Steven Drake is one of those people who seems to achieve success at everything that he turns his hand to.
He combined a double university degree with an ever-upwards road cycling trajectory that saw him become Australian road champion, race internationally and represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
Then he seamlessly shifted gears into the corporate world, rising through two decades of hard work to Managing Director level of the world’s largest private bank.
For his next trick, Steven returned to Australia and united 18 separate cycle sport entities across three diverse disciplines into a single body. This was such a rare and remarkable sports transformation that has been written about extensively, not just in sporting media but in the financial and management media worlds.
In this episode, we focus upon this third chapter in Steven’s life, why he thought it was important to tackle such a daunting feat, what benefits for all forms of cycling Australia-wide that he hopes unification will achieve and what he thinks the next steps should be.
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Read the Transcript
About Steven Drake
Steven Drake is most recently known for his role as the CEO and Managing Director of Cycling Australia, as he lead the organisation into a major restructuring and transformation into the newly formed AusCycling. Acting as Interim CEO of AusCycling for its first three months, he handed the role over to Marne Fechner in February 2021.
Steve is a former national level cyclist and the 1993 Australian Road Champion.
He represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in 1994.
In his business career, Steve was managing director of UBS Investment Bank. He provided strategic and financial advice, primarily to corporate clients in Australia and internationally.
Steven is now back on his bike, enjoying riding whilst looking for his next challenge.
Episode Summary Notes
Steven Draken begins with a short summary of his cycling career which included riding in the 1994 Commonwealth Games before a bout of glandular fever helped him decide it was time to move on. Moving from Australia to London and then onto Hong Kong, Steven’s career as a Managing Director of investment bank USB, gave him the experience of coordinating and managing large teams.
Looking for something a little different, he stumbled across Cycling Australia. Beginning his term as a board member, it wasn’t long before he was offered the role of CEO, particularly with a view to initiating change in the way cycling organizations in Australia were structured. Taking a business view of all 19 of the major cycling organisations in Australia, Steven spearheaded the incredibly difficult challenge of identifying commonalities and sharing the vision to strategically align the efforts of the small, fragmented and under-resourced individual entities, into one industry-leading body.
Steven takes us deep into the mindset and the principles behind why the fragmented and federated model of the past was never going to achieve the big picture vision that each organisation stood for. He shares some of the stories of resistance and how comparing the principles of other large sports organisations like the AFL or swimming had a better impact on community participation, funding and ultimately advocacy for the sports. He delves further into how viewing AusCycling as a sporting organisation is not accurate, with the rise of cycling becoming an everyday activity for everyday Australians.
Steven finishes off this compelling interview with the reasons behind why he ultimately stepped away from the role as CEO of the new AusCycling organisation and how the new AusCycling model will help move cycling advocacy even further along than ever before.