2015 AGM- Presidents Report

President’s Report

Annual General Meeting

 29th July 2015

Air Commodore Alan Clements, Holly Kramer, WRNSW President Susan Horwitz, Meredith Hellicar & Andrew Stevens.

Air Commodore Alan Clements, Holly Kramer, WRNSW President Susan Horwitz, Meredith Hellicar & Andrew Stevens.

Womensport and Recreation NSW (WRNSW) continues to be passionately committed to enhancing sporting opportunities for women and girls in this state – on and off the field. Equality, access and participation are at the core of every initiative we undertake.

Since our last AGM in May, 2014, we have continued to showcase female champions to school girls to encourage active participation in sport; we have worked closely with local councils throughout NSW to try and ensure equitable distribution and use of local sporting facilities.  And we have continued to sponsor selected individual women from key sporting organisations through the Chief Executive Women’s Leaders program.   We have successfully started the WRNSW Mentoring program for our Ambassadors and Sporting Champions. Since our last meeting Womensport NSW has also been a catalyst in highlighting the issue of leadership and gender equity within sporting organisations.  

Leadership and Gender Equity

Last August our Showcase Event brought council representatives, sporting CEO’s and female champions together to discuss “Gender Equity – Making it Happen.” The Minister of Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres and the Minister for Women, and Patron of Womensport NSW, the Hon. Pru Goward both attended.  Debbie Spillane was the MC and penned her thoughts in the Roar soon after. Click here to read the story

One of the key recommendations to come out of the discussion was “That all state sporting organisations set Key Performance indicators for increasing women’s representation at senior executive levels and on Boards.”

More recently, last month, in collaboration with Fox Sports, Womensport NSW featured a panel discussion “A Fairer Deal for Women in Sport – On and Off the Field.’’  Sporting organisations in NSW are facing similar problems identified so well within the corporate sector.   I believed many of our state sporting organisation could benefit greatly from hearing practical assistance from those who have been successful in trying to steer their organisation towards a more gender balanced future.

The Panel provided more than 45 CEO’s and Directors from our top state sporting organisations with the  opportunity to hear from several Male Champions of Change and Chief Executive Women members, talking about how they have made significant changes within their organisations, and  outlining what worked and what didn’t.   The event was dynamic and eye opening and the panellists*, MC** and guest comments all outstanding.

It was made abundantly clear that Gender Equity is not just a women’s issue, it is about leadership, performance and diversity. Womensport NSW will follow up this successful event with new creative ways to demonstrate the importance of leadership in driving change in our sporting landscape.   We were delighted also that the Hon. Stuart Ayres, Minister for Sport attended and also participated in the event. Thanks must also go to Peter Tonagh, COO of News Corp Australia for hosting the evening. http://womensportnsw.com.au/events/fox-sports-panel-showcase/


* Andrew Stevens, former CEO, IBM; Meredith Hellicar, Chair of CEW Business Engagement Committee; Commandant Alan Clements, Defence Force Academy; Holly Kramer, former CEO, Best & Less.

** Tara Rushton, Presenter, Fox Sports  

 Chief Executive Women’s Leadership Program

There has been some focus and progress in getting more women on sporting boards, but getting more women into senior executive positions or major operation levels is sporadic.  Last year, women made up only 18% of CEO’s of Australian sports organisations.  In partnership with Chief Executive Women, Womensport NSW has been providing a unique opportunity for experienced women in sporting organisation in NSW to attend the highly regarded CEW Leader’s Program.  In recent years women from AFL NSW/ACT, Netball NSW, Football NSW; Cricket NSW; Gymnastics NSW, the ARU, NRL and Royal Sydney Golf Club have all benefitted from this program.

Strategic Partnership Program – Linking with Local Government

Funding was received with thanks from the Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres, on June 30, 2015 for this project to continue until August 1, 2016.

This final  grant for the project  will allow us to rebuild the momentum of the work we have being doing  over the past three years to make  local councils  more aware of the need to ensure the use of their facilities are more inclusive for their communities, working towards the local government elections in 2016.  We hope to achieve sufficient leverage to influence the development of Councils’ new Community Strategic Plans in 2017 to include these objectives.

Our Board will review and confirm our action plan for this project for 2015/2016 at its August Board meeting.

