on the field.

That’s where we have to be smart about what we do and to really put the fans and the participants at the front of everything that we do. Because if we’re not treating people with respect, if we’re not creating meaningful connections with our fan base, then as soon as the teams aren’t winning, they’ll pretty quickly disappear. 

Simon Dell: You mention the passion being a pro and a con of sports marketing. Looking at something specific, how do you deal with that passion? And I’m going to sort of say passion/vitriol when you’re dealing with something like social media, and Facebook, and all those platforms. Is there an approach that you guys take in terms of dealing with that kind of passion online?

Larissa Mouttou: The first thing would be that we have to acknowledge the reality of the medium. We’re very lucky to have the ability to connect with our members and fans through social media in such a… When I think back to how our fans or clubs would’ve had to connect to their fans back 20 or 30 years ago, we didn’t have the immediacy of communications that we have now, we’re so lucky to be able to provide our fans with content almost 24 hours a day. But with that, people are able to express their opinions and sometimes those opinions aren’t always positive. 

For me, in having a team of people who report to me, who are responsible for monitoring those platforms, it’s firstly about supporting our staff to realize too that people, at times, may make comments that are coming from a place of frustration, that they may not be happy with the team’s result on the weekend, but it’s not a personal attack on the person who administers the Facebook page. And sometimes, it can be hard because the people who work for our organizations are equally as passionate about the work that they do, so it can be hard to sometimes protect yourself with that bit of a shield of armor up when you’re the one that’s having to read all the negative comments.

But in terms of a philosophy or strategy to deal with that, my huge belief is being transparent and genuine with our fans, and at times decisions may be made that fans aren’t happy with. But as long as the organization is transparent and can provide fans with as much information about why things happen and how they’ve been considered in the process is the most important thing. So, just being genuine. 

Simon Dell: Do you ever read things online and just want to grab the keyboard and go back at them?

Larissa Mouttou: I’ve had personally some pretty challenging times over the course of my career dealing with fan forums and things being said personally about… It’s not just about the club but also about me. It’s been tough particularly doing my time at the Parramatta Eels was a fairly challenging period of time that the club going through loss of competition points, and the salary cap scandal, and on top of that, then having some issues with some of the comments being made online. So, I have had firsthand that experience in trying to…

It can be challenging to not read comments when you know that things are being said. And it’s one thing sometimes to say just don’t read it or disengage with it, but yeah. It’s hard to not take it personally when you, particularly for someone involved like I’ve had where fans, and members, and trying to be their advocate within the organization is pretty much is pretty much my entire existence, and then having negative comments being read can be quite hard. 

Simon Dell:I suspect some of those people in that fan base are fairly unsympathetic towards women in sport as well.

Larissa Mouttou: Yeah, I must say some of the comments that have been written have been pretty derogatory from a gender point of view and quite unsavory, let’s just put it at that.

Simon Dell: What did you do to deal with that? I’d imagine there is a mental strain for anybody dealing with that kind of thing, and it is all well and good for people to say, “You know what? Just delete Twitter or just switch off Facebook.” And yeah, that is an option for a lot of people. But when you’re in the industry, that’s not an option; you have to be there. So, what are some personal things that you did that helped you deal with those kind of criticisms?

Larissa Mouttou: Having exceptionally strong support networks both at home and also with my colleagues who worked in other clubs in similar roles was absolutely important in terms of dealing with that. Being able to speak to people that had been through similar circumstances and just understood the challenges of dealing with some of that stuff was basically the way that I got through it. I’d encourage people to not, anyone who is going through stuff like that, whether it’s a sport related thing or any sort of online bullying, just talk to people about it and don’t just try and suck it up and get on with it. It’s really important to share the load and seek support from people.

Simon Dell: Is that what’s sort of driven you to some of these other positions that you’ve got at the moment in terms of the AFL Queensland Diversity Advisory Board and then the very long named Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network? Is it trying to give women more of a voice in the industry?

