Damen is a qualified media and communications professional with 10 years of industry experience and an extensive association with regional sport.
Born and raised in Hobart, Damen moved to Victoria in 2010 and has spent seven of the past 10 years in the Gippsland region. In that time he has established and maintained relationships with key stakeholders across the sporting and wider communities, initially as a sports journalist at the Latrobe Valley Express and later as media and marketing manager for non-profit sports organisation AFL Gippsland.
A former national-level middle distance track and cross country runner, Damen has also played soccer and touch football at state level and counts tennis, golf, cricket, squash and downhill skiing among his favourite pastime activities. Damen has also been an accredited futsal and touch football referee and briefly served on the Gippsland Sports Academy’s Gippstar Awards Panel subcommittee.
Following the completion of sports journalism cadetships at two regional newspapers, Damen was quickly promoted to the position of sports editor at the Shepparton News, where he headed a four-person sports team that produced up to 14 pages of sports content per edition, six days a week. During this time he was a recipient of Cricket Victoria’s Country Award for best feature article and was part of three separate teams nominated for Best Print Coverage at AFL Victoria’s annual media awards.
In recent times, Damen has been charged with the promotion of Australian rules football in Gippsland in a broad role that incorporated elements of media, marketing and event management. Among his notable achievements was the development and delivery of an annual Gippsland football magazine, project management of the Collingwood Football Club’s 2019 AFL Community Camp visit to Sale and the coordination and execution of a host of themed rounds and activities including the Gippsland Mental Health Round and Gippsland Pride Cup initiatives. Through such work, Damen has developed a keen interest in the broader social impact and responsibility of community sport and passion for the importance of participation at all levels inside and outside the field of play.
Damen holds a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in journalism, media and communications and history.