Aug 01, 2023

Adi Down Under: How a Group of adidas Employees Experienced the FIFA Women’s World Cup

At adidas we live and breathe sport, that’s why we decided to send 23 lucky employees to the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the trip of a lifetime.
by Sophia Obrechteditor

If you have a passion for sport, there is no better place to be than inside 3-Stripes. From athlete visits to watching sports matches in the office or working out in your lunch break – it’s easy to become immersed in the world of sport the moment you arrive at any adidas location.

For the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, we were determined to take this level of immersion to the next level, so we sent a group of lucky employees to experience the tournament on the ground in Sydney with an all-expenses paid trip. This was their chance to soak up the energy, watch Australia’s opening game, and meet with employees from all corners of the world in a celebration of football and women’s sport.

This is their journey to the tournament and beyond.

Go behind the scenes of our winners' trip to Sydney

Finding our lucky winners

The first challenge was assembling the group. “Among our global employees, we have a whole host of sports enthusiasts. So, ensuring our ///-team had a fair shot at victory, and we send those who know how to convey a story to take their colleagues with them to Sydney, was key. We took a unique approach as we handed voting power to the people and challenged our employees to get creative to showcase how badly they wanted to win,” says Tanja Kaiser, our Director Internal Communication, who orchestrated the project.

“And the submissions speak for themselves: From poems, to videos, songs, and artwork, our people went above and beyond sharing their creatives via our intranet, where their colleagues had the important task of voting for their winners by liking and commenting on each post.”

After two weeks of intense competition filled to the brim with passion, voting closed and we set about counting the votes to find our winners representing each market from across the company. After careful counting we found our champions and so the journey began.

"I was in the store preparing some documents and reports, I was shocked when I read the email about winning the Sydney trip and it was surreal indeed."

Ryan RodriguezaSupervisor, Global Sales

Our winners touch down

Following weeks of planning, a heap of visa applications, and final flight bookings our winners made it down under, landing in Sydney in the week leading up to Australia’s opening match on 20th July, 2023.

“Arriving on day one was an exhilarating experience. As I set foot in the host city, anticipation and excitement bubbled within me. The prospect of witnessing the world’s greatest female footballers in action sent a rush of adrenaline through my veins.” Bassel Hamieh, Technology Analyst

"As I set foot in the host city, anticipation and excitement bubbled within me."

DaBassel HamiehTechnology Analyst

With employees from across the globe, many of our winners had travelled far and wide, but as we sat down for dinner on our first day, the energy was high, and the hum of conversation lifted everyone. Names were exchanged and exchanged twice more until we all knew who was who, and how far each of us had travelled. One thing was clear: this week was going to be unforgettable, and it was this group of people that would make it so.

“The first day was kind of hard for me because I got to Sydney at 11 AM, from a journey that lasted around two and a half days! In any case, I was still motivated to enjoy all this journey was going to bring. We had a dinner to get to know all the contest winners. It was fantastic to see a table of people from different countries and cultures getting to know each other.” Andreas Cruz, Specialist Accounts Payable

Welcome to Country

After a restful night’s sleep for some – and an early morning wake up for those recovering from jetlag – it was time to kick off the week. While this trip was about meeting new people and exploring a new city, above all, it was about promoting women’s football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup with the help of our 23 employee winners! What better way to spread the hype around the tournament across our global team, then by bringing our employees on the journey with us and asking them to share their experience of Sydney and the tournament with their peers.

Our team, briefed and ready to capture their World Cup week in Sydney.Our team, briefed and ready to capture their World Cup week in Sydney.

“The openness as well as kindness and positivity we all share is truly inspiring. We already became friends within the first hours shared. I love that on the one hand we are so different, but on the other hand we are all the same. That is what I love about adidas and sports the most – it unites us in what we share instead of separating us by what we differ in.” Daniel Dindas, Product Manager

"We already became friends within the first hours shared."

Daniel DindasProduct Manager

Like any sports team, we gathered our players together for a pre-tournament briefing, but not before experiencing an important tradition in Australia. The ‘Welcome to Country’.

Welcome to Country (or Acknowledgement to Country) is a ceremony performed at the start of an event to acknowledge that it is taking place on traditional Aboriginal lands. Country is the modern Aboriginal term for Australia and any words of welcome pay respects to the indigenous people of Australia. Given that the tournament is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and that our Pacific team is made up of both countries, it was important that we also recognised Māori people who are indigenous to Aotearoa. Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand.

We were honored to see Ariana Stephens, our winner from Aotearoa New Zealand and proud Māori woman, perform this Welcome to Country, the perfect introduction to this important custom. You can see the text read as part of the Welcome to Country below.

