It is a long and arduous path to become a leading administrator in the global sports fraternity like Singapore's Ng Ser Miang.
The 64-year-old, who had campaigned unsuccessfully for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidency earlier in the week, said on Tuesday that he intends to groom the next generation of Singaporean sports administrators, in the hope that someone can follow in his footsteps.
And while a young bunch of sports leaders have emerged in the local community in recent years, they will need many more years of dedication to their respective sports to make the leap into the international sporting front.
Annabel Pennefather, 63, who served as vice-president of the International Hockey Federation (IHF) from 2004 to 2010, said she had to dig into her own pockets, and trade work leave and family holidays to attend meetings in Europe to be seen and heard by the sport's bigwigs.
Nearly 15 years passed before the lawyer established herself within Asia and ran for the IHF job.
She said: "It takes a long journey and a lot of commitment to reach the top. You have to do it in stages, and it starts with strong backing from your national sports association.
"Attend any overseas meetings or conference, because if people don't see you, they won't remember you.
"It can start small, like serving on a sub-committee, before you build your standing and bring your sport's events and stars to Singapore."