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Staff Spotlight: Teresa Simonetti is leading a revolution in Australian sports technology

View all · 09 Mar 2023 · revolutioniseSPORT

Teresa Simonetti is the Chief Engineer of revolutioniseSPORT. She is responsible for the platform’s team of engineers as head of the engineering department. She was recently recognised by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) and Women in Sports Technology (WiST) as one of 100 women who are leading sports innovation in Australia.

Teresa describes herself as a "builder", someone who enjoys creating a culture and community of motivated people who are committed to the same vision.

She believes the tech industry should have equal gender representation and has taken steps to ensure revolutioniseSPORT makes this a reality.

Teresa sat down with us on International Women’s Day to share her career journey, delve into the future of revolutioniseSPORT and how she came to be known as one of the most influential women in Australian sports technology.


Tell us about your career journey to date.

I actually started out nowhere near sport or technology! Growing up I had always wanted to become a medical doctor, so I went through 8 years of university and graduated with a medicine degree in 2012. 

In parallel, I also started developing a pretty fierce hobby-turned-side-job in website development, with requests coming from friends of friends within my extended network. 

It was towards the end of my medicine degree that I met our co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Mednis, who got me involved in his local water polo association, and together, due to increasing demand from our members, we started working on a project to ultimately develop a web-based end-to-end platform for sports management. (I ended up sitting on the association's board as secretary for 8 years, and in that time I developed a keen sense of the challenges facing grassroots sport.) I decided at that point that the website project had enough potential to become my full time career, and 11 years and 30+ employees later, here I am!


Tell us more about revolutioniseSPORT, what you do and what you love most about it.

I currently head up our engineering department and am chiefly responsible for our team of 11 engineers. It hasn't always been that way—when we started out, it was just Alex and I developing the platform, until gradually over the years we grew our engineering team into what it is today. 

I think that partly encompasses what I love most about working at revSPORT, which is that it's constantly growing and changing, and no two days are the same. I've enjoyed the evolution of my role from being 100% writing code to now being a mix of coding, managing, reviewing, and teaching. 

I would characterise myself as a builder. I love building a culture and community of motivated people who are all committed to the same vision. At the same time, I'm also passionate about the development and enhancement of the platform itself.


What are you most proud of and why?

I think we've done a great job in increasing the number of women in engineering roles within our company. We went from having just one (out of a team of 5) to having half (6 out of a team of 12). There's nothing worse than saying "we're committed to women in STEM!" and then not having the numbers in your own business to back that up. So I think we've done well in that respect.

I'm also proud of my engineering team, and particularly the women I work with—while they are fully aware of the state of the industry, they are hopeful that it is improving, and it has been incredibly rewarding to observe and help each of them grow in terms of their competence, confidence and maturity.


You were recently named on ASTN-WiST Power 100+ List. Why do you think this happened and how does it reflect on revolutioniseSPORT as a whole?

I would say it's a credit to our company's success during its lifetime. We've been a long-term member of the ASTN and had recognition from them and other industry bodies in the form of awards over the years. 

I think what's helped us in this regard is that we have a healthy disregard for the status quo. We're not really happy to coast along with what is. We have a sound vision of what could be—and we're always working towards that.

The way I approach my work and my team is that nothing short of excellence is good enough. That might sound unrealistic, but it means we've built up processes and teams within the company to ensure that excellence, quality assurance, and attention to detail is 'baked in', rather than it being an afterthought. I like to think that this has helped propel us in our success.



What have you noticed about gender representation in the tech industry as an industry leader?

revolutioniseSPORT is committed to equal gender representation within the tech industry. We have definitely faced our share of challenges in achieving this (arising both internally and externally)—a key one being overcoming the pervasive 'merit'-based arguments ("if girls were better, they'd apply for/get more jobs"). 

Having said that, it is an incredibly complex beast and cannot be simplified down to a single aspect, and I've found myself in countless… let's say 'rigorous'... conversations about the issue. (The fact that we still have a pay gap is ridiculous, as is the fact that as women start to dominate an industry, the average wage of said industry decreases.)