We also look forward to discussing, with the Office of Sport, opportunities for closer collaboration and governance strategies ensuring that achieving equity is high on the agenda.

WRNSW “Get Active” Gala Days

Our template for our ongoing GGA events has been uniquely successful in motivating girls to continue with sport, by having them interact with vital female sporting role models and state sporting organisations to inspire them to take up or continue in sports and develop leadership skills.

Since last May last year we have conducted four hugely successful Get Active Days in metropolitan and regional NSW – Orange, Blacktown, Parramatta and Moree.

Each event involves close interaction with local councils and more than 1200 school girls, 15 female sporting champions and 18 different sporting organisations were a part of last year’s Get Active Days.  Our female role models have includedLisa Sthalekar (Cricket), Shelley Watts (Boxing), Jade Warrender (Hockey), Kaitlyn Bryce (Netball), Eunice Grimes (NRL),  Libby Saddler (AFL), Kate Jenner (Hockey), Angela Mullins (Swimming), Taleena Simon (Rugby Union),  Maddie Studdon (NRL), Paige Hadley (Netball), Hanna Sio (Rugby Union), Alex Blackwell (Cricket), Jocelyn Bartram (Hockey) and Katie Williams (Surf Life Saving).

In addition to influencing schoolgirl’s perception of sport we are also providing sporting organisations with a pathway to schoolgirls, PE teachers, schools and local clubs. Sporting organisations involved in our work this year have included, Cricket, Basketball, Netball, Rugby League, Ruby Union, Golf, Ultimate Frisbee, Hockey, Swimming, AFL, Surf Life Saving, The SES, Triathlon, Softball, Football, Taekwondo, Boxing and Baseball.

WRNSW greatly appreciated receivingGrant Funding in September, 2014 from the Department of Sport and Recreation under the Participation and Facility Program to help with the administration of our Get Active Days for the past year.

WRNSW received good media exposure surrounding the GGA Events particularly in the regional areas with Prime News screening a segment on the Moree GGA and Win News capturing the Orange GGA. Copy links below to view.

Moree    https://au.prime7.yahoo.com/n2/news/a/-/local/25680280/girls-in-sport-video/

Orange   https://www.facebook.com/431557963627074/videos/747628312020036/

WRNSW Membership

In addition to the sporting organisations in NSW who have signed up or renewed their membership, including Cricket NSW, AFL NSW/ACT, Baseball NSW, NSW Touch Association, NSW Touch Association, Dragon Boats NSW, Golf NSW, Gymnastics NSW and NSW Women’s Bowling Association.  As a result of our ongoing work with local councils, many councils  have also chosen to become members of Womensport NSW.  Councils to date include Parramatta, Leichhardt, Marrickville, Holroyd, Orange, Coffs Harbour, Upper Hunter and Moree Plains.

WRNSW Mentoring Program for Ambassadors and Sporting Champions

This pilot program began in April this year, with one sporting champion, and is focussed on assisting our Ambassadors and other elite athletes who have worked with us.  It is a new program aimed at helping these champions realise their full potential both on and off the sports field. And by next month another two mentees will be underway.

Other Happenings!

Womensport NSW attended the 6th International Working Group on Women and Sport Conference (IWG) in Helsinki, in June, 2014.

Vice President Amanda Spaulding and I presented information to the conference on our Strategic Relationship Project with Local Councils. The conference attracted 800 attendees and its legacy was articulated as “Helsinki Calls the World of Sport to Lead the Change, Be the Change.

In October last year, I was also invited to speak at the Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  The two day forum featured a number of speakers, including the Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres, Bill Pulver CEO of the ARU, David Gallop CEO of the Football Federation of Australia, and Layne Beachley World Champion Surfer, to name just a few of the speakers.

My topic was: Gender Equity in Sport – Making it Happen – 3 Ways.  This was a summary of three of Womensport NSW core programs

  • If you can’t see it, you can’t be it!  Putting female sporting champions and schoolgirls together creates role models that can be seen, heard and emulated – a powerful experience.
  • Is your local Council ‘active’ or ‘passive’ when it comes to the equitable use of community facilities for women and girls?
  • Does your favourite sporting organisation ensure talented females are given the opportunity to step up to senior executive positions?


Relationship and Funding

I would sincerely like to acknowledge and thank our funding partners, in particular, the Minister for Sport, The Hon. Stuart Ayres. 