Larissa Mouttou: Definitely. I’ve been really lucky to have worked with some extremely passionate and intelligent women during my time working across sport. And for pretty much all of the clubs that I’ve worked for, there’s been some involvement in women’s coterie groups or women’s advisory groups have sat alongside the jobs that I’ve held. So, at the Swans, there was Ladies at Sydney Swans, at Manly there was Eagles Angles, at Parramatta Eels was Steering Committee Chair for our ladies coterie group which was launched quite recently. 

And now moving into my newest role at AFL Queensland, it’s important for me to be able to use the role that I have and the experience that I’ve had to provide leadership to young women who are coming through the sports industry, or in the case of the Queensland Rural, Regional, and Remote Women’s Network, which is a new position which I’ve taken up, is to be an advocate for women to feel that they’re able to share their voice to increase their leadership skills to feel as though they’re supported and able to take the next steps in terms of their own development, whatever path that may be.

Simon Dell: Back to… I want to just talk finally about the role, you’re relatively new in the AFL Queensland role, what brought you up to Brisbane? What is the role or was family or?

Larissa Mouttou:It was something that we as a family, we were thinking about my little one is 4 1/2, and he’s going to be starting school soon, and we were just in terms of lifestyle and where we wanted to set down our roots, we really wanted to move to Southeast Queensland. So, at the beginning of this year, started to look for opportunities up here and have been extremely fortunate to have secured this position with AFL Queensland which has just been outstanding in the short time that I’ve been here so far.

Simon Dell: You’ve only been there 7 months now. These are some more technical questions. What do you guys find as the best communication channels from your perspective? There’s social media, there’s email, there’s above the line advertising: What do you find gets the best engagement for you guys?

Larissa Mouttou: I would say a combination of email and Facebook. The two work best for us. AFL Queensland overseas and absolutely ginormous geographic base in terms of administering the game of AFL in the States. So, it’s a 47 hour drive from our southernmost region all the way up to Cape York, which we oversee. So, when you’re talking about a geographic span like that, being able to communicate with people over social platforms and traditional email is a case of life or death for us. If we can’t do that, then we’re going to fail in achieving our objectives.

Simon Dell:How many people would you have on your email database? Scare us with the number.

Larissa Mouttou: It’s not as large as you would think. When we’re talking about AFL Queensland, where we sit within the ecosystem of the national game is that we administer pretty much all the state-based competitions for participation within the state. So, all the way through from Auskickers, to kids who play Junior Footy, to adults who play in senior competitions. So, it really is a participation-based database across all the regions that we run.

And then when you jump up into the Lions and the SUNS, they then oversee their own comms and their own brands from a database point of view. It’s not as large as you’d probably…

Simon Dell: What do you guys use in terms of software and tools, in terms of helping you manage the marketing side of things? Is there anything that you found they were using, or you’ve introduced, or things that you like, be it the basics of something like MailChimp, or is there other things that you’ve used in the time?

Larissa Mouttou: At the moment, the AFL is going through a huge process of implementing a data strategy across the game from state level all the way up to the AFL clubs. So, we are in the process of integrating onto those platforms as they roll out over the next couple of years. At the moment, we’re pretty basic in terms of the way that we communicate. We use Campaign Monitor at the moment for our email comms. That’s pretty much it at the moment because of the implementation of the new AFL-wide data strategy, we’re just waiting as we jump onto that. So, there’s not much point of us…

Simon Dell: Can you explain quickly what that strategy entails?

Larissa Mouttou: The same case for AFL is that most of the different sporting codes in the country that there are so many different data touch points that we have the opportunity to connect with our fans. Whether it be through someone purchasing a jersey at a team store, to a child participating on Auskick, or someone who’s purchased a ticket to attend a game. The huge opportunity that the sporting codes have is to aggregate that data, to watch it against each other, to get a real clear picture of an individual and their interaction with our game, and then to identify opportunities of engagement to see if we can market tickets to a game to someone who has purchased a jersey, or if we can identify that someone’s attended a certain number of matches per year to try and push them into a membership product.

