‘My heart was definitely pumping when it was announced’
JACK Hughes has enjoyed sporting success at a high level, captaining the Australian under-19 touch team to victory in the 2017 Youth Trans-Tasman Test Series.
But that grand achievement was surpassed this week when he was named Best Young Manager in the Keno and Clubs Queensland Awards for Excellence.
Jack was just 21 when he was appointed general manager of the Rocky Sports Club when it opened in April 2018.
It his two years at the helm he has helped it develop into a vital community hub, which now boasts more than 20,000 members, more than 50 staff and 75 affiliated sporting clubs and associations.
He said he was thrilled to be recognised.
"It's pretty surreal. My heart was definitely pumping when it was announced," he said.
"I'm super proud to be rewarded with something like this and I'm super grateful as well.
"I couldn't have done it without the support of the team at the club and our thousands of members.
"This award is definitely up there among my greatest achievements and having it behind me will help propel me further in my career."
Jack dreamed of being a sports psychologist and did a degree in exercise and sports science.
He started working as a personal trainer and was then appointed manager at Lionheart Fitness, which was owned by Gavin Shuker, the co-founder of the Rocky Sports Club.
Jack was 12 when he first met Gavin through touch. He could never have foreseen how great an influence he would have on his sporting and working life.
It was Gavin who offered him the role of GM at the club.
"It was a massive opportunity that he gave me," Jack said.
"It was a big role and a bit of an unknown, given I didn't have much experience in the club management side of things.
"It was pretty exciting but there was a lot to learn very quickly.
"Gavin has been an incredible mentor for me. He brought me through the ranks in touch and has guided me through my business career as well.
"He has taught me so much, and his support has been incredible."
The award submission from the Rocky Sports Club said Jack had developed into an "exceptional leader" and his desire and determination to succeed, learnt somewhat from his sporting achievements, had been translated into business success.
Gavin said the Rocky Sports Club family was proud of Jack's achievements.
"To say Jack deserves this award is an understatement. His work ethic and appetite to learn is something that few people possess and to help a community club go from nothing to the position it is in now is something that should not be underestimated," he said.
Jack said he always considered himself a go-getter, someone who was always striving to be better in everything he does.
"At school I was getting A-plus in business but I never thought to pursue it as a career.
"Once I got into this position and into business I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."