Also  the Office of Sport/NSW office of Communities – Sport & Recreation; Our Patron, the Hon. Pru Goward;  Chief Executive Women, Fox Sports and News Corp, NSW Sporting Injuries Committee, GrainCorp, Orange City Council and Sport NSW.

 In addition, I would like to acknowledge and thank all our sporting partners, SSO’s and Athletes mentioned above in this report, for providing tremendous in-kind support for our GGA events. Thanks must also go to Scott Bennison from Infinity Financial for their auditing and accounting services.

Board and Management

Our Board and Executive are bound by the firmly held commitment we have to continue to promote equal opportunity for women and girls in sport and recreation – on and off the field.

We are a small but dedicated team and I would like to thank Vice President Amanda Spaulding for her help and guidance, our Treasurer, Michelle Boon for keeping our finances in check, and Sarina Jackson, our Public Officer, for, among other things, hosting our Board meetings. I am delighted to announce that Jessica Hurford, Account Executive with the Australian Olympic Committee has recently joined our Board and is already bringing great suggestions and ideas to the table. Finally, I must acknowledge the work and contribution Bree Calderwood, our Administration and Events Manager, brings to the ongoing functioning of Womensport NSW.

And thank you to our guests for joining us today. I think you will all agree that it has been a big year!

 Yours Sincerely,


Susan Horwitz

President, Womensport and Recreation NSW (WRNSW)


Presidents Report 2014


May 26th 2014

 Womensport & Recreation NSW (WRNSW) is passionately committed to enhancing sporting opportunities for all women and girls in this state.  Equality, access and participation are at the core of every initiative we undertake.  In the last 12 months we have:

  • Contacted more than 60% of all councils in NSW as part of our ongoing Long Term Strategic Partnership Project, funded by the NSW Minister for Sport’s Strategic Partnership Fund. The  aim of the program is to ensure the needs of women and girls are acknowledged as a priority in the utilisation of local council resources and is in its second year of a five year program so far.
  • Successfully promoted and staged a number of regional and metropolitan “Get Active” days targeting schoolgirl participation. The three major events since our last AGM attracted more than 1,000 schoolgirls, 20 different elite athletes and 18 different sporting organisations.
  • Our ongoing partnership with Chief Executive Women (CEW) provided opportunities for two more experienced women from sporting organisations to attend the well respected CEW Leaders Program, which aims to increase the number of women in senior executive and board roles.
  • We developed a partnership with the Sydney Scoreboard Global Index of Gender Equity in Sport Governance, a project which is crucial in helping accelerate senior executive positions in all sports globally.  It lets us see where Australia sits in the world of sport.
  • We have also developed and will launch, today, the WRNSW Mentoring Program for our Ambassadors and other elite athletes who have worked with us.  This is a new program aimed at helping these champions realise their full potential both on and off the sports field.
  • Finally, we were delighted and honoured to be nominated by the NSW Sports Federation for    Best Sporting Organisation 2013.


WRNSW Strategic Relationship with NSW Local Government Project

As part of our project – Partnerships for Long Term Strategic Planning for Sport and Recreation for greater equity, access and participation for Women and Girls – we have been working with councils to improve sporting gender equity for women and girls at local council level.  Achievements so far:

  • We have contacted 90 of the 152 Councils in NSW on their objectives and strategies for sport and recreation and whether they include any baseline information, or actions, measures or targets to improved access, equity and participation for women and girls in sport and recreation.
  • Research so far has indicated that approximately 70% of (Group 1 and 2) Councils are ‘Active’ in their commitment to their management of sport and recreation as an important part of promoting community health and well-being and seem more willing to promote access, participation and equity for women in sport through the use of council facilities.  There is more work to be done with the remaining 30% of NSW Councils who we have so far classed as ‘Passive’.  These councils treat sport and recreation mainly as “asset management” and therefore are not actively involved in promoting community health and wellbeing.
  • Using the WRNSW “Girls Get Active” (GGA) Day program to kick start Council’s enthusiasm and understanding of how to promote gender equity in sport and recreation.  So far WRNSW has partnered with three regional and metropolitan councils in NSW for GGA events over the last 12 months.
  • Local Government NSW, the peak body that represents all Councils in NSW, responded to lobbying from WRNSW and passed a resolution in October 2013 to “call on all councils to promote women in sport by improved access, participation and equity for women and girls.”
  • Development of a new “Local Government Women in Sport Equity Program” to promote and  encourage local councils to review current programs and policies so that they promote gender equity in sport and recreation; and to check policies regarding allocation of Sports Grounds, and apply for local council accreditation as a Council Working Towards Sporting Equity for Women and Girls.
  • WRNSW has been invited to present our Strategic Relationship Project with Local Councils to the more than 500 attendees of the International Working Group on Women and Sport Conference (IWG) in Helsinki in June 2014.


