St Marys Leagues Club chief executive officer Rod Desborough wants his community to appreciate what they have.
‘‘It frustrates me that people don’t understand that clubs are non-profit organisations with ‘community owned gaming’,’’ Mr Desborough said.
‘‘All of our profit is reinvested back into the club to provide better facilities, sporting and community donations, subsidised food and beverages, courtesy buses and free entertainment.
‘‘By contrast hotels and casinos are ‘privately owned gaming’ which means profits go into the pockets of owners and shareholders.’’
The NSW club model was ‘‘unique in the world’’ and introduced specifically to help local communities, he said.
Born and bred in North St Marys, Mr Desborough went to St Marys High School and played rugby league for the club from under-7s through to A grade.
Married for 30 years he has three grown-up children.
He joined St Marys Leagues as its chief executive in March 2005, coming from the same role at Mittagong RSL Club and before that Illawarra Leagues.
‘‘I began work as a trainee manager in 1979 at Rooty Hill RSL,’’ Mr Desborough said.
‘‘It was my first job, basically straight out of school.
‘‘ I was one of the first trainee managers in the club industry and the first overseas exchange manager to the USA.
‘‘I’ve served on the board of directors of ClubsNSW and Club Keno Holdings for the last 14 years.’’
As chief executive Mr Desborough is responsible for the professional and successful administration of the club and its 150 staff and ensuring it is able to meet the needs of its 40,000 members.
‘‘What I enjoy most is seeing just how important the club is to the social wellbeing of the community and the pride that the board of directors take in assisting as many community and sporting organisations as possible,’’ he said.
‘‘I believe the club’s role in the community is extremely important and I worry who would provide the facilities, member benefits, food and entertainment, sporting fields and community donations if clubs were not part of the community.’’