Liz Tektonopolous: “Volunteers simply love to help”
Driven by a strong sense of community, award-winning volunteer Liz Tektonopoulous embodies the Better Together theme of National Volunteers Week.
Liz Tektonopolous juggles a busy life as a mother and teacher’s aide, but alongside those personal and professional roles is another that the passionate Victorian holds close to her heart.
Tektonopolous is a dedicated Membership Coordinator and President at the Greenvale Tennis Club in Melbourne’s north, with her many achievements recognised with the Volunteer Achievement Award at the 2021 Australian Tennis Awards.
Several months on, the unassuming Tektonopolous is still humbled by the accolade.
“The last thing any volunteer expects is to win a prestigious national award, so when I heard that I was a finalist for the Volunteer Achievement Award I was both surprised and humbled,” Tektonopolous told tennis.com.au ahead of National Volunteers Week.
“There are so many volunteers out there doing amazing work for their communities, and we naturally feel that there is always someone more deserving. Because the bottom line is that we do this kind of work because we have a drive and passion, and we simply love to help in whatever capacity we can.”
For Tektonopolous, that support takes on numerous forms at the Greenvale Tennis Club, which has benefited in many ways from the energetic efforts of their Membership Coordinator and President.
Tektonopolous works closely with local schools, businesses and the Hume City Council to promote participation and has played a pivotal role in the club implementing ClubSpark software.
She also manages the club’s social media accounts, runs the club’s canteen and helped design and organise club uniforms.
“When I was younger, I used to volunteer in recreational activities for people with disabilities, which led to further study and then a professional career in this field,” Tektonopolous explained.
“Volunteering is possibily the most rewarding of my roles, though, as I feel like I’m making that little bit of difference.”
The role of volunteers has never been as vital as during the pandemic, with the need to keep the sense of community strong and relevant within sporting clubs.
“Making our club more accessible to the community is more important now than ever before,” said Tektonopolous.
“We need regular posts on social media, encouraging the women in our community to come in for a social hit, having affordable online memberships, having an updated website and regular events and programs that encourage community participation.
“All these things are vital to bringing people back into the sport or coming in to try tennis for the first time.”
One of the most important developments during Tektonopolous’ time was the introduction of ClubSpark software for bookings and memberships.
“When I came on board, we were using My Tennis, hardcopy membership forms and an excel spreadsheet,” she said.
“We also had a website that looked very dated and was costing us money though a third party.
With information and advice from our Community Development Officer, I was able to implement ClubSpark and eliminate paper-based memberships.”
“Since the implementation of ClubSpark we have now more than doubled our memberships and reduced volunteer burden on administration significantly,” she added.
One of Tektonopolous’ proudest achievements was securing a uniform grant from the Hume City Council.
“When I applied for the uniform grant, it was following some feedback from the junior members that they wanted to look professional with competition teams wearing a club uniform.
“Once the design was created, we got a quote from the supplier and when we found out that we were successful, we were able to discount the playing tops for all our junior and adult members, which was a great help for some families making the cost more affordable.”
Tektonopolous balances all of this with a busy family and work life, but it is that sense of community that drives her.
“I have a family and household to run, and I work as a teacher’s aide four days a week, so I have no idea where I find the time,” laughed Tektonopolous, who has also participated in local Council initiatives offering Ladies Social Tennis, Twilight Teens Tennis, Tennis Hot shots and other social nights throughout the year.
“I feel at home at our club, there’s some wonderful people in our community and I love walking around the club and getting to know the names of people.
“We really do have that family friendly feel and when you have those good vibes, it feeds the passion to do what you can to advance our club to become something amazing for our community.”