WRNSW “Get Active” Gala Days

The “Get Active” program that WRNSW has devised is effective and practical.  It brings together female sporting champions, state sporting organisations and their coaches, and provides a meaningful experience for schoolgirls. These events tap into schoolgirls by enabling them to meet and talk to female sporting champions and then engage actively with their role models.  The professionalism of these champions, along with the “Get Active” component of the program makes the day a powerful experience for girls. In every “Get Active” Day we continue to work closely with key state sporting codes to increase the participation of girls in their sport.


  • Coffs Harbour, August 7th 2013: The Coffs Harbour City Council was very supportive  with the Mayor, Denise Knight, officially opening the event.  The Cancer Council and local community groups, Head Space and the Happy Frog were also in attendance.  Nine sports organisations including AFL, Baseball, Cricket, Volleyball, Handball, Basketball and Boxing were showcased on the day and the girls had the opportunity to hear from elite athletes* and participate in sporting activities with them.


  • Marrickville, March 9th 2014:  WRNSW partnered with Marrickville Council to host a “Women in Sport Festival” at Steel Park/PCYC.  Sports represented on the day included Ultimate Frisbee, Fencing, Touch Football, AFL, Basketball, Netball, Football, Golf, Cricket and Boxing.  Our MC was Olympic swimmer Marieke De Cruz who did an excellent job interviewing the elite athletes**.  Mayor Jo Haylen also opened the days’ activities.  “We were encouraged by the stakeholder element on the day, the execution of various elements and particularly the involvement of the elite athlete panel members,” Simone Schwarz, Director of Community Services, Marrickville Council.

*Annie Le Fleur(Basketball); Aimee Durbridge (Basketball);Danielle Brogan (Matildas);Courtney Gumm (AFL);Kara Sutherland (Cricket); Shelley Watts (Boxing); Claire Dennerley (Handball)); Eryn Shipp (Baseball); Lily Borger (Volleyball)

**Melissa Tallent (Netball); Alicia Poto (Basketball); Louise Winshester (Touch); Nikki Shires (Ultimate Frisbee); Courtney Gumm (AFL); Danielle Brogan  (Football/Matildas)         


  • Shoalhaven, March 12th 2014:  500 girls attended this event in Bomaderri , funded by the NSW Minister for Sport. The sporting organisations represented included Lawn Bowls, Rugby Union, Hockey, Baseball, Cycling, AFL, Cricket, Basketball and Touch Football.  “The feedback we are receiving from the schools is overwhelmingly positive with schools valuing the experience of positive health and well-being initiatives.  I believe this event will continue to generate outcomes and encouragement for the girls to make being active a part of their lives now and in the future. Thank you again for bringing such inspirational female athletes^^ to the Shoalhaven along with the great coaches who ran the sporting sessions and working together to host a very successful Girls Get Active event,.”  Jody Quinnell, Community Development Officer,Shoalhaven City Council.


^^Eryn Shipp (Baseball); Maddie Collier (AFL); Jayme Kennedy (Basketball); Jo Broadbent (Cricket); Karen Murphy (Lawn Bowls)

Chief Executive Women Leaders Program, Sydney, February to November 2013


By partnering with Chief Executive Women, WRNSW is providing a unique opportunity to help women in sporting organisations gain greater representation in senior executive and board roles. This well established and highly regarded program has been running since 2004, and for the third year in a row (2012: Netball NSW and Cricket NSW; 2013: Gymnastics NSW and Football NSW) WRNSW has secured a berth for two more women from two leading sporting organisations, Australian Rugby Union and Cricket NSW, to participate in this year’s program.


The Sydney Scoreboard Global Index of Gender Equity in Sport Governance

 WRNSW has recently developed a partnership with the Sydney Scoreboard, a project that is crucial in helping accelerate the number of women in sport leadership positions in Australia and abroad.  While the proportion of women directors on boards of sporting organisation in Australia has risen over the past five years, women’s representation in senior leadership positions has slumped, according to the latest data.

