Courtney Rennie on the value of having been a high performance athlete

From rower to recruitment researcher

A year ago, Courtney Rennie decided to retire from high performance rowing. Having rowed for many years and placed an impressive sixth in the world at the Under 23 World Championships, she was ready to try something new.

Initially, life without rowing felt strange and Courtney found herself wondering if she’d made the right decision. In time though, she didn’t look back. With only one semester to go, the HPSNZ Prime Minister’s Scholarship recipient threw herself into finishing her degree – a Bachelor in Social Science majoring in Psychology and Human Resource Management.

Courtney then moved to Auckland, having obtained a job as an executive search researcher at Hobson Leavy, a role she loves.

“I’ve now realised just how many transferable skills rowing gave me,” she says. “It’s made me resilient, given me perspective, and enabled me to balance multiple things. Plus I know things are achievable.”

In her new job in recruitment, Courtney spends a lot of time poring over Curriculum Vitae’s and drawing up long-lists of potential candidates for C-suite positions. “I can now fully appreciate the value of being able to put something that stands out on my CV,” she says. “No one can take my international rowing achievements away.

When you’re training, it’s easy to think… I’d have finished my degree already if I wasn’t rowing and be earning money rather than still relying on my parents. But now I see the value of having been a high performance rower.”

As Courtney transitioned out of rowing, she worked closely with her Athlete Life Advisor, Tina Ryan

Tina says: “My role to help with Courtney’s transition included strengthening her support networks away from the rowing environment, linking her to other support staff through the de-carding process, setting new goals and plans for her life moving forward, and guiding her through some career planning tools.”

Courtney says she greatly appreciated Tina’s support “She still keeps in touch and has been really awesome. Having a female voice and someone I really connected with made a big difference.”

One year on, as Courtney reflects on her post-rowing journey, she is at peace with her decision to retire and excited about what the future holds.