Meet Harry Moffitt
Updated: Jul 26
Former SAS Team Commander, author of 'Eleven Bats', CEO of Stotan Group, and registered Psychologist: Harry Moffitt believes in the tonic that is cricket, and has seen first-hand the impact of education in other cricket-playing countries.
Harry, tell us about yourself. How did your journey lead you to where you are today, and how would you define your personality?
Old and grey these days! The Match of the Day version is I dropped out of university to join the military to have a crack at the SAS. I have spent the last 30+ years in the Defence Force and most of that time 20 plus years with the SAS, Special Air Service Regiment. I hung up my helmet in 2015 and took over the high-performance manager role.
I then moved to Melbourne not long after that in 2016/17 and finished my Masters's in Psychology, registered as a psychologist and kicked off a consultancy.
Since then we've grown the business Stotan Group, which is really a start-up still. It’s human performance with a strong bend towards psychology and cognitive performance, and we work across corporate, sports, emergency services & defence and do a range of things from coaching to leadership development, to health and well-being programs.
My wife and I prioritise charity and working with those less fortunate - I've got a strong background in veterans' education in particular. Danielle my wife has a passion for education, for example in Timor. I've had a lot of time in the veteran area and I think it’s time to let other people come and take the mantle, so the LBW Trust has come along at a perfect time. It’s got a bit of Afghanistan, a bit of education, a bit of empowering women. That’s important because I believed that's the way out of poverty. Educating and empowering women is the answer to poverty. It's also got cricket in it, so it just ticks a whole lot of boxes for me.
How did you find us?
Through David Vaux. I knew about The LBW Trust in as much as I'd heard it moving around the cricket scene but I really didn't know what it was. I initially thought it was a charity organisation that raised money for games of cricket locally, but I didn't realise the depth of involvement and international involvement that it had. David read my book and called me and he said we'd like you to play a role.
How are you involved with The LBW Trust? What’s your role?
At this stage, it is still emerging. The role I currently play is looking after the National Backyard Cricket activities here in Melbourne, Victoria. I grasped that with both hands. We actually just got back from Mitchelton Winery, up in northern Victoria, which we’re looking at for a venue amongst others; Government House, Parliament House, The Shrine and some other places.
When did you first start playing cricket? And why is cricket so important to you?
I’ve played cricket all my life - backyard and street cricket, and proper cricket. All my life.
Growing up I had the normal, unremarkable childhood of a young boy from the 70s and 80s.
I love all sports but cricket to me is the most inclusive game of all. It doesn't matter what age, ethnicity, skill level, gender, whatever.
You need a few people - more than one or two or three or four to play, and once you strike up a game everyone can come out and play. If you've got a soccer ball you can do that too, and there’s the same potential with football, but it's a game of cricket out on the street where you can have a beer in your hand and play, everyone gets a bat, everyone gets a bowl, and the rules are just inferred in the game, that is the most special.
I hope we eventually seize the streets back for the kids. When I was growing up, cars drove slowly through the streets to get around the cricket games. I talk about the cricket games I’ve played overseas a lot in my book (‘Eleven Bats – Harry Moffitt).
Whenever we break out a baton or ball, even in the countries like Timor and Iraq that don't really have cricket, it wasn't long before people are laughing and having fun. You can imagine in some of those war-torn countries, it's very tense, it's high trauma and there's a lot of anxiety and low mood. Whenever you strike up a game that wasn't long before there was a laugh, and it unwound everything. It’s a real tonic of the game, I think. And you can have 10, 15, 20 people playing a game of backyard cricket and still everyone gets a bat and a ball. I think it's the inclusivity of the game that really strikes me.
Would you be able to speak to the intersection of cricket and education? Why do you think they work well together?
I think anything that moves the needle on educating anyone is a worthy cause, and I think everything intersects with education. Look to the education and empowerment of women in other countries, for example, Afghanistan. If you read some of the testimony that's coming out of Afghanistan - I'm in contact with people in Kabul - the most important thing that rings through is that women want to maintain their freedoms, and education is in almost every sentence. If it's not enough coming from me, let the women and young women themselves be the testimony. The LBW Trust has hit a wonderful intersection of supporting women in cricket-playing nations. Using cricket is really about the inclusivity of cricket and the love of cricket in Australia, and utilising it as the vehicle for sending the message about education. I hope you hear in my voice, passion. I'm a passionate person, and nothing can get me out of bed more quickly than a game of backyard cricket.
Why is education important to you?
I think there's something about education that affords a number of really fundamental things for a human being. I think you can derive self-esteem, self-determination, feeling competent, feeling confident, and I think that is all really important. I think it broadens your worldview and your perspective and that brings tolerance. I love Greek philosophy, and then before that Indian philosophy. The journey of self-exploration is a journey, whether we like it or not, and I think education brings some rigour and some structure and scaffolding to that journey, particularly for the people who might not have that opportunity. I think [education] points to a future of opportunity in developing and emerging nations and countries. I remember going to Timor and Iraq and Afghanistan, and when we asked the villages what we could do for them - my kids were saying ‘What can we send over? Can we bake some cookies or send shirts, clothes?’ - and the children [overseas] said ‘Can you send paper and pencils?’ Here’s a photo of me handing the paper and pencils that my kids have sent from school. I think again, if you're not convinced of these types of things, listen to the narrative from the people themselves.
As this interview will come out on R U Okay Day, do you have anything that you’re planning on doing to take care of yourself, your team or your family and the people around you today?
Self-care is big for me. I exercise regularly, sleep well, and get up the same or try to get up at the same time every night. I highly prioritise sleep, I'd go for eight or nine hours a night. Social connections are really important. In terms of reaching out to others in the team, of course. Half a dozen plus people in Stotan Group will actually be working that day to help others. We’ll have a reflection in the lead-up or afterwards, just to check in - but we do check in regularly. I strongly encourage everybody to take time out away from the formal interactions that we have and get to know each other. Every business I talked to would love to have things like accountability. Accountability comes from trust. And trust comes from empathy.
And empathy comes from talking to people and knowing what's going on in their kids’ lives and their parents’ lives - having that deeper level. Combine accountability, trust and empathy and you’re developing a thing called reflexivity. Reflexivity can happen as an individual or as a team. I would encourage anyone who's not doing that to ensure it happens almost in a routine. Sometimes you’ve got to feed your kids the greens. A lot of businesses, and a lot of teams full stop, are passive bystanders in things like health and well-being and leave it up to the usual suspects. ‘If people don't want to come, we don't want to force people to come’ mentality.
I slightly disagree with that. I think there is an element of responsibility, and in 2021 there's no longer an option. It's an obligation of leadership these days to ensure that you are making sure it happens. There’s a potpourri of different well-being things that everyone should think about - one person's mindfulness is another person's marathon running is another person's reading an hour a day is another person's going for a walk around the block.