So, for us, it’s aggregating all those different touch points with our fans and pulling it together in one system that will allow us to gain insights, drive marketing outcomes, and then on top of that, marketing automation and the like to be able to communicate to them more efficiently. It’s a pretty messy project.

Simon Dell:I was going to say that sounds like a big job.

Larissa Mouttou: It’s huge.

Simon Dell: I can imagine. So, last three questions for you. I’m going to change the third to last one for you, because I normally ask people what their favorite brands are outside of their industry, but I’m going to put you on the spot here and I say: If it’s grand final next year and it’s Parramatta versus Manly, what color shirt are you wearing?

Larissa Mouttou: I grew up as a Parramatta fan, so I have to say that my allegiance is to the Eels. Its character building hasn’t been that much success on the field, but I think that it’s…

Simon Dell: And I also would point out similar colors to Leeds United as well in terms of…

Larissa Mouttou: That’s right. My husband does support teams with eerily similar colors.

Simon Dell: That is kind of weird, yeah. Okay, so other grand final next year. It’s Sydney Swans versus a Queensland-based AFL team. I’m not going to pick a specific one, but who are you cheering for?

Larissa Mouttou: I think I’d have to go with a split down the middle. Either way I’m winning and either way I’m losing.

Simon Dell: I knew you’d sit on the fence for that, damn. That’s my sound bite I was going to share on social media next week, but you’ve blown it for me. So, you’ve obviously got a lot of stuff happening next year, your three new roles up here in Queensland are relatively new. Any other big projects for you that you’re working on next year?

Larissa Mouttou: For me, I’m just extremely excited to be heading into a season with a full offseason of preparation into it, having started in May, I’ve kind of inherit the plans, and we’ve got a fantastic new team in the media and marketing department here at AFL Queensland, and working with my colleagues on implementing some cool new stuff in the Auskick space. I’m really excited about all of that, so yeah. Plenty happening here in the AFL in Queensland.

Simon Dell: All I can say is let’s not get my 2 1/2 year old involved in Oz Kickers. 

Larissa Mouttou: So, I have to ask you, Simon: What was your code of choice? Obviously, you’re a soccer fan.

Simon Dell: I actually grew up playing Rugby Union, so I went into a very strong Rugby Union school and played that since I was 11 years old. Came to Australia and tried to play it here and suddenly found that the level that they played it here was ridiculously higher than what I was used to back in Southeast London, and gave it up and ended up playing… I’ve played the roundball game variations of the roundball game for probably the past 15 years, and I’ve actually coached it as well, not at a senior level but at a lower club level. So, I’m trying to get him to kick a roundball, so please don’t taint him with any AFL.

Larissa Mouttou: As long as kids are getting out there and being active, that’s the main thing and that’s essentially the great thing that I’m finding about now working at a participation level with sport. I’m really enthusiastic about the work that I do driving healthy living outcomes for kids, it’s really awesome and something that I’m enjoying thoroughly.

Simon Dell: Yeah. I mean, I have to say, he’s 2 1/2 and we take him to Little Kickers every Saturday morning where they all run about pretending they’re dinosaurs and kick footballs, and it’s just… It’s just fantastic watching them get involved at that early age. I mean, and I think every parent out there would really appreciate the work that you guys do getting kids involved at all levels and all across the state. So, thank you for that. 

Final question: If anyone wants to get a hold of you, if they want to talk to you, ask you a question, perhaps more importantly, if they want to maybe help out in terms of the Diversity Advisory Board or the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, if anyone wants to help with any of those, what’s the best way of reaching out to you?

Larissa Mouttou: The best way to contact me would be through my name, Larissa Mouttou on LinkedIn. That’s where I spend most of my time and the best way to drop me a DM there and happy to have a chat.

Simon Dell: Alright. We’ll stick a link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes as well. So, all that’s left for me is to say thank you very much for your time. Enjoy the weekend and I really appreciate you being on the show.

Larissa Mouttou: Thanks so much, Simon.


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