HERA- Michelle Au Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Badminton NZ

by Aktive
Published on Monday 13 December, 2021
Hera Profile Amber Website Img (2)

Photo by:Sophea Ngoun

I was born and bred in Adelaide, Australia (please don’t hold it against me!) and was introduced to badminton when I was 10 years old at our local badminton club.

Despite being terrible at the sport for many years, I continued to attend Junior Club and entered various events. At age 15, I had developed more co-ordination and made the South Australian Junior State team. Unfortunately for my parents, I fell in love with the sport and continued to represent our state and travel around Australia.

In addition to playing, I also coached and managed state and national teams. This led me to a part-time role as Development Officer for Badminton South Australia. As part of this role, I travelled to New Zealand for a Shuttle Time Conference where I met the team at Badminton New Zealand and my (now) boyfriend.

Fast forward a couple years, I have worked as an Events Co-ordinator and Para badminton Coach at Badminton New Zealand, travelling to and from national events and para training camps. I now work as the organisation's Diversity and Inclusion Manager!

What does it mean to you to be physically active?

It’s such an important part of life!

It’s so important for mental strength and clarity, whether it’s persevering through a workout or clearing your head after a stressful week. I love how it looks different for every person, at different stages of their life.

How does being physically active make you feel?

It makes me feel successful and grateful!

I can tell you now, not every workout is going to be easy or “look good”, but reflect on your achievements, no matter how small, and celebrate what our bodies are capable of doing!
What is your favourite part about your role as Diversity and Inclusion Manager?

Crazy question… I love all parts of my role as Diversity and Inclusion Manager!

My role focuses heavily on Para badminton, engaging the Asian community, and digital campaigns. These all intersect with one another and allow me to use my skills to advocate for underrepresented groups and improve participation opportunities for them in Badminton.

I’m fortunate that Badminton New Zealand has enabled me to create diverse and inclusive content, raise awareness and share our important work within the badminton community across Aotearoa, New Zealand. I’m always learning and coming up with innovative ideas – it keeps me on my toes!

How do you overcome setbacks?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have a cry! I think (given time and place) that is perfectly OK. The key is being able to pick yourself up, shake off the emotions and come up with a new plan of attack.

I’d also add that playing some Beyoncé in the background goes down a treat!

What are the key factors that have enabled you, and continue to enable you to be physically active?

Good company for sure! There’s nothing I love more than a sweaty women’s doubles match or a long walk and talk with friends. Also, I’m one of those people who are more likely to try a new sport or physical activity if I’m doing it with a friend.  

What advice would you give young women and girls looking to get physically active?
  1. Find something you enjoy! This might mean trying new and different sports and physical activities before you find what’s right for you.

  2. Don’t be afraid to try things more than once, even if you hated it the first time, because (like tastebuds) our preferences change.
Where can young women and girls go to find more information on Badminton?

Check us out online using @badmintonnewzealand on socials or go over to our website to find your local Badminton Association!

Don’t be afraid to reach out, slide into the DMs or make an enquiry with me on michelle@badminton.org.nz.

Another option is popping into your local Badminton Centre with a couple of friends for some fun!

Cover Photo By: Wuttipat Jirawanitcharoen [https://www.wuttipatjirawan.com/]