Interview with #RYG17 mentor Nemesha Balasundaram
Kick It Out is hosting its seventh annual Raise Your Game national conference on Monday 24 April at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, providing a unique opportunity for individuals looking to break into the football industry.
Supported by the Premier League, the mentoring event will welcome over 300 mentees to the Woolwich Suite as they seek advice from experienced mentors to learn more about careers within the sport.
Ahead of the conference, Charlie Mackinnon spoke to Nemesha Balasundara, Sub-editor at Sky Sports News, who will be mentoring the Media and Communications category, on how her experience at Raise Your Game in 2014, enabled her to achieve a career in the industry.
By Charlie MacKinnon
Three years ago, Nemesha Balasundaram attended Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game event at Wembley Stadium. Now working as a sub-editor at Sky Sports News, she will be sitting on the other side of the table as a mentor at next week’s event, and spoke of how highly she would recommend it for people looking to work in the sporting industry.
“I’d gone into law and realised that career just wasn’t for me. Journalism was what I always wanted to do, as with any career change you must start working your way up,” she explained.
“I realised I didn’t have any connections within journalism or media. I didn’t know anyone, I had no peers, no people my age to speak to, no community of people.”
Nemesha began her journalism career at The Irish Post after receiving her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with News Associates in 2015; the same year she won the NCTJ’s Trainee Sports Journalism Award and was also nominated for Young Sports Writer of the Year at the Sports Journalists’ Association awards.
The Raise Your Game event is something she is extremely glad she attended back in 2014, as it led to her creating several contacts in the industry.
“I saw an advert online on social media, and just thought to myself ‘This is a great opportunity’. It was close to me, being at Wembley Stadium, and it seemed to me that it would be a great networking experience.
“I wanted to build up my own network of people, to broaden my horizons, and honestly just to speak to people.
“I’m incredibly glad I took part in it, journalism is an industry where you’re constantly working with people and talking to people. You realise it’s a smaller industry once you’re in it, it’s the same people, the same faces.”
Her job at Sky Sports News involves producing video content for the TV channel across a variety of sports including football, cricket, boxing and Formula 1, as well as writing stories and TV scripts to strict deadlines.
“I think the one-to-one mentoring was incredibly useful. Going in there with an idea of a few of the people’s backgrounds helped as well so you can target specific questions.
“It was the one-to-one experiences that were most beneficial to me. One-to-one makes you feel almost part of a family, a community experience.
“I met Dharmesh (Sheth) for example, a reporter for Sky Sports News; I just started speaking to him and he put me in contact with several different people following that day.
“I saw him two-and-a-half years later when I started at Sky Sports News and he remembered me, it just gave me a lot of encouragement. It’s an opportunity to speak to people who do what you dream of doing, understanding their journey and the fact everyone’s journey is different.”
She advised anyone attending to research the mentors, and plan questions they want to ask as the mentors strive to help the next generations of industry leaders.
“It was a really good experience to build my confidence personally; to feel like people believe I can do it, to validate all of my goals and ambitions.
“It’s amazing, the mentors really are there to help, they’re not there to just sit around for the day. They care.”