What Business Leaders Can Learn From Elite Sport Athletes | Beyond Borders Ep. 002

April 30th, 2024

In the second instalment of Beyond Borders, Andrew Fahey, the CEO of Briars and host of the Beyond Borders podcast, speaks to Jodie Cunningham and Emily Rudge, professional rugby players who play for the Super League team St Helens Saints and also represent their national team, England.

In the conversation, we pose the question: what can we as global business leaders learn from these elite level athletes who have led both their club and country on the international stage?

You can watch the full video conversation on YouTube (below), or listen on Spotify. Clips from the podcast will also be shared on the Briars LinkedIn page.

About Jodie Cunningham

Jodie Cunningham is a talented English rugby league player renowned for her versatility as a fullback or loose forward. She plays for St Helens in the Women’s Super League at club level, and also represents England on the international stage. Cunningham’s leadership qualities were evident when she served as vice-captain during the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, which followed her joining the newly-formed St Helens women’s team in 2018.

In the 2019 season, Cunningham took on the role of co-captain for St Helens. 2021 proved to be a triumphant year for Cunningham as she assumed the captaincy, guiding her team to achieve the prestigious treble, a feat unprecedented since the inception of the Women’s Super League. Adding to her accolades, Cunningham was honoured as the 2021 Woman of Steel.

About Emily Rudge

Emily Rudge is a second-row player for St Helens Women in the Women’s Super League. Rudge’s journey in rugby league began with a local Warrington club before she made her mark with Thatto Heath Crusaders. She made her debut with the England women’s national rugby league team age of 16, debuting in 2008.

In 2011, Rudge celebrated success as part of the Warrington team that clinched victory in the Championship Final of the Women’s Rugby League Conference. Her leadership qualities shone through as she was appointed captain of the England team for pivotal matches, including the test match against France at the end of the 2018 season and the prestigious World 9s tournament in Australia in October 2019. In November 9, 2019, Rudge etched her name in rugby league history by becoming the first England player to score four tries in a test match against Papua New Guinea, securing a memorable 24–10 victory.

Leadership in Sport and Business

As was discussed during the podcast, global leadership is a major theme we will be exploring as we share this episode and the clips we will share as a result.

In particular, the conversation revolved around elite sport, performing at the highest level for professional sporting clubs like St Helens Saints and the England international team, and how lessons can be learned and applied by business leaders. Another key topic was women in leadership, and how role models like Jodie and Emily are reshaping conversations in previously male-dominated spaces.

Make sure you follow Jodie and Emily below:

Jodie Cunningham on Instagram

Emily Rudge on Instagram

St Helen’s Womens Team on Instagram

England Rugby on Instagram

Shaun Cumming

Shaun is Head of Marketing at Briars, bringing 15 years of content and marketing leadership experience from his time at global financial services firms such as BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Brooks Macdonald and Investec. At Briars, his mission is to tell the story of our company and its people, as well as to shape the brand as we head into a new phase of growth. Shaun is leading the talented marketing team and is a member of our Senior Leadership Team.