Olivia Shelmerdine

President & Coach of Water Polo. 

Talk us through what you do for your society/sport/activity?

I single-handedly set up this society (making social media pages, getting signatures and members, booking pool time, buying balls and hats etc.) and coach the sessions weekly. I also organise friendlies between other universities, regularly, organising transport and claiming money back for this.  With help from my committee, we host regular successful socials as well as meetings and non-alcohol events.

What is your approach to leadership and teamwork?

I genuinely enjoy leading and working with people to make a successful team.  I think I strive when leading a team of hard workers (but can find it stressful if not everyone in the team pulls their weight, I
will find myself doing everyone’s jobs – for ease but also so I know it’s done). Working with people and leading is where I feel most comfortable, however sometimes I can take the approach that I must do it myself to make sure it is done properly and on time – but do rely on people I know I can trust.

What encourages or motivates you when you face a challenge as 
a leader?

When I need another opinion, I usually ask my mum haha! She always supports me and gives me a different point of view, believing in me to overcome the challenge while also trying to help me to solve it.  My treasurer is also very supportive, he has an active role in the society and is someone I can rely upon.  What also motivates me is my drive, I am a bit of a perfectionist and won’t give up until it is complete to a high standard or the problem has been solved, also the knowledge that I have overcome a lot of problems in the past and there was always a way.

Is there anyone who inspires you and why?

My mother and my year 6 teacher.  Both these women are so strong and have a million things going on at once, I admire how they can do so much all at a high standard.  They are both very active and base their days around sport or movement – this helps mental health and motivate others around them.  They are always full of energy and are natural leaders.

What advice would you give to those who are considering taking on a leadership role?

Do it!  Have confidence, if you show your ability and confidence, people will follow and believe in you! If you are unsure or don’t feel confident, ask others – no one minds answering a question, but always trust your gut and people will trust you

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