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Women in Sport Summit 2018

Women make up 51% of the population and hold the purchasing power in 72% of households. Yet most sporting codes do not actively encourage female participation, marketing messages do not speak to women and future leagues are in their infancy. As women begin to take centre stage in typically male dominated arena now is the time to focus on the issues that will shape its future.

This event highlights the key areas where female audiences, athletes, and executives are growing and changing the business of sport. It features CEOs, General Managers, Marketers, Commercial Managers, Participation Managers and athletes interrogating how sports organisations can drive equality and grow their businesses with increased female engagement across the board.

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  21 - 23 August 2018
Melbourne Cricket Ground


Key industry figures driving female engagement in sport


Three days of intensive keynotes, case studies and panel discussions


Interactive sessions focusing on the central issues facing clubs and codes


Melbourne Cricket Ground


Realising equality in professional sport

Driving growth by commercialising women’s sport

Cultivating grassroots participation and engagement

Growing audiences with strategic marketing

Boosting the female athletic talent pool

Developing successful women’s leagues and teams

Who should attend this conference

100%CEO and General Manager

100%Commercial Manager

98%Heads of Participation and Engagement

98%GM Marketing

96%GM High Performance

Get Ready To Be Inspired!

Scroll down for more info and the agenda
Easy online booking or call for further assistance

Key Speakers


Raelene Castle ONZM

Chief Executive

Rugby Australia


Marne Fechner

Chief Executive Officer

Netball Australia


Leigh Russell

Chief Executive Officer

Swimming Australia


Matt Carroll AM

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Olympic Committee


Nicole Livingstone

Head of Women’s Football

Australian Football League


Belinda Clark AO

EGM Game and Market Development

Cricket Australia


Mark Anderson

Chief Executive Officer

Collingwood Football Club


Kim McConnie

Head of Big Bash League

Cricket Australia


Jeremy Loeliger

Chief Executive Officer

National Basketball League


Amanda Farrugia


GWS Giants Football Club


Danny Townsend

Chief Executive Officer

Sydney FC


Rosie King

Chief Executive Officer

Netball Victoria


Sarah Styles

Head of Female Engagement

Cricket Australia


Stephen Pitt

Chief Executive Officer

Golf Australia


Josephine Sukkar AM

President, Australian Women’s Rugby

Rugby Australia


Ian Robson

Chief Executive Officer

Rowing Australia


Emma Highwood

Head of Community, Player Development and Women’s Football

Football Federation Australia


Jodie Hawkins

General Manager

Sydney Sixers


Richard Heaselgrave

Chief Revenue Officer

Tennis Australia


Tiffany Slater

Senior Manager - Women's Elite Program

National Rugby League


Anthony Moore

Chief Executive Officer

Basketball Australia


Bronwyn KIei

General Manager

Adelaide Strikers


Peter Filopoulos

Chief Executive Officer

Football Federation Victoria


Samantha Feyzeny

Senior Marketing Manager – Brand & Communication

National Rugby League


Dr Bridie O’Donnell

Head – Office for Women in Sport and Recreation

Department of Health & Human Services Victoria


David Matthews

Chief Executive Officer

GWS Giants Football Club


Marina Go


Wests Tigers Football Club


Keith Bradshaw

Chief Executive Officer

South Australian Cricket Association


Anna Walker

Sport Development Manager

Surfing Australia


Scott Munn

Chief Executive Officer

Melbourne City Football Club


Liz Brett

Former Olympian

Crossing the Line Sport


Stuart Coventry

Chief Executive Officer

Melbourne Renegades


David Pourre

Chief Executive Officer

Brisbane Roar


Matt Finnis

Chief Executive Officer

St. Kilda Football Club


Lawrie McKinna

Chief Executive Officer

Newcastle Jets


Mike Anderson

Chief Operating Officer

Netball NSW (GM – GIANTS Netball)


Patrick Walker

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Sports Foundation

  • Conference Day 1

    Day One – Main Conference – 21 August 2018


    8:40 Registration, morning coffee and tea

    8:50 Opening remarks from the chair: Dr Bridie O’Donnell, Head – Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Department of Health & Human Services Victoria


    Culture and Leadership

    9:00am: KEYNOTE: Levelling the playing field: Pushing equality further with sport

    • Ensuring women are involved in all aspects of sport from boardroom to sports ground
    • How women in sport add financial value to all codes
    • Applying business transformation principles to the sporting arena
    • What is the model of best practice in leading diversity?

