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Rebecca Frizelle: Smashing glass ceilings and kicking goals in business

Dominica Czaczka | October 20, 2020

She’s a pioneer for women in sports, commands one of Queensland’s largest motor vehicle dealers, sits on a number of corporate boards and is a vehement champion of women in leadership roles.

Despite her loaded schedule, Chief Operating Officer of Frizelle Automotive Group and co-owner of the Gold Coast Titans NRL Club Rebecca Frizelle wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I really love being busy. If I’m not busy or don’t have a project, I’m seriously kicking stones,” she confesses.

“I can’t do lunches or any of that, I need to have a project. I want to feel like I’m making a difference and having a go.”

The same have-a-go mentality is what saw Frizelle become the first female chair of an NRL club in 2014. She stepped down from the Titans board in 2017, when the Frizelle and Kelly families became joint owners of the NRL franchise.

“I remember one of the scariest moments I had was when I walked into the boardroom of the NRL for the very first meeting of all the Club Chairs. I walked in and I could literally feel my knees knocking together because I was the only female.

“I’ve never shied away that I didn’t have intimate rugby league knowledge compared to what was sitting around that room, which was generational men involved in the game.

“I sat down at the table thinking ‘oh my goodness, what am I doing here’. But I was myself, I didn’t pretend to be something I wasn’t, I didn’t pretend to have the knowledge they had.

“What I did say was that I would have a different perspective and a different view point to them and given that we (women) make up half the audience, I think my view point is worth listening to because I’ll come at it from a different perspective. It may not be the right one, but it will be a different perspective that should be considered.

“I’ve got to say, from that day everyone was very respectful and very generous with me and considerate. I’ve had a few good tussles along the way and a few fisticuffs, but that’s no different to any industry,” laughs Frizelle.

Frizelle maintains she has never let gender define or narrow any opportunities that have come her way and echoes a life lesson she learned early on from her father-in-law James Frizelle.

“He never recognised there was a difference between a male view or a female view; he just wanted what he thought was the most appropriate view.

“I think that taught me a lot. He always had an open mind regardless of your differences in age, gender or race. He just wanted the best idea.

“It was a turning point for me in terms of always having an open mind and approach to business and life in general,” said Frizelle.