  • Women now account for 28% of directors on sport boards in Australia, up from 22% in 2009,  but the percentage of women holding the chair has nearly halved to just 12% and the number of women CEO’s has dropped to 18% from 21%.
  • Data from the Sydney Scoreboard shows women directors in the Cook Islands (43%), Norway (37%) and American Samoa (34%) are well ahead of both the United States and Australia.
  • Regarding women CEO’s in sporting organisations, Australia is behind 15 other countries, including Iceland, Croatia, Northern Ireland and Zambia.  The result for organisation chairs leaves Australia trailing Ireland, Zambia, the USA, England and Tanzania.

The Sydney Scoreboard is a sophisticated tool which shows the real picture for women within sporting organisations, and the trend is very clear – the progress for women in Australia and in many major countries abroad, is not good enough.


 Mentoring Program for WRNSW Ambassadors and Sporting Champions (WOMENTORING)

I am delighted to announce that WRNSW is today launching its Mentoring Program for WRNSW Ambassadors and Sporting Champions.  The contribution that our Ambassadors and other sporting champions make to our organisation’s mission to increase women and girls participation in sport and recreation is outstanding.  Not only are they inspirational and fabulous role models to the thousands of schoolgirls they meet each year at our Get Active Days, but they are also an inspiration to our team at WRNSW.   It is difficult for many sportswomen to balance their sporting life with the demands of work, study and lack of recognition and funds, while at the same time trying to achieve personal goals and targets.


We have designed this mentoring program to provide support, advice, focus and encouragement to these champions in the hope it will help them realise their full potential both on and off the sports field.  The plan is that we will start with two mentees as a “Pilot” beginning and then open the program to more sportswomen later in the year as we finesse and progress our mentoring template.


Relationships and Funding

I would like to sincerely thank our funding partners, whose relationship with us is so vital and supportive: The Minister, The Hon. Stuart Ayres; the Hon. Gabrielle Upton; Our Patron, the Hon. Pru Goward; NSW Office of Communities – Sport and Recreation; Chief Executive Women; Partners in Performance; GrainCorpNSW Sport; NSW Sporting Injuries Committee; and the NSW Premier’s Sporting Challenge.


In addition I would like to acknowledge our partners who have provided tremendous in-kind support:  Netball NSW; AFL (ACT/NSW); Cricket NSW; Gymnastics NSW; Volleyball NSW; Touch Football NSW; Handball NSW; Ultimate Frisbee; Football NSW; ARU/Rugby NSW; Hockey NSW, Cycling NSW; Coffs Harbour City Council; Marrickville Council and Shoalhaven Council; Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) NSW; the Heart Foundation; Layne Beachley Foundation and Infinity Financial.


 Ambassadors and Leadership

Our Ambassadors, their leadership and the leadership of successful female sporting champions who have worked with us have all stood out as exemplary role models, demonstrating their skill, knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm to their sport, which is so important when motivating young females.  Our Ambassadors are:

  • Alex Blackwell – CricketAGM Photo
  •  Naazmi Johnston – Gymnastics
  • Kerry Pottharst – Beach Volleyball
  • Jessica Gardiner – Moto GP
  • Eunice Grimes – NRL All Stars
  • Danielle Brogan – Football
  • Jayme Paris – Para Cycling


Board and Management

The key that binds our Board and the Executive is the firmly held commitment we have to continue to promote women and girls in sport and recreation in this state.


This has been a very active and rewarding year and I would particularly like to thank Vice President Amanda Spalding for her leadership on our Strategic Partnership project with Local Councils and the development of our Mentoring Program.  Our Treasurer, Michelle Boon has kept us on the straight and narrow with our finances – thank you – and it is a pleasure to have Julie Griffiths and Sarina Jackson contributing so well to our Board meetings.

Our Administration and Events Manager, Bree Calderwood, has also had a very full year and quite frankly we are very fortunate to have her on our team.  Thank you Bree.

This report outlines the cornerstones underpinning our continuing quest to increase the participation of women and girls in sport – our ongoing core objective.


Thank you


Susan Horwitz

President, Womensport and Recreation NSW (WRNSW)