Hi Team Tama,
Welcome to February and another heartfelt edition of our Tama Women’s Profiles.
Please grab a tea or coffee and enjoy this from our next guest. I didn’t get to know our next Tama legend too well when I joined Tama as she was preparing to move to Melbourne. I asked Michelle one day about our next Tama woman and she said ‘one of the finest humans on the planet’. I think that sums it up perfectly. I spent some time with Ellie recently when she was back visiting Tama and have been chatting with her about our Celebration of Women in Surf Day in March. Having that time to get to know her and reading her words below, I now understand and appreciate why she is loved and cherished so much by our club. I felt quite emotional reading Ellie’s advice, it doesn’t just relate to women, I feel everyone can benefit from her wisdom.
Enjoy this piece and over to you Ellie.
Thanks, Zoe VP
In her backyard and with one of our previous amazing CTOs, Phill Capps, as Mieka says "it sums up Tama SLSC to me"
Tell us a bit about yourself: 3 words that best describe you? I work in leadership and culture development, and I recently completed a self-audit where I invited colleagues, friends and family to answer this question – the data was clear! I’m a positive, empathetic, ambitious person who finds joy in connecting people to each other.
How did you get in Surf Life Saving? How did you join Tama? My parents wanted me out from under their feet over the summer, so they signed me up to nippers in Victoria (my home beach is Jan Juc, on the Great Ocean Road) when I was 10. My first day it was raining and the age manager “Bondo” made us dig the biggest hole I had ever seen – totally wore us out – and then told us it was” dangerous to have holes on the beach” and made us fill it in. I was hooked 😊 I finished nippers, joined committees, traveled the world, ran leadership programs, became employed – all through surf life-saving.
When I moved to Sydney for work I need to find “my tribe” and I popped my head into each club along the B2Bwalk. Tama reminded me of home, was extremely welcoming and didn’t ask “what can you do for us?”, rather, just accepted me as I am.
What are the best things about being part of the Surf Life Saving community? Surf is the family you get to choose. It connects people from all ages, all interests and all abilities with a common love for friendship, fitness and service. You meet incredible people, learn amazing things, see phenomenal sights and deeply connect to a purpose that’s bigger than yourself. Surf has given me opportunities I would have never dreamed possible and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to serve my community too.
With Ellie & Andy Junior - Daphne May | Ellie, just finished work back at Tama and rescued 2 kids in the surf, lucky kids :)
How would you describe our community at Tama? Tama is the NICEST club I have ever been a part of. Our unique selling point is our inclusivity – what I jokingly refer to as the Motley Crew of Misfits. Everyone is a bit crazy and so we all fit in. We each roll up our sleeves to help, aligned with our skill set and we appreciate the little things from each other. When I lived at Tama as the caretaker for three years, I never knew what would greet me when I opened the caretakers door each morning – the chaos was charming. Sometimes the BBQ would be on fire, sometimes a romantic tryst would be interrupted on the stairs, sometimes a friend would pop down for a yarn and a drink. The common factor – everyone felt welcome.
What has been your biggest achievement from being part of Surf Lifesaving? I am so proud of my surf achievements. I have been selected as a leader and facilitator for national leadership programs, been a guest speaker at national and international conference about leadership, volunteer retention and engagement.I was elected as the youngest ever (at the time) Director of Lifesaving, Training and Assessment on the Board of Life Saving Victoria and National Board of Life Saving, received the Sir Adrian Curlewis Scholarship, won a national medal in Champion Patrol at Kurrawa Aussies, been selected to represent surf life saving traveling around the USA and Canada with a bunch of Aussie celebrities, spruiking Australia as a tourism destination (imagine me, the Irwins and Crocmen, The Wiggles, The Veronicas, Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe, John Travolta all kicking it at fancy parties in LA and NY – me in my patrol uniform!!! Thankfully before camera phones were a thing).
I have received member of the year awards at three clubs (Jan Juc, Sandridge and Tama), been the first female jet ski operator in Victoria and been the first female chief lifeguard in Victoria.
These memories are amazing but the things I am most proud of are the rescues that the bronzies I have trained have done. I am overwhelmed every time I hear of a person I have trained doing something amazing that helps someone else. The impact of that feels like a true legacy.
Tell us about what you do when not on the beach at Tama looking after people? I split my time between negotiating with the two-year-old terrorist that lives in my house, Daphne May (born when we lived at Tama), and helping leaders and teams become high-performing. I work with any given team that wants to improve their performance and is willing to put the work into developing strong relationships and have genuine conversations about how to get there. Most days this includes coaching individuals and facilitating experiential leadership programs for executives around Australia.
Favourite place to go for food in Sydney? We left Sydney during the Ruby Princess / Bondi outbreak of 2020 (remember when there was no toilet paper!) almost 2 years ago, so my dining experience isn’t very current. Highlights were sausages by the sea for three weeks of September, Bondi Hardware (Andy and my first date), Bondi Ramen on the way home from work, Arthur’s Pizza funghi late at night, Lox Stock & Barrel, Panama House, you can see we didn’t leave Bondi very often!
Reef, crucial family and SLS member, named after the view from the caretakers’ residence | Andy, Ellie and the 2 year old terrorist Daphne May
Ideal holiday destination right now? I would kill to be back at Tama right now, in an Airbnb overlooking the beach. I miss you all so so so much. The WhatsApp chat is a double edged sword, it helps remind me of you all and keep you close and it reminds me of you all and how far away I am!
What would be your advice to any woman thinking to give surf lifesaving a go? Punch any self doubt in the throat and do it. You will meet amazing people and learn so much about yourself. Connect with me and ask me any questions you might have. I could talk about surf life saving under water.
What have you learnt from your time at Tama? What has been something you learnt that has surprised you? Ha! I learned that when there are dozens of almost naked men walking around a surf club, they are not buying what I’m selling!!!! LOL.
Seriously, I have learned that I AM ENOUGH. I don’t need to do or be anything different to fit in. The right people will love, cherish and challenge me to be my best self, without trying to change me.
No words needed for this one :)
Thank you so much Ellie, your words perfectly sum up what this campaign is all about, thank you for everything you do for all of us at Tama.
We are taking a break next week with our Tama women profiles, but will be back to bring more great profiles in the last few weeks of the season.
Have a great week everyone.