Name: Gráinne Barry
Job: VP Digital and Business Data Operations (Stats Perform) and Co-Founder of SportsTech Ireland
About your job?
At Stats Perform, I run core business operations, including Digital Ops & Business Intelligence, QMS (Quality Management System) which oversees the quality of all our sports data, and Video and Coverage operations, I’ve worked at Stats Perform since 2017 and have had many roles here and have been supported to do new things.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love the variety of people, teams and functions that I get to work with every day, and that there are always new challenges and problems to solve. I’m driven by doing things better, so working in operations is a great fit for my personality, skills and experience.
What made you interested in going into this type of work (when you first started out in your career)?
I did Computer Science for A-Level and was always interested in technology and how things work, so from early on I was drawn to tech companies. By nature, I am business and operations orientated, so my career has predominantly been in operations within tech companies. I have always loved sport, as a player, a parent, a fan, a coach – all kinds of sport – so getting to work in a sports technology company is a great fit for me.
Why did you start SportsTech Ireland?
I started SportsTech Ireland in 2017 about a year before I joined Stats Perform. It is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the development of the sports innovation industry within Ireland. The idea was to represent, connect and grow a new industry within Ireland. We are lucky to have many sports technology companies with bases in Ireland including Fitbit, DraftKings, EA Games (as well as Stats Perform), plus a vibrant entrepreneurial and start up community of companies. It’s a purpose-driven passion project when I’m not working, and that has real grass-roots impact on the industry.
What advice would you give women wanting to do what you do?
Find a mentor / sponsor, someone who has walked the path before you and who is happy to help you… or a tribe. Understand that it’s not easy – the sports tech industry is historically a male-dominated industry, so you have to get used to pushing a rock up a hill of unconscious bias. I’m lucky in that I work in a company with a positive diversity focus and most, importantly, focus on building a strong network.
What advice would you like to give the 25-year-old you?
Stop second guessing yourself and just have a go! Follow your instincts and focus on the strengths you have rather than any weaknesses. I have a strong work ethic, and opportunities are always there for people who work hard.
Highlight anyone who has acted as a role model or inspiration.
Working in the sport industry, there are lots of inspiring people. It is hard to pass Serena Williams, not only for her competitive record, but also her leadership and vision for women in sport, not least the investment in Angel City in the NWSL. Definitely one to watch in the future.
More recently, Rachel Blackmore, the Irish Jockey the 1st female jockey to win the Aintree Grand National, who, in an instant, was able to focus her achievement as an athlete and not on gender with the quote: ‘I don’t feel male or female right now. I don’t even feel human!”
In Ireland, we had an inspiring campaign championing women and girls in sport, called 20×20, which focused on driving 20% visibility for women’s sport by end 2020.
‘If you can’t be it, you can’t see it’ and definitely one that applies to sport and business. Definitely one that SBC are helping with here today!