150 forward thinkers representing sport and recreation, state and local government, education and the corporate sector filled the picturesque presentation room on the 36th floor of the KPMG building at the docklands.
Seeking to hear from industry experts on the importance of diversity and inclusion in decision making roles, attendees were treated to some frank and fearless discussion and commentary on both the progress that has been made and some of the challenges that still lie ahead for organisations to reaching equality.
Head of Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Dr Bridie O’Donnell performed the role of MC for the forum and opened up with an update on the work being undertaken by her office and the wider sector as a whole.
Bridie spoke to the importance of diversity and the role the state government is playing to ‘level the playing field’.
“Advancing women in leadership roles is really important discussion and the forum is designed to address areas around why women should be in leadership roles both within sport and recreation but across industry as a whole.”
Bridie then introduced the panel, which featured leading thinkers representing a range of industries. The panellists discussed their first-hand experience and shared their important learnings.
Lisa Hasker, CEO VicSport spoke on the important work being done in sport and recreation to level the playing field.
“Board Quotas are a really important piece of work for us (VicSport) and we will continue to work with the sector to ensure the requirements are meet. Forums such as these are crucial as they provide explanation on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. “
“We must strive to represent the society in which we live and quotas will help us get there however, sports need to be ready to really drive the change.”
Brian Walsh, Managing Director Bastion Reputation Group and Board Member – North Melbourne Football Club has seen first-hand, the difference quotas make and shared with the group his experience.
“What you find with quotas is that they drive conversation in areas that they would otherwise occur.”
“I would rather have a debate about whether the implantation of a board quota worked or didn’t work rather than not having a discussion at all.”
Baseball Victoria CEO, Justin Huber spoke about why diversity at both board and executive level was important for his organisation.
“Both from an operational level but also from a leadership perspective, pushing the message down to our clubs and committees.”
“What’s great about sessions such as these is that it keeps the discussion current. In sport, we are all stretched pretty thin and it is easy to just find yourself working in day-to-day operational mode.”
“It is important we are able to step away from that cycle and ensure we focus on some of the longer term changes that are required to ensure the industry continues to grow and flourish.”
Kate Roffey added a different spin on the topic, speaking to how women can make the greatest impact.
“As yourself, what can you add to a board?”
“Don’t look where you think you may best ‘fit’, look to see where you can make the biggest difference.”
Wrapping up the forum, Dr O’Donnell thanked everyone for both their support and contribution to the discussion.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this event and I would like to also recognise our presenting partners, VLGA and KPMG for making today possible.”
The Office for Women in Sport hold a range of leadership forums and events and to ensure you don’t miss anything coming up, follow Change our Game on social media @ChangeOurGame
Change our Game - Women on boards forum video transcript (word)