Michael McKay, more fondly known at MicMak, has been with Belgravia Leisure for six years. Mick says, “I started pouring beers at Yarrambat Park Golf Course in late 2015 as a fun job. Aka Yazzabat, The Bat, the dream job, really. I recall others being fairly taken aback by my unbridled enthusiasm. Getting carts out of the shed on freezing cold mornings in the dark, making coffees (attempting latte art), chatting with members, pouring a post-shift beer from the tap and heading out for some twilight golf. Then doing it all again the next day.”
“It was only meant to be for a finite period while I finished off the practical component of my law degree. Less than a year later, the venue manager departed pretty abruptly and I put my hand up to steer the venue in an ‘acting’ capacity. A year after that, I got the opportunity to work across all of our Victorian golf courses as an Area Manager and also got to connect more broadly with our interstate courses to start aligning our program methodology.”
“After a few conversations with the business development team in late 2019, COVID-19 presented a unique opportunity to pinch-hit in our bid production (during lockdowns). With creative writing being my undergrad (Arts), I enjoyed the opportunity to articulate what Belgravia Leisure can offer to prospective partners. The lived experience in operations definitely helped. So, it’s been goodbye (but not farewell) to golf and I’m now working as our Business Development Manager,” Mick explained.
Working with Belgravia Leisure was only supposed to be for a finite period while I finished my law degree but after six years I’m now proudly working as our Business Development Manager.
What are some of your highlights/magic moments working with Belgravia Leisure?
“There are plenty of highlights but I guess the sustained one is culture.”
“Early days at Yarrambat, I really enjoyed working shoulder to shoulder with our operations team and playing with the boundaries. We took some big steps in 2016 and attracted a high volume of non-core visitation to the venue. Our philosophy was basically to create events that we would want to attend, so we linked in with partners like Coldstream Brewery and food truck vendors, and focused on giving this awesome green asset back to 100% of the community (not just the 10% who play golf).”
“Our venue ended up winning the Innovation Award that year and coming Top 3 in the Facility of the Year Award. These events created the roadmap and the confidence for Belgravia Leisure to invest in a mini-golf course and clubhouse redevelopment. That project, whilst stressful, was probably the ‘magic moment’ for me.”
“Working with our Creative Lead, Liz Healy to design golf-based products like Goanna Golf (mini-golf) and The GrassLands (taphouse), which will grow the profile and participation of our venues for many years to come. To be involved in the venue transformation at Yarrrambat with the Venue Manager, Mitchell Walker was pretty special. We were both born and bred in Nillumbik, so to work together and throw all of our effort and energy into that moment was equal parts gruelling and rewarding. Also the Venue Manager of Keilor Public Golf Course, Jack McDonald is a Nillumbik resident and worked at Yarrambat in 2015 when I first arrived there (in fact, he inducted me!). So having him nearby and dropping in often to see the progress of the project, it felt like we were all turning a new chapter there together,” Mick explained.
What have been the impacts you’ve seen from COVID-19 & what have you learnt?
“More than a year in lockdown so yes, my fellow Metro Melb peeps have definitely been impacted. COVID-19 has made more comebacks than Johnny Farnham, but the vaccination rollout seems to have created a real sense of finality and optimism in recent months. Teams have willed each other to the finish line and can open up the doors for good this time.”
“What’s evident is that we have adapted and unearthed new layers of productivity (through technology), which will see us emerging stronger than pre-Covid in terms of how we collaborate and deliver community outcomes. The road to recovery starts now and this new agility is going to be the silver lining. It will give us better capacity to meet emerging needs of our people and of customers impacted by the pandemic.” Mick explained.
What is your favourite thing about your career?
“I really value the banter. That’s important to me.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
“Given the erratic decision-making you have read above, who knows. I was two weeks away from being a lawyer and chose to pour beers instead. For me, it’s all about whether I’m jumping out of bed to do what I do. Being aware of the difference in your energy levels is really important. Keep searching for the things that fuel you and keep having conversations with your managers to guide you towards those areas. More of that, less of the other,” Mick says.
Keep searching for the things that fuel you and keep having conversations with your managers to guide you towards those areas.
What are 3 things you’re most passionate about in life and why?
“Music, coffee and my dogs.”