Meet the Mentor: Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson, Managing Director of See Clearly Now

What’s a typical day like for you?

In a training room and then on pool deck with either lifeguards, duty supervisors, centre managers or senior management. I help them better understand the riddle of drowning prevention and what they can do better.

Tell us a little about your career?

Last year I was awarded the Excellence in Aquatic Safety by an individual. A pat on the head from a Royal Society is a great moment. Back in 2013 Pool Super Vision™ was awarded the Statewide Mutaul Risk Management Excellence Award. That was another good day. For something so good to come from lessons learnt on a day so dark was a huge moment for me. I remember walking down Pitt St in Sydney with my feet hardly touching the ground, and punching the air. People were looking at me wonder ‘what’s with that guy?’.

Can you share a little of what you think has been critical to your career success to date?

I like people and I’m a face to face kind of person. Other forms of communication often fall short and let you down. Regardless of the subject matter we’re talking about I always try to see the person inside the person I’m talking to. People like to be listened to, and they like to be made feel important. It costs nothing. I practice this with swimmers on pool deck, all the way to the top of large organisations. Long after people have forgotten what you said, they’ll remember they way you made them feel. I know it sounds cliched but invest in your relationships and this doesn’t mean you can’t have those difficult conversations.

What attracted you to the Mentor Program and the role of Mentor?

I love seeing people, especially young people, achieve something new. More so if they did it by some outside the box method. Given a challenge, we’re creative animals. I love seeing young people learn first hand what it is to collaborate and lead at the same time. Love it !

Can you tell us a little bit about the project your team will be completing?

My team are going to try and crack the nut that is attracting and retaining staff, especially young staff. We’d like to see more school leavers take up aquatics as a career and this will definitely benefit the whole industry.

What has been the most surprising part of the Mentor program to date or what have you found most interesting or exciting?

Sitting down and talking to my team face to face. I love getting them hyped up on an idea and getting them to see the fun elements we can introduce and that the sky truly is the limit. Young people are so keen if you take them to those places where it is possible to achieve something cool.

ARI thanks its partners in their generous support of the ARI Mentor Program and the aquatic and recreation industry.


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