The answer is to just push, push, push, and actively give your target applicants ample opportunities. I think we've done really well in this regard—we went from a fairly generic approach of "let's just throw a job ad up on Seek and see who applies" to:

  • Actively doing our research to tailor our job ads and position descriptions to better attract the desired talent
  • Liaising with and (where possible) sponsoring the various university societies focused on women in engineering (e.g. SUWIE, WIESoc)
  • Hosting internships and other short-duration programs specifically for women in engineering


What are your top tips for women looking for a leadership role?

  • Never be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and challenge the status quo. Human progress isn't inevitable and isn't marching towards some preordained destination. It's shaped by everyone, in whatever form their contribution takes. It's up to all of us.
  • Don't wait to find a role or opportunity where you tick 100% of the boxes all the time. Take the plunge even if you don't meet absolutely every last criterion. You'll learn the rest on the job as you go.
  • Don't be afraid to make decisions and stick with them, and own it when you get it wrong. Any decision is better than no decision—your colleagues will appreciate certainty and directness. No one expects you to be right all the time—even if you make an incorrect decision, you made the best decision you could have with the tools and information you had at the time, and your team will appreciate that.
  • Read! Learn, acquire stories, and absorb all you can. I'm usually balancing one fiction and one non-fiction book at the same time. The non-fiction books are generally business/management/psychology-based, and the fiction books are anything really (I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi and fantasy).


What is a significant challenge you have overcome?

I'd say the biggest challenge in my professional career was making the jump between 'doer' and 'manager'. As our company grew, it became necessary for me to manage our burgeoning engineering team. Suddenly I was trying to juggle my own personal full-time workload with the demands and challenges that comes with managing a diverse team of young people. 

As a diehard perfectionist, and also having been used to working solo for so long, this was a particular struggle, as it became quite difficult to 'do' everything and also keep up with my management duties. I ended up adopting the mantras 'do less, delegate more' and also 'let people fail' in order to ultimately overcome this.


What were some valuable pieces of advice that you received to help you through those challenging times?

Both pieces of advice came from my fellow management team members, and from the experienced and capable members of our Advisory Board.

  • The first one, 'do less, delegate more', speaks for itself—you can't expect the people who report to you to step up and become functional members of the team if you don't give them the opportunity to do so.
  • The other one is 'let people fail'—you can't cushion them from failure 100% of the time, and letting them experience an unfavourable outcome is key in developing maturity and resilience in the workplace (and in life generally). The lesson will always stick better when it happens to you, rather than just being told what (not) to do. The nuance with this one is allowing this to happen within a supportive 'sandbox'-style environment, in a manner that is nurturing and educational.


How do you approach your work and is there a specific mindset you need to be in to achieve this?

My mantra in my everyday role is 'Why not?'. I will ask the question in every scenario and apply it to everything I do. 

While it's certainly important to work within boundaries, I think we can get a bit 'stuck' in how we think or approach a problem, especially if we've been in the same role or doing the same work for a while.

For me, it's about turning the problem on its head, attacking it from a different angle, or bringing in someone who isn't ordinarily involved in the work to get an outsider's fresh perspective.

One of my favourite concepts I've read about recently is called 'red teaming'. A simple example of this is to approach your business as if you were a competitor. What could you do to bring your business down? How could you hurt it the most? Then, turn that concept on its head. How could you transform your business so that it is far less vulnerable to competitors, and improve its robustness and resilience?


What excites you about the future – is there an effect you want to see the platform have on the sporting community?

The concept of 'sport' is growing and changing. In the wake of COVID-19, we're seeing more and more of a shift away from organised club-based activities, and more towards transient, transactional involvement, where people may dip in and out of an activity rather than being tied to a recurring yearly-based membership. Our key role now and in the future will be adapting to this shift and also helping to guide it in terms of best industry practices.

We've always believed our relationship with our clients is a two-way street. We draw on our breadth of experience across multiple different sports to inform and consult for our clients, whilst at the same time taking feedback and advice from our clients about their challenges and experiences. This combined approach helps us to continue to develop a robust and adaptive platform that will see sport through into its next phase of growth and change.


Thank you, Teresa, for sharing! To know more about the team behind revolutioniseSPORT sport, make sure to check out our who we are page.

Open to meeting more revolutioniseSPORT minds? Stay tuned for more spotlights!