“I would like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are meeting and to pay my respects to Elders both past and present and extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people from Australia. In recognition that we are a bi-national team, I would also like to pay my respects to Māori as Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa”

Ariana finished with a mihi which is a tribute in Māori.

"E mihi ana ki te whenua tuarikura. E mihi ana ki ōna kaitiaki E tangi ana ki āna iwi maha."

I acknowledge Country, those who are her guardians, and those who are her peoples

Introducing adidas Pitt Street

Following the beautiful welcome, it was time to get down to business. From running through our agenda, to explaining our goals for the trip, and finally going through the best tips and tricks for content creation, our employee influencers were ready to go!

We kicked off the week with a tour of the brand new adidas Sydney brand centre store.
The store was truly incredible, and we were eager to capture each design element.
Market expert Elena greeted our winners at the store to share insights about adidas Pacific.

First stop, our trade zone tour and Sydney brand centre visit! Joined by Manager, Key Account Sales Elena Kambas, our employees gained a deeper understanding of Pacific as a market and our consumers in the region. As we walked through Sydney’s busy CBD shopping area, we arrived at our brand new adidas store, the 3-Stripes shining bright as we walked through the door.

“I was really impressed with the artwork throughout the store. It provided great inspiration for the brand and customers visiting the store, and I couldn’t help but take pictures. I loved the sculpture called ‘Invented Opera’, which was inspired by the opera house.” Dan Kye, Sr Manager, District, Global Sales

"I loved the sculpture called 'Invented Opera', which was inspired by the opera house."

Dan KyeSr Manager, District, Global Sales

Located at 130 Pitt Street at the heart of the city, the store’s design is a fusion of art and culture, inspired by Sydney and its iconic surroundings. The space features works by artists Benja Harney, Bianca Beers, Elliott Routledge, and Kris Andrew Small, who used their creativity to pay homage to Sydney’s famous landscapes, including Bondi Beach, the Australian Outback, and the country’s native flora.

The store spans two floors, with the ground level reserved for Sportswear and Performance products, including the adidas by Stella McCartney Collection. While upstairs is home to the iconic Originals range featuring a striking ‘blue room’ to reflect the signature Originals blue. It’s safe to say it was this part of the store that struck our employees the most.

The mesmerising "blue room" showcasing adidas Originals products.The mesmerising "blue room" showcasing adidas Originals products.

"The Blue room was a standout for me, it had the premium look and feel of Originals and offers dynamism to the store."

Lara BeanSenior Manager Operations & Digital

The victory bus tour

With a greater understanding of the Pacific market, it was time to see the sights of Sydney. Bring on day three and a sightseeing bus tour around Sydney. From the iconic Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and down to Bondi, what better way to hype our employees up and they were ready to capture the experience.

Like any great football team, we made sure our winners got their victory lap on an open top bus.
We made sure to hit up Bondi Beach, an iconic surf and swim paradise.
Views from across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Clear blue skies and bright smiles made this bus ride pure joy.

“The weather was absolutely perfect for our city tour. The bus has an upper level with an open top. We were able to experience Sydney with the warm Australian sun on our faces – it was great. The best part was stopping off at Bondi Beach. It brought a smile to my face to see how amazed everyone was by the scenery. Eddee and Joao even braved the freezing cold water for a swim, and I couldn’t believe their courage – I could never do that!” Elise Zinna, Sr. Specialist e-Com Onsite Conversion

"BONDI BEACH! I went swimming in the ocean with a fellow colleague Joao. It was the most YOLO thing we did, and it was certainly my highlight of the entire trip. No videos to prove it but hey, best things in life are never captured on film."

Eddee PehSenior Manager - Legal Counsel

Talking business

As part of this World Cup experience, our winners were given the opportunity to meet leadership teams from the region to talk business, network, and gain some nuggets of wisdom from across our organisation.

Hosted at a rotating restaurant with a changing vantage point of Sydney’s skyline, each table mixed employees from around the world with our leaders. The main topic of discussion the Women’s World Cup and how adidas as a brand planned to show up and amplify the women’s game and our athletes. From the local activations to big picture discussions on the grass root game, it was great to see the passion and commitment of our 3-Stripes team, true football fans on each and every table.

our winners had the chance to meet adidas leaders from across the region at a rotating
Our winners enjoying a changing vantage point of Sydney after dark.

“Today, I immersed myself in the breathtaking places of Sydney, from its sun-kissed Bondi Beach to the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, topping it off with an incredible dinner, defined the richness of my day. Feeling completely blessed and privilege for having the opportunity to meet, learn and be inspired by leaders, like Frederic Serrant.” Janiana Borges, Manager Visual Excellence

"Feeling completely blessed and privilege for having the opportunity to meet, learn and be inspired by leaders"

Janiana BorgesManager Visual Excellence

Match day

Day four and it’s match day! From the moment we left the hotel lobby to entering the stadium, our employees were busy capturing the atmosphere and energy. On the ride to the stadium, we sat amongst Irish and Australian fans, a sea of many shades of green, gold, and orange moving through the train.

