Key Points:

Steve Tew
Chief executive, New Zealand Rugby Union

What was your first job?
The secretary-general of the New Zealand University Sports Union. That body organised university sport on a national basis, including tours of New Zealand university sides and the annual Easter, winter and ski tournaments that still go on today. I was 24 and had graduated with a masters in recreation and administration. I don't remember what I was paid, but it seemed like a lot then. I was there 1982 to 1987.

Did you enjoy it?
Thoroughly, five years of enjoyable work and social experiences. The university environment was invigorating. And it was my first job, so it was challenging. I worked for a board of volunteers and I got to visit seven campuses on a regular basis. We ran events around the country and I went to international events.

What did you learn?
I learnt planning and systems, attention to detail, to work hard. You had to be reasonably thick-skinned as there was an element of growing into a role, particularly where leadership was required.

What was your boss like?
My first boss was Phil Sowman, the volunteer president of that organisation . He was extremely supportive and remains a friend. A good guy who worked hard but let me get on with the job as the person paid to do it.

Why did you leave?
It was time to try something else and my partner and I decided to travel overseas.

Advice to someone starting out?
Work hard, ask questions, listen, build relationships, develop networks, push yourself hard. Have a bit of fun, celebrate successes, learn from your knocks.