    Marne Fechner, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Australia


    9:40am: KEYNOTE: Driving growth in women’s sport over the next 5 years

    • Developing and achieving clear action points for success
    • Improving on the foundations already laid:
      • Extending seasons
      • Boosting regional reach
      • Optimising broadcast distribution
    • Ensuring a whole-of-business commitment to continuing reinvestment
    • Taking lessons from successful expansions of supporter base

    Nicole Livingstone, Head of Women’s Football, Australian Football League


    10:20pm: CASE STUDY: Making women’s engagement is an organisation-wide priority

    • Setting the course for transparency, accountability and respect in female engagement
    • Championing an organisational mindset of pure equality
    • Leveraging public accountability to ensure progress is made
    • Implementing change management principles to drive female engagement

    Sarah Styles, Head of Female Engagement, Cricket Australia


    11:00am Morning Tea


    11:20am: PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we realise true equality in sport?

    • Towards 50/50: What can we learn from each other?
    • What are the metrics of success?
      • Audience numbers?
      • Financial gain?
      • Grassroots participation?
    • What can we do now to realise the vision?

    Marina Go, Chair, Wests Tigers Football Club

    Stephen Pitt, Chief Executive Officer, Golf Australia

    Ian Robson, Chief Executive Officer, Rowing Australia

    Keith Bradshaw, Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Cricket Association

    David Matthews, Chief Executive Officer, GWS Giants Football Club


    12:20pm: KEYNOTE: Championing diversity through Rugby

    • Leveraging Olympic success to drive reinvestment:
    • Creating elite opportunities for full-time teams
    • Capitalising on growing interest in women’s sport to grow audiences further
    • Changing rugby’s perception from a ‘schoolboy’ game to engage a wider audience

    *Pending approval* Raelene Castle, Chief Executive Officer, Rugby Australia



    1:00pm Lunch


    1:40pm: KEYNOTE: Ensuring equal opportunity in professional sport

    • Determining the optimal level of funding to drive growth and retain audiences
    • Driving an organisational culture of equality
    • What sport can teach wider industry, and what industry can teach sport

    Jeremy Loeliger, Chief Executive Officer, National Basketball League


    Growth through Commercialisation

    2:20pm: PANEL DISCUSSION: Making women’s sport good business

    • What is the most successful model for commercialising women’s sport?
    • What can different codes learn from each other?
    • How are audiences consuming women’s sport?
      • Participation
      • Attendance
      • Merchandise
      • Media
    • Are brands looking at women’s sport differently?

    Josephine Sukkar AM, President, Australian Women’s Rugby, Rugby Australia

    Mike Anderson, Chief Operating Officer, Netball NSW (GM – GIANTS Netball)

    Bronwyn KIei, General Manager, Adelaide Strikers

    Danny Townsend, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney FC


    3:20pm: PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we optimise resourcing between men’s and women’s teams?

    • How do we go about promoting each team equally when sponsors historically invest more in men’s teams?
    • When and why should we implement an aggregated model for sponsorship?
    • What is the best way to balance marketing, communications and digital investment between teams?

    Scott Munn, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne City Football Club

    Stuart Coventry, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Renegades

    Andrew Abdo, Chief Commercial Officer, National Rugby League


    4:00pm Afternoon Tea



    4:20pm: CASE STUDY: Commercialising women’s sport

    • Capitalising on the growing interest in women’s leagues
    • Engaging decision-makers with a sound business case
    • Making money with money: Optimising reinvestment through capital gain
    • Leveraging sponsorship to grow your target market

    David Pourre, Chief Executive Officer, Brisbane Roar


    5:00pm: CASE STUDY: Navigating competition between codes

    • Maintaining commercial engagement while other new codes are launching
    • Retaining audiences in an increasingly competitive women’s sport market
    • Building single-sport loyalty despite players switching codes

