January 28, 2022

When Jessica started work for ITTF-Oceania in 2019 we were in crisis mode, with staff departures, a new CEO and the real possibility of the loss of Australian government funding. Jessica did the work of 2 staff for the rest of the year resulting in huge hours and working most weekends, but her efforts were not in vain. We retained the majority of our funding and caught up on our obligations, which was a great achievement.

Jessica with the kids at a National Junior Training Camp and Coach education course in the Cook Islands.

Jessica is a humble person and described her role as rewarding, especially the people. She has a heart for the Pacific people and loved traveling and working in each country. Some of her many achievements in partnership with Oceania countries include:

The progress of the Tonga Table Tennis Federation (TTTF) and Fiji Table Tennis Association (FTTA) with the Developing National Associations program, resulting in a full time CEO and with TTTF receiving a prestigious WHO award in August 2019 for the Smash Down Barriers (SDB) disability program, as well as funding from the ITTF Foundation to extend the reach of the SDB program to the outer islands of Tonga. She assisted with the recruitment of an Operations Manager in Fiji and the resulting improvement in governance and activities has been extremely positive.

ITTF-Oceania’s application for the Team Up program was extensive requiring more than 100 pages of detail. This took several months and Jessica did a great job, resulting in the continuation of the SDB programs in Tonga and Fiji.

In March 2020 Jessica traveled to Vanuatu to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee, resulting in the continuation of the SDB program and a significant increase in table tennis activities. This trip was shortly after the outbreak of COVID-19 and she was lucky to get one of the last flights home before borders were closed.

In 2021, Jessica organised a record number of equipment deliveries to 17 Oceania countries, which helped to increase capacity and assist the growth of table tennis.

Jessica also assisted in planning the first-ever online AGM, which was a great success with record numbers. Before the AGM the staff conducted surveys with all members, as well as training sessions for attending online meetings and using software for election voting. This proved to be a great success with a record 23 out of 24 members in attendance, as well as elected officials and staff from our world body, ITTF. 

ITTF-Oceania CEO, Barry Griffiths, stated “Jessica has been a wonderful asset for us and table tennis in the region and has driven the growth of table tennis development throughout Oceania, despite many challenges and COVID-19 restrictions. She will be sorely missed, and I wish her the best in her new role with Table Tennis New Zealand.”

Jessica during an Oceania Junior Training Camp in Tonga.

ITTF-Oceania would like to thank Jessica for her dedication over the past 3 years and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.