There is a friendly glow with families grouped together on their way to support their teams, children, young girls, a new generation ready to take in this historic moment.

Kitted out in green and gold we were ready to cheer on the Australian side.
Some of us were louder supporters of the Australian side than others, all were hyped to see the tournament hosted in the Pacific region.
Moments before kick-off and our excitement was building.
Pre-game atmosphere would not be complete without a crowded train ride with rival fans cheering for the other team.

It’s electrifying to be part of and as we walk up towards the stadium the sounds get bolder, louder, more defined, drums beating, dancing. In the distance people step up to an adidas booth, each walking away with a bright gold and green branded World Cup cape to keep them warm on this winter evening down under.

"The atmosphere in the stadium before the match was so stirring! During the match the energy and excitement in the stadium became intense and electric."

Van HoRecruiter

As we enter the stadium, the size of the venue hits us and so does the scale of this tournament. The world is waking up to women’s football and we’re here to witness it. Before the match starts, we’re embraced by another Welcome to Country.

“The Welcome to Country was absolutely beautiful. The best I have ever seen in my life. The Aboriginal culture was front and center with a woman elder hosting. Followed by a Māori woman and they embraced in a hongi which was such a beautiful moment in woman’s sport and indigenous culture.” Ariana Stephens, Sr. Specialist, Field Key Accounts

Kick-Off at Stadium Australia

The players walk out onto the pitch and the crowd roars. For us, all eyes are on Australia’s Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord, two of our top adidas players, with Mary featured in our global brand campaign. The whistle blows and the two teams get off to a mixed start and by half time both are still goalless. But the mood is up and lifted again in the first 10 minutes of the second half when a penalty gives Australia the first and only goal of the match.

“Since the contest opened until the moment we walked into the stadium, I’ve been super excited and beyond happy. I’ve been in tears as I never believed I would be on the other side of the world seeing my idols. I brought my Brazilian flag with me, but I was supporting Australia that night.” Janiana Borges, Manager Visual Excellence

"I’ve been in tears as I never believed I would be on the other side of the world seeing my idols."

Janiana BorgesManager Visual Excellence

“My favourite moment was seeing three little girls dressed up supporting the Aussie [Australian] team. They were so excited waiting for the players. I asked their mom if they knew who the players were and if the girls played football as well. Their mom told me these two little girls had been playing football since they were two years old. That’s the moment I saw the power of women role models.” Wanchun Wu, Manager Program Facilitation and Content

Equity in sport with our Women’s Network

Our trip was coming to a close and after a busy week it was time to reflect and consider the true impact of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on women’s sport and future generations. Hosted by Pacific & Singapore Women’s Network, we joined the adidas Sydney team and members of the leadership team to network and listen to an exciting and empowering panel discussion on the topic of promoting gender equity across sports with a focus on football.

The Women's Network brunch and panel discussion started with time to get to know one and other.
The pannelists form left to right: Step Brantz, Simon Millar, Fina Crawford.
The event concluded with a networking walk and the chance to chat with leaders from the Pacific region including GM Steve Castledine.
A thank you to the guests and supporters of the Singapore and Pacific Women's Network.

Head of brand in the APAC region Simon Millar was joined on stage by Steph Brantz and Fiona Crawford, two women from within the sporting world.

Steph Brantz is a freelance sport and events presenter, producer, and commentator with 20 years of experience across a wide range of sports including tennis and football. Fiona is a former softballer, who has represented Australia in softball for 223 games, competing at two Olympic Games, three World Championships, and 28 international competitions. She later transitioned into the corporate space with 25 years of experience in human resources.

Both women highlighted the importance of reliance and touched on the significance of representation in women’s sports for future generations. From investing in grass roots communities, to thinking about the language we use in media and beyond when discussing pro athletes, it was an exciting discussion that left an impression on all.

"We are doing it right, but we still need to push even harder. Representation matters in sport and in business."

Manuela Bernal SerranoAssistant Manager, CRM

As we walked side by side on a networking walk to our adidas brand center store, the air was buzzing with memories of the trip. We were ready for the future of women’s sport and determined to be allies from within adidas on the journey to greater equality.

"Being equal is not just a sentence, it's a real action, regardless of your position or where you are located. I am a facilitator; As an individual I can bring ideas and spread the importance of equality."

Wanchun WuManager Program Facilitation and Content

Thank you to all of our employee winners for their passion and enthusiasm throughout the trip, it was a true pleasure to experience Sydney with you!


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