Pictured L-R Shelley Nowlan, Shannon Palmer, Dr. Bridie O'Donnell, Ella Squires, Colette Ritchie.
Personal development opportunities in team environments in the sports sector don’t come around all that often and that is why over 130 aspiring female administrators put their hands up when the Change Our Game Scholarship program came around.
The Change Our Game Scholarship program is designed to increase the opportunities for women to access professional learning in sport leadership and management. The inaugural round of the program delivered a $250,000 investment, enabling a total of 46 women from across the state to pursue their own identified professional development opportunities.
Head of the Office for Women in Sport, Dr Bridie O’Donnell spoke of both the design of the program and the outcomes the sector should expect.
“What makes this program so unique is the flexibility it provides the sector. Women and girls working and volunteering are best placed to inform us on where the gaps are in their professional development.”
“The professional development opportunity commences well before the participant attends any course or seminar. The application process empowered women to not only identify the skill set they wanted to improve but also find an opportunity that would help address it. This in many cases was not an easy task and required all applicants to articulate how the opportunity would both benefit them individually but also their organisations as a whole.”
For four women, the opportunity to attend a 4-day Women in Sport Leadership Summit was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Shannon Palmer, Project Officer – Club Development and Participation at Ballarat City Council, spoke about what aspects of the course sparked her interest.
“Being surrounded by, and hearing stories from, like-minded people from within the sector was a drawcard for me. I have found that it can be hard for people outside the sporting industry to understand the different processes and unique challenges sport brings.”
Joining Shannon at the summit was Shelley Nowlan - Commercial Administrator at Rugby Victoria,
“The summit has taught me to be confident in my abilities and to remove the self-doubting thoughts from my decision making processes,teaching me to ‘back myself'. I have learnt the importance of seeking out meaningful mentors and identifying professional networks. Most importantly, the summit has shown me that regardless of your level of employment, everyone has the ability to be a leader in the workplace. This was particularly powerful for me, as my specific industry has historically been and remains to be male dominated, with most senior roles being held by men.”
The Women in Sport summit is just one of a number of diverse professional development opportunities identified by the Change Our Game Scholarship recipients. The flexibility the program offers ensures the program caters for women who are involved across varying levels of the sector. From community volunteers through the mid-level and senior management roles, the Change Our Game Scholarship program will enable and empower woman to progress into leadership roles within the sector.
“I had an amazing time at the summit and I met some incredible women who shared their inspiring stories. I am very grateful to the Victorian Government and Office for Women in Sport and Recreation for investing in women’s leadership opportunities and allowing me the opportunity to build upon my own personal skill sets.”
We look forward to sharing the experiences and learnings of our scholarship recipients over the coming months.
For more information visit the Change our Game Grants page.