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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

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Tessa Sanderson C.B.E - Olympic Gold Medallist

ImageI was educated at……

  • Wards Bridge High. Then went on to college to gain a further degree.

My first job was……

  • Office junior for six weeks, then went on to become a secretary.

What I do now is……

  • Talent Management Lead Officer for the Newham Unit for the 2012 Olympic Games Sports Academy

Tessa Sanderson is one of the UK’s best known and well-loved athletes. Tessa has competed in six Olympic Games, winning a gold medal in the javelin event in 1984. Tessa has won many other major medals including three times Commonwealth Gold and a World Cup Gold in Cuba in 1990. During her 26 years competing for Great Britain, Tessa was voted Sports Personality of the Year and Athlete of the Year (3 times) by the Athletics Writers Association.

Tessa holds two Honorary Fellowship Degrees, one from South Bank University in London in 2004, and one from Wolverhampton Polytechnic. She also has an honorary Masters Degree from Birmingham University. Having retired from competitive athletics in 1997, she still remains the only female athlete to win an Olympic gold throwing medal for Great Britain. Tessa continues to work with various Charities such as the Variety Club of Great Britain, Breast Cancer awareness, every year supports Black History Month and other Black and Ethnic initiatives and is patron to Jamaica Basic Schools a Charity for Underprivileged children in Jamaica.

In the March 2004 New Years Honours list Tessa Sanderson was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her services to sport. Prior to the CBE she was the recipient of an OBE and in 1985 was awarded the MBE for winning her Olympic Gold Medal for Great Britain in Los Angeles. In October 2004 Tessa was awarded the Sunday Times Life Times Achievement Award for her dedication to sport.

Tessa has been appointed to head the Newham 2012 Sports Academy to find new talent to train under experienced coaches for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What I learned along the way is……

  • Knowing 100% about the job is imperative; always to be very professional in decision making on the job and in the recruitment of any person looking to work with the Academy

My greatest influence has been…….

  • Having a very positive and supportive family background. Whilst in the early years of my career, my PE teacher. Outside of this, total self belief and going after the challenges that I set myself.

The best advice I ever received is……

  • ‘Always have confidence. In everything that you set out to achieve, think before you do it – and that good communication skills are imperative!
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