Spotlight on: Libby Graham

By Staff Writer

Libby Graham, a former soccer player and current AFLW player with the Richmond Tigers, spent time working in healthcare before embarking on her dual career as a Return-To-Work Coordinator for John Holland Group working on the CPA Metro Tunnel Project.

The key defender for the Tigers didn’t miss a match in her first season with the club – and brings her lessons, leadership and skills to her role with John Holland. 

Libby’s role in injury management sees her play a support role across all five major sites, she works closely alongside the safety teams, subcontractors and various relevant stakeholders.

With a demanding on-field and off-field career, Libby said that it’s the flexibility and accommodation that the John Holland Group provides that allows her to be able to chase tandem success.

“Effectively I wouldn’t be able to work outside if I didn’t have the flexibility that this job provides me.”

Libby noted that the fluctuating nature of being an athlete and the commitments and training around this has easily gelled with her role within John Holland giving her ability to scale her time in the role, depending on the time of the football season.

“The biggest area of flexibility I’ve found at John Holland has been the ability to adapt my hours in line with the flow of the football season. I went from working two days in-season to increasing to four days as the season ended, and now as we approach preseason I’ll look to reduce the current contact hours.”

The ability for an athlete to accommodate, and not sacrifice, their football commitments is what contributes to an overall picture of wellness, looking after their body and mind, throughout their athletic tenure.  

“When our playing days come to an end, whenever that is, it’s important you have a career pathway to pursue. But being able to do this while we’re playing, I think is so beneficial. Having an external focus from football really supports our personal wellbeing, it provides a mental break and stimulates energy and excitement for the game, and ultimately it aids better performance on field.”

When asked about the best career advice, Libby pointed to taking opportunities as they arise, jumping into things headfirst, and creating a sense of space for things in life other than football to combat potential mental health struggles post on-field career. Having come from a healthcare background, the prospect of working in a corporate construction environment was initially daunting, but it created space for personal growth and development and has lead to opening doors to a pathway she perhaps once may not have considered. 

“From the advice I’ve received and anecdotally things that I’ve heard, I strongly believe in building your identity off the field by finding your passion outside of football and putting energy into it.”

The overarching message Libby shares is that through seizing opportunities for development in your personal/ professional life will lead to open doors well beyond the game.

“I think diversifying my career off-field is really important to me and other athletes for the reason of not tying your sense of self and success solely to your role as a footballer.” 

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