Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.
It’s not all rough and tumble on the netball court, as Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett talks about the challenges of leadership, teamwork and securing her own financial future.
It’s not everyday you get the chance to rub shoulders with a true sporting superstar; somebody who has two Netball World Championship gold medals, a Commonwealth Games gold and silver medal, and who is the captain of a national sporting team.
But that’s what the FPA is offering members with netball champion and skipper of the Australian Diamonds team, Caitlin Bassett, featuring as part of a team of inspirational speakers at this year’s FPA Women in Wealth networking events.
Joining Caitlin as part of these events will be her team mate from the Giants Netball team, Jo Harten, who plays goal shooter and goal attack. Jo has also celebrated success at the elite level, including winning gold with the England Roses at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Rolling out across five cities from 29 July until 26 August, both Caitlin and Jo will be sharing some of their insights around leadership and overcoming challenges – insights Caitlin has accrued over almost 15 years playing at the elite level of Australian sport.
“You might not think that financial planning and female sport has much in common, but you’d be surprised,” says Caitlin. “There’s plenty of similarities, like working as part of a team and dealing with setbacks and challenges. They’re the types of things that happen to people everyday in business and that’s what I want to share with other women.”
Caitlin draws a lot of her personal strength from working as part of a team, where she is able to use other people’s skills and leverage off the different dynamics within a group, to not only make the team stronger, but to achieve more as an individual.
“As women, we sometimes think that we have to be able do it all, as we fight for perfection in our own lives. But by understanding that someone else in their role can help you in your’s, is very powerful.”
With 183 elite caps notched up, including an impressive 90 international caps, Caitlin knows a thing or two about achieving success at the highest level; and it’s something she is keen to share.
“In business, just like sport, to be successful means properly preparing yourself both mentally and physically. And that’s where your team mates can help. Sometimes, when I’m not feeling 100 per cent, I can go to them for help and support. It’s also important to be organised and prepared, and that’s where training comes in. So, when it comes to game day, whether on the court or in the office, you can feel confident because you’ve done all the hard work in the lead up to it.”
Caitlin’s commitment to training also helps with her resilience to dealing with challenges.
“I’m always mindful that things aren’t always going to go my way. Like anyone, I have my ups and downs. I know that fronting up to work means there will be challenges, but being part of a team means I’m never on my own; there are other people around who can help me. Stepping into that team environment, whether in sport or at work, can provide you with that sense of confidence that you can tackle any challenges.
“For me, as a netballer, my team mates give me strength. Although I might not be feeling 100 per cent on the day, I know that when I’m out on court with them, they will be giving absolutely everything to help me play my best and they know, I’ll be doing the same for them.”
Inspiration and motivation
The 31-year-old goal shooter from Western Australian has become somewhat of a cult figure, with a sporting record the envy of other athletes. Affectionally known as ‘C-bass’, Caitlin made her entry into elite netball in 2005 with West Coast Fever and has played 183 national league games.
For the previous two years, she played for Sunshine Coast Lightning, finishing the 2017 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season as the most accurate shooter in the competition, with an accuracy of 94 per cent, while during the 2018 regular season, she netted 553 goals from 601 attempts and registered 12 goal assists. In 2019, Caitlin joined the Giants, where she will compete for the next three years.
‘C-bass’ is a two-time SSN grand final champion and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 grand final match. But it doesn’t stop there. Caitlin is currently the Australian Diamonds captain, with a record that includes 86 test caps, two Netball World Championship gold medals (2011 and 2014), a Commonwealth Games gold medal (2014) and a Commonwealth Games silver medal (2018).
It’s an impressive list of achievements for the goal shooter. So, where does she draw her inspiration?
“At a national level, my motivation and inspiration comes from the women who came before me, including the likes of Liz Ellis and Anne Sargeant.
“These women put in all the hard work, so we can call ourselves professional athletes today,” she says. “I’m very mindful that the women who came before me did it for very little money and made tremendous sacrifices, often working either full-time or part-time just to be able to play netball and travel to compete.
“These women are my motivation and inspiration for wanting to work hard and grow this sport, because like them, I want to make Australian netball even better for the next generation coming through.”
Although Caitlin participates in an overwhelmingly female dominated sport, she is nonetheless aware of issues facing women in the workplace and home, like gender diversity and equality. It’s an issue she is particularly passionate about.
“It should never matter what gender you are,” she says. “I want to see a future in my lifetime where it doesn’t matter what sex, colour or ethnicity you are. It’s about the best person getting picked for a position and doing the job. As women, I think we sometimes take the easier option of believing we can’t do something, when we can.
“I’m a great believer in positive self-talk, meditation and mindfulness. We do create our own luck, and a big part of that comes from putting in the hard work and believing in yourself.”
As a role model, self-belief and personal empowerment are two qualities she is hoping to instil in the next generation, particularly young girls and boys.
