A word from Australian sports presenter Stephanie Brantz, the 2012 Business Awards special guest speaker.
Where did you grow up, and how do you know our Chamber’s CEO, Liz Egan?
I was born in Brisbane, and met Liz when we were five years old and starting school together in Year One at St Peter’s Lutheran College in Indooroopilly. Liz and I went through 12 years of school together and remain close today – one of those treasured ‘lifelong’ friends.
Why are you a self confessed ‘sports nut’?
Self confessed is because I admit to loving pretty much any sport. Why sport? Well, I grew up competing with my brother at any sport going.
He is two years older than me, and in cricket season I’d have to bowl while he practiced his batting; in winter I’d be goalkeeper to his striker, and so on.
In the athletics season, we would set up hurdles and high jump and so on in the back yard and like most Queensland kids, we spent the whole time outside.
I swam to a pretty decent level in my school days and in high school, netball took over. At uni that moved to basketball – I was a huge fan of Michael Jordan and all things NBA.
In Brisbane, it was pretty much Rugby League and then daylight, but with Dutch parents and a brother who played football, I followed that too. When I moved to SBS television, there was a lot more football, and that has stayed with me ever since. I’m married to a football commentator, so it makes for less fights over the remote control.
Do you remember your first major gig as a television sports presenter?
My very first gig on TV was at SBS doing a program called On the Ball, where I did the news updates. The first major gig was when I was asked to host their flagship sports program, Toyota World Sport – which was a fantastic experience.
Which of your sports presentations would you describe as your personal best?
I think looking back at all the different events I’ve done, I think being part of the hosting team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup is up there. It was such a huge event and Australia was part of it for the first time in more than 30 years, so there was a lot of excitement around it too.
How did you start in public speaking?
I started as part of my work with SBS. After hosting Toyota World Sport, I was asked to be the MC for the Australian Sports Awards, which are broadcast on the Network. I was terribly nervous, but since then, I have realised that it’s a lot of fun, because you can see and interact with your audience – which you can’t, of course, in television.
Since then, there have been many opportunities that have come up – and it provides an income stream, which means I have been able to choose more flexible media work. With three kids at home and one of those sitting his HSC this year, flexibility is very important to me.
Occasionally, such as this event, it has added benefits – with 5 kids between us and working lives, Liz and I don’t get as many chances to catch up as we would like, so there are bonuses too!
Describe some big events where you have been MC?
There have been events which have been big to me, though perhaps they have reflected the industry I’m in at the time.
Hosting the FIFA congress at the Sydney Opera House was a massive event – heaps of security, beautifully choreographed performances and lots of political protocol which was – at the time – a bit of an eye-opener.
At the beginning of this year I hosted the ‘Australian of the Year’ Awards outside Parliament House in Canberra. That was another incredible experience and involved all the preamble, such as the Garden Party at the Governor General’s residence and so on, which was fun.
Sharing the stage with the Prime Minister and Geoffrey Rush at the same time was a bit of a buzz, though I think the PM thought I was following her around, as the next day I was MC for the Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra and was welcoming her back to the stage there.
Can you give us some inspiring words for our up and coming business women?
I’d love to think I could be inspiring, but my life is so ordinary. I finish making the school lunches, ship the kids off to school and head to work, where someone else does my makeup and I speak about sport, which is actually more like a hobby!
When I get home, I do two loads of washing, supervise homework, drive kids to football training, pour them into bed and start work on the computer, trying to catch up with the ever increasing ‘to do’ list. Doesn’t look terribly interesting in black and white …
From a female perspective though, I will say that I think, now, more than ever before, the opportunities for women to push the boundaries and shatter the ceiling are ever increasing.
Women are resourceful, persistent and tenacious; we are also the ultimate multi-taskers. My mum used to say to me, and still does: “If you need something done, ask a busy woman”. So true!
I’m also on about my 4th career, so while cliched, the other words that spring to mind are “if at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again”! There’s always a way to make your hopes, dreams and aspirations a reality.
Where to from here?
As I write, I am about to jump on a plane bound for Gallipoli. ABC broadcasts the Dawn Service from Anzac Cove on 25 April, and I’m thrilled to bits that they have asked me to be part of that.
I will return to my ‘day job’ then, which at present is hosting the Shute Shield Rugby Coverage, before heading to London to host the Paralympic Coverage at the end of August.
Our women’s sport will then kick off in October, which will bring me full circle to about this time next year. In between times – I’ll be washing, cooking and packing school lunches … just the usual, I guess!
This story was published in issue 60 of New England Focus