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Alumni in Focus: James Kitching

This month’s Alumni in Focus is James Kitching, founder and Managing Director of Kitching Sports (a multi-national sports consulting business) and Chair of Saudi Arabia’s disciplinary and ethics committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. James graduated with a Dip Lang 2005, B Int St 2005, B Int St (Hons) 2006, LL B 2008 and is president of the University of Adelaide’s Young Alumni Committee.

What are your hobbies?
Playing sport (badly), collecting frequent flyer miles, going to the playground with my son.

Favourite place to eat when in Adelaide
Too many to choose from. Da Mario Pizzeria in Athelstone is the best pizza in the state, while Ky Chow on Gouger St is an old favourite.

If I could go back to my University days I would have…
…studied more languages. Language is an invaluable resource within international business. It’s something we don’t stress enough in the Australian educational system.

Most prized possession
The signed and framed football shirts of various clients that are in my offices are very cool.

 I can’t get enough of….
….banh mi! The best part about moving back to live in Adelaide is banh mi on practically every corner. I used to work in the city when Soonta first opened in 2008, I remember the pre-VDR era!

Something that makes you smile
My (3 year old) son’s natural inquisitiveness about how the world works.

Something for which you are grateful
Friends and family. Clients that pay on time.

If I could pursue a different career I would…
….have been an investigative journalist.

The most valuable lesson I have learned
When it comes to career, no person or company has any obligation to you but yourself.

I cannot get through the day without
An espresso and my WhatsApp contacts.

Three words your closest friends would use to describe you
Driven, workaholic, loyal.

Your definition of success
Success is relative to the stage you are in both career and life. Right now success means my employees are happy and I spend extra time with my family.

Your career path in two sentences or less…..
Non-traditional. 3 years out of university, I went overseas to do postgraduate studies in sports management and law.
After graduating, I moved to Kuala Lumpur for a 1 month consulting contract at a leading football organisation…5.5 years in Malaysia later, I moved home with a multi-national sports consulting business with clients all over the world.

Biggest career highlight
(the fun one) Watching Australia win the AFC Asian Cup 2015 on home soil in Sydney. On a serious note, it was winning my first case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

2018 is the year that I ….
…establish my business as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region. Revisit my fitness goals. Reconnect with my home town.

I relax by….
Playing sport, watching good television with my wife, browsing reddit. 

When I get home the first thing I do is….
…take off my shoes and socks – something I learned in Malaysia.

The biggest risk I have taken is…….
There were two:
1. quitting a comfortable public service job in Adelaide and investing all of my money into an international postgraduate programme without any guarantee of success
2. quitting a comfortable managerial position at the world’s third largest football organisation and starting my own business.

A misconception about you
I do actually sleep. Despite sending that email at 4am, I can’t function properly without at least 6 hours.

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