“I want to be a positive role model both on and off the court by making sure I’m doing all the right things to show boys and girls that through dedication, motivation and a lot of hard work, you can be the best you can be, while achieving your goals.”
In fact, Caitlin is delighted to see the progress of Australian netball over the last decade. She says that through media coverage, it has been particularly empowering for young girls to see “fit and fearless” women competing at the elite level.
“We’ve been able to build a platform through sport that is showing young girls and boys what’s possible, and that’s been a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Reach out for help
When it comes to empowering women to take greater control of their own futures, Caitlin believes role models can be a powerful conduit in achieving this.
“There are so many amazing and strong women we can draw inspiration from. I’m not the most financially savvy person, so getting professional help – just like I do with my netball training – was one of the best things I did.”
Caitlin is a strong advocate of financial planning, having seen firsthand the benefits of working with a financial planner in achieving her own goals and objectives.
“I like being organised and I like having a plan, so going to see a financial planner really allowed me to develop a plan for my money and my own future independence. It didn’t mean I was just floating through with life, taking risks and chances with my money. So, it makes me feel good about myself that I’m working towards achieving my own financial goals.”
Caitlin believes the first step to empowering more women to take greater charge of their own financial wellbeing is to reach out for help.
“While I’m very confident playing netball, it doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing off court with certain areas of my life. Asking for help and not being afraid to ask for help is really important. It was empowering to know that I could reach out to an expert to help me with my own financial future.
“By doing so, it means I will be financially secure with my life after netball, and that’s something I would have probably struggled with had I not had professional help.”
In fact, Caitlin’s financial planner is an ex-athlete herself, which made it easier to relate to Caitlin’s circumstances.
“I felt very comfortable about the whole financial planning process,” she says. “My financial planner took the time to listen to me and understand my goals for the future. We looked at some options and settled on the right strategy for my risk tolerance. She provided me with the confidence I needed.
“Because I’m not playing a sport where I’m earning millions of dollars, I want to make sure that the money I work hard to earn, works hard for me.”
Caitlin concedes she was initially apprehensive about seeking help from a financial planner, but has actually found the whole experience incredibly liberating.
“I was able to use my financial planner as a sounding board. She provided me with a sense of calmness and confidence about what I was doing with my money, because when I do finish my sporting career, I want to know that I have the financial means to support myself as I transition to the next phase of my life.”
However, Caitlin freely admits she is no financial guru, so when it comes to securing her own financial wellbeing, the key for her was working with a professional and keeping her financial planning simple, like making extra super contributions.
It’s an approach she believes can work for other women who want to secure their own financial independence.
“Women really need to take charge of their own financial futures and if they are unsure, then like me, find someone who can help you. Everybody has different needs and circumstances. For me, it’s about life after netball, whereas for somebody else it could be about planning to buy their first house or planning for a family.
“I think it’s really important to find someone who you are comfortable with, who understands the situation you are in and what you are working towards. And finding that right person could be as simple as having a conversation at work with your colleagues, or with friends and family, because you don’t know what others are doing unless you ask.”
Life after netball
Caitlin is at the top of her game and this talented goal shooter has more than a few years left in her. But when the whistle blows for the final time, what does life after netball look like for the gregarious Aussie captain?
“Look, I haven’t quite decided yet,” Caitlin laughs. “I’m doing a double degree in broadcast journalism, because I enjoy working in the media, particularly when it comes to sports.”
But Caitlin also has a soft spot for animals, and doesn’t rule out working more closely with them sometime down the track. “I have helped train an assistance puppy, which was incredibly rewarding. It’s something I’d like to do again, perhaps after the next World Cup when I’ve got some downtime.”
But before then, ‘C-bass’ has her sights firmly set on this year’s World Cup in Liverpool U.K. and another gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. As the saying goes: You can’t keep a champion down!
Caitlin and team member Jo Harten will be speaking at the upcoming FPA Women in Wealth networking events. Tickets to this event include complimentary access for your mentee, young planner, student or netball enthusiast to join you. For more information or to register, click here.
Women in Wealth shooting goals
Do you want to hear more from netball champions, Caitlin Bassett or Jo Harten? Then attend the upcoming FPA Women in Wealth networking events. Tickets to this event include complimentary access for your mentee, young planner, student or netball enthusiast to join you.
FPA Women in Wealth is a program designed to advance the progression of women in the financial planning profession, from young female planners to senior leaders in the industry. The program offers mentoring, personal and professional development opportunities to support career progression.
This year’s events will be rolled out across five cities – Sydney (29 July), Melbourne (5 August), Brisbane (12 August), Adelaide (19 August) and Perth (26 August). These networking events are supported by Platinum Asset Management.
As a bonus offer, guests can also join founder of FEW, Judith Beck, when she hosts FEW’s Circle discussion group following the lunch. FEW’s Circle events are an opportunity to discuss topical issues with your peers.