Sonny Ogrodowski receiving an award for community leadership

Putting your work skills to use in the community can be a really satisfying experience, according to Senior Finance Analyst Sonny Ogrodowski. 

Four years ago, Sonny was asked to join the board of the South Adelaide Basketball Club, which her three children are members of. As Treasurer and Executive Board Member, Sonny has helped grow both membership and revenue for the club - achieving 15% year on year growth in profits and almost doubling membership.

"There were a lot of improvements to be made when I first joined the board," Sonny says. "Some of them were easy wins, but some of it has involved a lot of work over many hours over the past four years." 

Sonny is also the only female on the executive board, although she recently nominated a female for the position of Board Secretary following a resignation. 

Shona Joy Scholarship

Last year, Sonny was nominated and chosen for the Shona Joy Scholarship through Women in Sport Australia (SA Recipient). The scholarship helps make career development opportunities more readily available for women working in sport across Australia, including in volunteer roles. 

This scholarship includes one-on-one mentoring with a senior leader in the sports field. Initial conversations have included how to stay connected and build a strong network, and the importance of a good LinkedIn profile. 

"When you are part of the sporting world, you're often one of few women," Sonny says.

Having a network of people you can reach out to for advice or help is even more important as a female in this space.

Sonny says she also finds it challenging working as a volunteer when there are paid roles in the club. 

Sonny Ogrodowski with a NBI One award
Sonny is the only female on the South Adelaide Basketball Club executive board.

"It can be hard to know how proactive I can be and how much I can push employees to do what's best for the club," Sonny explains. 

Finance business partner in Ventia's Defence sector

Sonny works in Ventia's Defence business as a Finance business partner for the South Australian business and domestic services nationally. Her day sees her helping operational teams understand the systems and processes when it comes to finance, training new team members and refreshing existing ones and overseeing activities and performance to ensure Ventia meets financial commitments. 

"I may also train team members how to use the reporting tools, including our PowerBI dashboard," Sonny says.  

End of month is always the busiest time, as Sonny and the team pull together the month's financial results and provide input and advice into how the business can improve performance. 

Applying skills from the job to benefit the community

Something Sonny has learned in her time on the board is to take what she knows from her full-time role at Ventia and apply it to her volunteer work. 

"I think everyone at Ventia could do the same as I have," Sonny says.

We have valuable skills and experience we've worked hard to achieve in our day jobs. Take that and use it to benefit the community groups out there that may not have your level of expertise available to them.

"It can really help fuel your passion if, like me, you want to give back to the community you live in." 

Sonny Ogrodowski and her family sitting at a bonfire smiling at the camera
Sonny believes in fueling her passions to give back to the community. 

The team recently secured additional funding for expansion to the courts at the existing club location, giving them confidence they can continue to grow their membership base. 

Although Sonny was asked if she would take on the role of club President, she says she's chosen to wait another year as she has too much to do still as Treasurer. 

"My focus is on getting all the board members to treat this like they would any other business," she says. "The club may have been around since the 1950's but in many ways, we're still learning and improving every year." 


Top image: Sonny Ogrodowski receiving an award for community leadership