Overlaps between sport and business are nothing new, but the trend now involves a lot more than corporate boxes and tents at the Galway Races. The tech industry is starting to adopt many of the attributes of high-performance sport, and the sporting world is taking a more professional approach to training for performance. And it doesn’t stop there. In fact, the links between sport, well-being, and performance inspired KerrySciTech to work with Kerry GAA to present its Momentum 2020 event.
It’s OK Not to Feel OK
Themed “Staying ahead of the game,” Momentum 2020 took place in Kerry GAA’s state-of-the-art centre of excellence in Currow on January 31. Whereas last year’s event focused on the challenges of scaling a business, this year discussions explored talent retention, performance-enhancing technology, and the links between employee well-being and performance.
Kerry GAA’s Vice Chairman, Eamonn Whelan provided the welcoming address, and Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea was MC.
Momentum 2020 The event hosted a keynote from Carole Ann Clarke, a former captain of the Irish women’s rugby team who is now CEO and co-founder of I Am Here. Clarke describes I Am Here as “a programme that positively disrupts culture around mental health and well-being by instilling the belief that it’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.”
She emphasised teamwork, pointing out that sport is about “working with a team on a collective vision and driving our own tribe to build that vision.”
How Tech Is Advancing Performance On & Off the Field
After a Q& A with Carole Ann, a quartet of experts from the worlds of sports performance and business filled out the panel to discuss the drive toward change to successfully embrace associated technology developments:
- Frank Hayes, Kerry Group
- Aidan O’Mahony, former Kerry footballer and Founder of AOM Fitness
- Aoife Ni Mhuiri, CEO & Founder of Salaso
- Jason McGahan, Head of Athletic Development at Kerry GAA
Both Aidan O’Mahony and Jason McGahan highlighted a worrying trend among the young athletes they come into contact with: Many of these young people reveal that they experience unmanageable pressure in their lives but feel they have nobody to talk to. That’s where teamwork comes in, not just in a sporting context but in a work setting too.
Aoife Ní Mhuirí cited the teamwork element as a key strength of Salaso, an online platform that engages people with exercise for recovery and rehabilitation.
“Maybe sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but, whatever, you’re working together as a team, you’re leaning on each other and learning from each other as well,” she said.
Closing the event, KerrySciTech Chair John Gannon echoed the views of many of the speakers on the night, when he said: “I think the greatest thing we can learn from sport in business is the whole team ethic and how high-performing teams drive themselves.”
He also highlighted the importance of prioritising workplace well-being for science and technology businesses in the southwest of Ireland seeking to attract talent and underlined KerrySciTech’s role in this area.
“Part of what we’re looking at doing is putting together a programme this year, among our member companies, to make well-being at the centre of our employees’ workplace.”