We had a chat with Katrina Morris, our Operations Coordinator at Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre. Katrina is a dedicated young achiever who has taken every opportunity that has come her way and attributes a lot of her success to the support of the people around her.
When and where did you start working with Belgravia Leisure?
I, like most never envisioned myself to be in the position or career I am in today.
Going to University straight out of high school, I worked as volunteer lifesaver on weekends, at Lifesaving Victoria as an Education Instructor and as a casual lifeguard, receptionist and Duty Manager at Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Facility.
I did this to support myself until I graduated to work in an Advertising firm – or so I thought.
I started my career with Belgravia Leisure In July 2018. It was an interesting time, I have gone through months of transition with a young team filled with uncertainty and sitting on both sides of the fence, representing two different companies.
I came on board as Operation Coordinator, which was a role much larger then what I had been doing previously as Lifeguard Team leader. I found myself with double the number of teams, an abundant amount of opportunity with some fantastic mentors.
Never did I think the aquatic industry could present so many opportunities, especially to someone of my age. Being such a large facility, I have had the opportunity to be a part of some fantastic initiatives, programs and opportunities to empower and recognise staff.
We entered a team into the 2019 lifeguard challenge where we placed 4th. We were a finalist for ARV Lifeguard of the year, launched birthday parties, won WHS facility of the year, and we are currently on the waiting list to be announced as a platinum pool.
I was extremely fortunate enough to receive the CLEAR Award for Results at the VIC/TAS conference as well as being a finalist for the Young Achiever of The Year at the Manningham business excellence awards.
Having achieved all of that, I have nothing but excitement for the future within Belgravia. I have been given so many opportunities and welcome all that come my way.
As I have fantastic mentors who helped me develop myself, like investing time in training to develop my staff as even for a lot of them they may only be in a part time role as they are in uni, every opportunity it one to learn and grow.
What is the best/worst part of your role?
The best and worst part of the role is a love/hate relationship with the summer season. We double our lifeguard team to cover the three seasonal pools we open and the amount of patrons who come in our doors.
Recruitment starts in September, which means a lot of group interviews, piles of reference checks, inductions, shadow shifts and training. However, it is an absolute pleasure watching these individuals grow in their abilities, confidence and as individuals.
The hot weather days are busy, long, and always come with colourful situations and characters that challenge you and no two days are the same. These are the days you are every role within the centre, covering childcare breaks, working in the café, behind reception as well as on pool deck, it’s such a great opportunity to really delve into all the teams. I can smell the sunscreen and taste the zooper doopers just thinking about it.
They say you’re only as good as your team, and boy do I have a great one.
What qualities do you look for in your team?
I am so thankful every day I come to work that I am surrounded by supportive, enthusiastic and loving people. When hiring or promoting staff, the main thing I look for is a good attitude. You can always train someone new skills, but you can’t teach someone how to have a good attitude and outlook.
There is nothing more rewarding than taking a chance on someone who might be less experienced and seeing them blossom.