Ada Milby is the new president of the Philippine Rugby Football Union. She has been a member of the union’s board since 2013.
According to Milby, one challenge she faces is the perception that she only cares about women’s rugby since she is a woman. She explained, “Of course, women’s rugby is a focus area for me but not necessarily because I’m a woman.”
“Globally, women’s sport is a growing category and World Rugby and Asia Rugby are promoting the development of women in Rugby, recognizing this is an opportunity for growing the game,” Milby continued. “Fortunately, I’m now engaging in spaces where the focus is on other aspects of the game demonstrating my interest in developing the Game with a holistic view.”
Since 2016, Milby has been a member of the Asia Rugby EXCO. She headed the Women Advisory Committee and served on the Admin and Finance Committee.
In 2017, Milby became the first woman to be appointed to the World Rugby Council. She served on the Regions Committee and Rugby Committee.
The Philippine Rugby Football Union president has two key tips for young people who wish to become leaders. She said, “Start with leadership of self.”
“The more you know about yourself, the way you see the world and how others see you, the better you are able to engage, interact and lead a group towards a common goal,” Milby continued. “Recognize that you are likely a leader already. Leadership isn’t a destination. It’s a journey.”
“My leadership style now is very different to the leadership style of my youth,” Milby added. “The lessons and learnings from successes and failures along the way continue to shape my perceptions and decision-making style so keep practicing the art of leadership. Keep reaching for uncomfortable goals. Whether you succeed or fail at something, there’s always something on offer to help you develop towards achieving the roles in leadership to which you aspire.”
Considering the challenges the rugby community is facing amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Milby has immediately put into place a plan of action “to work with government agencies to ensure a safe return to play for all athletes and support role personnel based in country.” She remains positive about the opportunities and potential advantages the current period offers.
“We are also using this time to review our governance structures and how to adjust our targets as we’re halfway through our current strategic plan,” Milby said. “This allows us to consider new threats and opportunities for the union in how we grow and develop the game.”
Milby knows that a hard reset must take place and that under the circumstances status quo will no longer do. She asserted, “We are prioritizing engagement in non-conventional ways aimed at retaining our current stakeholders since rugby is about more than sport: it’s about community.”
The most critical consideration continues to be players’ welfare for Milby and as part of Asia Rugby and World Rugby governing bodies, she has remained at the forefront of rugby’s mini-revolution where it comes to players’ safety. She said, “I’m proud to be part of seeing the changes on the player welfare front, updating the high tackle framework to better educate coaches and players on ways to reduce the risk for concussion.”
For Milby, it has been exciting and rewarding to seeing girl’s participation numbers on the fields in Asia and across the world rising and “the overwhelming support from the membership to move the needle on achieving a more balanced board by electing two women on Asia Rugby’s Executive Committee.” Downplaying her own contribution, she shared, “I wouldn’t claim any achievement as solely my own because all achievements on any council or committee are a result of the collective effort of the members that sit on them.”