MEET THE ELITE – JUSTIN TENBETH
NAME: Justin Tenbeth
NATIONALITY: New Zealand
AISTS CLASS: 2009
POSITION: Director, Global Membership System, World Taekwondo
One of the core components of the AISTS master’s program is the Team Project, where participants work together to solve a real-life brief from a sporting organisation. Class of 2009 alumni Justin Tenbeth had no idea that his team project would turn into a 10-year career with World Taekwondo (WT).
Originally tasked with finding a way to organise the federation’s extensive membership database, Justin now works as director of World Taekwondo Global Membership System.
From the original Team Project brief, Justin has built an in-house team of seven people, who together manage World Taekwondo’s database of over 100,000 members.
The project is now so big that the platform provider – Simply Compete in California – also has 10 full time engineers ensuring the system works seamlessly and grows with the federation’s ever-evolving needs.
Changing the federation from the inside out
“When I started there were only spreadsheet records of athlete information and results and ranking data were minimal,” says Justin. “My job was to centralise this not only for WT but also for our 210 Member National Associations (MNAs) to use with their respective regions and clubs.”
Justin spent almost eight years in Lausanne, Switzerland as manager of the project before moving to his current role of director. Now, Justin works from his home country New Zealand, travelling as needed.
But, as with any major change project, it has not come without its challenges.
“Getting digital adoption globally across multiple levels and changing people`s habits takes time and patience,” Justin explains. “But 10 years on, the persistence has paid off and the Global Membership Platform is growing rapidly. Results and rankings for all athletes now happens through the system and everyone who wants to participate requires the WT membership.”
The Global Membership System also handles over 100 WT and national events annually including council meetings, general assemblies, referee and coach seminars.
Why Justin chose to study at AISTS
For Justin the role is a dream come true and merges his passions for sports and technology. Prior to studying with AISTS he spent five years in Japan working as director of a sports and country club for expatriates.
“I was looking to expand my experience and upgrade my knowledge and the AISTS Masters seemed like the perfect fit,” Justin says. “A unique chance to base myself in the Olympic city of Lausanne, meet like-minded people and learn from a large range of speakers from all aspects of sports.”
Reflecting on his time at AISTS, Justin encourages students to make the most of the opportunity. “Get stuck in with any work experience you can get,” he says. “Network and learn from as many people as you can. And always be respectful to everyone.”
His final piece of advice? Never let anyone tell you something isn’t possible. “Go outside your comfort zone, find what you’re passionate about as that is sustainable and go for it,” he says. “Dream big and remember that you’re only limited by your imagination.”