Staff Spotlight: Lori Chizik
Lori Chizik is Wesley’s Head Coach of Basketball, whose coaching credentials speak for themselves: an assistant coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympics for the silver medal-winning Opals, Head Coach of Nunawading and Bulleen in the WNBL, involvement at the Dandenong and McKinnon basketball associations, and the first female to be an assistant coach in the NBL.
‘To last as long as I have with one employer/school, two things must happen – you must love what you do and enjoy the people you do it with. I have been very fortunate to work at Wesley and experience both these things,’ says Lori.
As Head Coach of Basketball, Lori believes in creating an environment where students feel that they have improved as individuals as well as a team. In addition, mentoring the coaches to enable them to advance their coaching and life skills is one of her key roles at Wesley.
Her coaching values include professionalism, integrity, passion, and a strong work ethic. ‘Add to that a sense of humour and a dose of empathy and you have built a strong culture – which we have with the basketball program here at this great school’, says Lori.
A true trailblazer for women in basketball, Lori has used and built upon these values through her coaching across many levels of basketball - school, club, state, international, men/women, boys/girls. Interestingly, she never planned on shaping her career around being a basketball coach as it was something that just evolved.
Lori’s passion for travel was fulfilled through basketball. She was involved with the Australian National team as an assistant coach for four years and travelled through much of Europe, China, Japan, USA and went to the World Championships in Turkey and the Olympics in Rio.
Her motto has always been ‘getting out of the comfort zone’. It’s something she’s done repeatedly throughout her career and it’s her key advice to players and coaches.
Lori was also the Head Coach of the Indonesian National Women’s team and spent six months living, coaching and travelling across much of Asia. ‘Again, in Indonesia, I was the first female to hold this role. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think of all the places I have travelled to as a result of basketball!’
Along with representing Australia at the Rio Olympics (2016), one of her other proudest accomplishments to date is being the first female coach in the NBL, Australia’s men’s professional league. Sport is a highly visible and powerful force today and she feels addressing the glaring issue of dwindling female coaches across the spectrum of sport is a must.
Lori has been reiterating the need to see female coaches as coaches first, and not female coaches. She also strongly feels the opportunity for women to be considered in more leadership roles is vital, given the general participation through junior ranks especially is close to evenly spread between boys and girls.
‘It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, it’ll take time, but I think now is just such a great time to be putting these ideas out there because of the groundswell of girls in sport, women in sport and women in leadership roles,’ she explains.
Outside the world of basketball, Lori loves spending time with family, friends and starting her day walking her dog Buster.
‘Family and friends are everything to me and many colleagues I have worked with over my journey at Wesley have become lifelong friends. I feel so fortunate to be able to say I love what I do and working at Wesley has played a major role in allowing me to follow my career in basketball coaching.’