- Claire Polosak, the first ever female umpire in Australian men’s List A cricket history talks about challenging stereotypes, pushing past self-stigma and building mentally resilient leaders - on and off the field.
Claire, a former high school teacher and now Cricket NSW’s Female Umpire Engagement
Officer, learnt the power of mental resilience early on in her career where she experienced
sexism and negative stereotyping by a male coach in the UK, who excluded her from
umpiring a boy’s school cricket team because she was a female.
“To experience this mentality first hand was a big shock. It made me question my ability,
and doubt my career aspiration to be an umpire … but it didn’t stop me,” said Claire.
“I have always made sure that I have surrounded myself with a support network who
helped me remain resilient and allowed me to bounce back and work twice as hard to
break the mould,” added Claire.
On 8 October 2017, at the JLT One-Day Cup match, 29-year old Claire led the charge for
women in cricket, stepping into unchartered territory in the men’s game and becoming the
first ever List A female umpire in Australian cricket history after years of “chipping away at
“I never thought a girl from Goulburn would be entrusted with such a great opportunity. It
was an extremely special and humbling moment for me … one that took nine years of
determination and dedication,” said Claire.
“It has not always been easy paving a path … and I’m not ashamed to admit I have had
low points and battled anxiety before umpiring games because of the self-stigma and
pressure I put on myself. I’ve had to overcome personal and professional barriers
continually … and doing that can affect your mental wellbeing if you don’t build the mental
muscle,” added Claire.
Failing to build the “mental muscle” is costing Australian businesses $10.9 billion every
single year*, with consequences including high staff turnover, impact on staff engagement, increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and expensive compensation claims or fines
for breaching legislation.
"Pressures on the field and in business are rising, with 92% of mental disorder claims
attributed to work related mental stress**. Leaders in every field need to focus on building
mental resilience in order to survive and thrive in their industry,” said Matthew Bacon,
CEO, JLT Benefit Solutions and Recovre.
Claire attributes her success to building mental resilience from a young age and advises
future leaders to learn to love failure, visualise success, tackle adversity strategically in
“bite size chunks”, have a strong support network and invest in evidence based mental and
“Like any muscle, mental resilience can be built - it’s just about knowing how. Recovre, a JLT Group company, specialises in training and consultation, with a team of Allied Health
(including Psychologists and Rehabilitation Counsellors) and Workplace Health and Safety
(WHS) specialists that provide a range of best practice wellbeing programs to meet
workplace requirements. For athletes and corporate employees, adversity can strike at any
time, whether it is a physical or psychological injury … what’s important is how we deal
with these setbacks,” said Matthew Bacon.
“Being mentally resilient, you are equipped with the skill and speed to bounce back, push
boundaries and break barriers whether in the boardroom or on the field like Claire.”
JLT is the official risk partner of Cricket Australia.
*PWC 2014, Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis, Sydney, viewed 9
October 2017, https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-
**National Occupational Health and Safety Commission 2014, National data set for compensation-based
statistics, Canberra, viewed 9 October 2017,
- ENDS -
INTERVIEWS AND ENQUIRIES:
Name: Diya Ingleshwar, Public Relations and Communications Executive, JLT
Phone: 02 9290 8075 / 0409 369 557
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Jardine Lloyd Thompson
Jardine Lloyd Thompson is one of the world’s leading providers of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. JLT’s client proposition is built upon its deep specialist knowledge, client advocacy, tailored advice and service excellence.
JLT is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and owns offices in 40 territories with more than 10,600 employees. Supported by the JLT International Network, it offers risk management and employee benefit solutions in 135 countries.
For further information about JLT, please visit our website www.jlt.com
About JLT Australia
JLT Australia operates out of more than 22 offices across Australia with over 1,000 industry professionals. Backed by its global risk groups, JLT Australia is uniquely structured to provide innovative insurance, risk management and employee benefits solutions to companies and individuals in all states and territories.
JLT Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc.
For further information about JLT Australia, please visit our website www.au.jlt.com