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Dianne Logan

Big hole left at Yachting New Zealand

Issue date

Things will feel a bit different around Yachting New Zealand next week because something or, more specifically, someone will be missing.

Dianne Logan is retiring on Friday after 21 years as accounting and HR manager. She doesn't need to be given a set of keys to Yachting New Zealand, in the tradition of 21st birthdays, because she's effectively been holding them for all of that time.

Dianne started in 1999 after a stint working as a tour finance manager in professional theatre and has worked under four chief executives, dealt with a change from a council structure to a board, seen the number of staff at the national sports organisation increase from six to 26 and presided over the finances for five Olympics (it should have been six but the Tokyo ones have been delayed).

She thinks she got the job originally only because of her name.

"I have always said the reason I got this job is my name is Logan, which is a yachting name, and my children are Bethwaites, which is another famous sailing name," she said. "When I came for my interview with [chief executive] Adrienne Greenwood, I saw on her notes the names Logan and Bethwaite underlined."

Dianne made a name for herself as an organised and detailed accountant and has been a good sounding board for current chief executive David Abercrombie after he joined the organisation 10 years ago.

There have been considerable changes within the sport over the past 21 years, not least of all funding models and the support given through various incarnations of Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand. It meant Dianne went from a part-time employee to fulltime and reporting became critical.

But ask Dianne what the highlights have been and her eyes light up.

"It's when I see a young sailor walk into our offices, see a picture of the America's Cup boats on the wall and saying that what they want to do and then going out and doing just that," she said. "They have won Olympic gold medals, world championships, been involved in the America's Cup and then become a coach.

"How often do you get that kind of buzz and satisfaction watching the growth in these sailors and seeing them become really successful?

"I have also worked with some fantastic people. That's something that's often hard to find in your working career, a place where everyone is so supportive of each other. And Yachting New Zealand has built a really good reputation and has some really good relationships."

David Abercrombie has worked alongside Dianne for nearly half of her time at Yachting New Zealand and will miss her skills, experience and friendship.

"Dianne, affectionally known as Di, has an acute understanding of our sport from both a high performance and community and participation level that is unparralled in any other national sports organisation," he said. "She not only has my and the Yachting New Zealand board's unbridled admiration for her accounting skills and ability to keep a close financial eye on the many different aspects of Yachting New Zealand, but she also has the respect of those in the know at Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand.

"She is intuitive, organised and has an acute eye for detail that is critical in our world, but it her soft skills that makes her the complete professional and team player. Di will be missed by us all and her legacy of leaving a happy and financially sound national sports organisation is to be admired and respected."

Dianne will continue to be involved in the transition as new finance manager Vanessa Hall takes over but she's looking forward spending more time with her family and becoming more involved in the local Katikati community where Dianne and husband Colin have built a new home.

Dianne knows Friday will be emotional, when the team at Yachting New Zealand celebrate her contribution. It's understandable after 21 years. 

She wanted to thank everyone for their support over that time.

But the biggest thanks needs to go to you, Dianne, from all of the team at Yachting New Zealand (past and present).