AusCycling began on 1 November 2020 with promises of massive changes to cycling administration in Australia. Recently it was announced that Marne Fechner, currently the CEO of netball Australia, would become the new CEO.
Five days after it was revealed that Marne Fechner came out on top of the ±130 applications for the role of AusCycling CEO, she agreed to have a chat with RIDE Media. The intention was to record our first meeting and share the interview on YouTube so cycling people could see the new face of the new administration entity.
Alas, Fechner, who is currently serving out the end of her long association with Netball Australia, didn’t have video capabilities on the day we spoke. You can, however, see me speak with Fechner in what is likely to be the first of many interviews.
– Click the link above to watch and listen to the Q&A. –
It’s clear from our 30-minute discussion that it’s really too early to be able to say exactly what changes will take place under her leadership of AusCycling but Fechner clearly has some bold ideas. It is a new sport for her but, as you’ll hear in our interview, she rides a bike and believes that many of the lessons learned in the netball world can be applied to cycling.
The big difference for her and any other cycling administrator in Australia, is that there’s a much wider range of disciplines to consider than ever before.
This is not a new version of Cycling Australia, a national sporting organisation (NSO) that had previously essentially managed road and track cycling, while also overseeing some elements of BMX and mountain biking. It is a new entity and, with that, comes a blank canvas.
Exactly what kind of picture we can expect Fechner to paint remains to be seen. She may borrow from other genres – mixing in a dab of netball intel, and perhaps adding a dash of what she’s learned in the corporate world… and then, of course, tossing in the ever-present contrast to ‘normal’ that life in the COVID era brings.
From the outside looking in, cycling is a great sport. It offers huge scope for any professional administrator. On the inside, however, it can be quite murky because there are a vast range skillsets required to ensure it all operates smoothly, safely and, ideally, profitably. There are many people involved and, with that collective, a huge array of opinions on what is right for cycling.
Opinion can vary and arguments often emerge, largely because most of the people involved are truly passionate about bike riding. The same, we could imagine, could be said for netball or myriad other sports.
Fechner has prospered in her role as CEO of Netball Australia over the past 14 years and she feels confident that many of the lessons learned will translate well when she moves into the AusCycling office (wherever that may be) in February 2021.
In netball, however, there’s one set of rules, a standard court, and although it’s a global sport it doesn’t quite have that international mix that cycling enjoys.
Add in the complexity of trying to manage all of the riding disciplines and you realise that Fechner’s future job is an exciting one but the remit associated with it is quite daunting. She sounds ready and certainly seems open to ideas, while realising that there’s much to learn about the complexities of this wonderful thing called cycling.
The YouTube interview is a long one and it covers many topics. It provides a little background into the future CEO of AusCycling and I hope you enjoy listening to Marne Fechner, even if you only get to see her in a photo and some B-roll footage of Netball Australia videos.
– By Rob Arnold