General Manager: Participation & Community Strategy, Athletics Australia

Adam Bishop

Years at WHS
• 1996 – 2000

Journey after School
I graduated from Willunga High School in 2000, in the same year, winning the Australian All Schools 800m National Title in Athletics. After graduating, I went on to study a Bachelor of Education at Flinders University and continued to compete in athletics, winning several state titles and national medals. After graduating from Flinders, I went to college in the United States on an athletics scholarship where I also completed a Masters degree in Sports Administration. Shortly after graduating from college, I represented Australia at the World University Cross Country Championships.

Career highlights
In 2008, at 25 years of age, I was appointed to the CEO role at Athletics South Australia. I remained in this role until 2017 when I was approached to step in to the Interim High Performance Director role at Athletics Australia. This role included Australia’s successful 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign. Following the Games, I was appointed to the role of General Manager of Participation and Community Strategy as part of Athletics Australia’s executive team.

I am also a fellow of the renowned Governor’s Leadership Foundation program and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I currently sit on the Board of Community Living Options – an organisation operating in the disability services sector in South Australia.

Favourite Subject at WHS & why
Physical education. I’ve always loved sport and physical activity, as well as learning about the body. Inherently, I also knew that being active would help me learn and perform better in other subjects in the classroom that didn’t necessary come as naturally to me such as maths! It’s something that’s still important to me today. Exercising helps me perform better in my job and manage stress. Balance is really important.

Favourite School memory
There are probably too many to single one out. I recall the environment at WHS being very supportive. We had some great teachers who encouraged students to do their best and pursue what interested them. I was very self-motivated which helped, but the school was always really supportive of my sport and of achieving academically too. I do remember in year 9 that a teacher told my mum that I should aim to go to university. At that stage, I probably didn’t really know what uni was, but that planted a seed that no doubt has lead me down the path of where I’m at now.

Advice for students
Pursue what interests you and work hard. There’s a lot of pressure to decide what you want to do as a career when you are at school. When I graduated, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, so I went and studied teaching at uni, majoring in Physical Education and English. I got about half way through the degree and realised that I couldn’t see myself doing this as a career, but I finished the degree as I knew it would be handy in the future. I think the biggest thing I’d take away from being at WHS is that if you work hard and own your choices, you can achieve great things. I’m really proud of the fact that I went to a public school. Whilst I now live in Melbourne, I get back to Adelaide often to visit family and friends. Willunga still feels like home and I often think back on my time at WHS and how it started me on the journey to experience all of the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to have.