    Catherine Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Queensland



    5:40pm: Networking Cocktail Function




     End of day one

  • Conference Day 2

    Day Two – Main Conference – 22 August 2018


    8:40 Registration, morning coffee and tea

    8:50 Opening remarks from the chair: Dr Bridie O’Donnell, Head – Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Department of Health & Human Services Victoria


    Players, Pathways and Participation

    9:00am: KEYNOTE: Cultivating female athletic talent

    • Maximising participation by ensuring suitable facilities for children of all genders
    • Ensuring a sustainable talent pool by implementing clear coaching pathways
    • Carving out junior to elite player pathways and demonstrating their stages

    Matt Carroll AM, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Olympic Committee


    9:40am: INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: Growing women’s sport by boosting grassroots participation

    • Sustainably building your audience through grassroots initiatives
    • Building the league by leveraging the status and profile of your athletes
    • Attracting government funding through health-based engagement activities
    • Creating and sustaining youth engagement with sport

    Kelly Simmons MBE, Participation and Development Director, The FA (UK)


    10:20am: ATHLETE KEYNOTE: Navigating the challenges facing professional female athletes

    • Striking the perfect sport/work/life balance
    • Juggling multiple competition and commercial commitments
    • Working with the organisation to drive gender equality in sport

    Amanda Farrugia, Captain, GWS Giants Football Club


    11:00am Morning Tea


    11:20am: PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we better engage women and girls in sport?

    • What are the strategies for retaining female participation through the teenage years?
    • How far should non-contact versions of a sport go? Can it detract from the main game?
    • How do we make individual sports less intimidating for teens?
    • Have social sports events had a measurable impact on participation?

    Leigh Russell, Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Australia

    Rosie King, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Victoria

    Anna Walker, Sport Development Manager, Surfing Australia

    *Pending discussion* Matt Finnis, Chief Executive Officer, St. Kilda Football Club

    Belinda Clark AO, EGM Game and Market Development, Cricket Australia


    12:20pm: KEYNOTE: Leading elite teams and athletes: Does gender matter in a high-performance environment?

    • The role of history and culture
    • Are the leadership attributes different between women’s and men’s teams?
    • Equality and fairness: Managing elite teams at differing stages of evolution

    Mark Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Collingwood Football Club (Former CEO, Swimming Australia)

    Lunch 1:00pm


    1:40pm: CASE STUDY: The importance of coaching to elite teams

    • Should women coach women’s elite teams?
    • Developing a sustainable coaching talent pool for female teams
    • Demonstrating clear coaching pathways from junior to elite

    Lawrie McKinna, Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle Jets


    Audiences, Maketing and Positioning

    2:30pm: KEYNOTE: WBBL: Growing an already successful women’s league

    • Establishing the WBBL in the prime-time
    • Converting fans with accessible gameplay and gameday spectacle
    • Tapping into the family market: the role women play in growing attendance

    Kim McConnie, Head of Big Bash League, Cricket Australia


    3:10pm: PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we position women’s sport?

    • What is the best model for promoting both a women’s and men’s elite team?
    • How does sponsorship affect the amount of exposure each team receives?
    • Do we promote our women’s team differently to engage a wider female audience?

    Jessica Goddard, Group GM Communications and Brand, Cronulla Sharks

    Jodie Hawkins, General Manager, Sydney Sixers

    Anthony Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Basketball Australia


    3:50pm Afternoon Tea


    4:00pm: CASE STUDY: Creating a women’s brand in a hyper-masculine sport

    • Addressing the perception that women and men’s sports brands should be treated the same
    • Engaging new audiences without alienating existing ones
    • Developing a brand not just a competition

    Samantha Feyzeny, Senior Marketing Manager – Brand & Communications, National Rugby League


    4:40pm: CASE STUDY: Maximising attendance and growing your team’s following

    • Cultivating engagement with targeted content
    • Driving participation with community and schools programs
    • Maximising sustainable gameday attendance by growing membership

    Peter Filopoulos, Chief Executive Officer, Perth Glory Football Club



    End of day two

  • Workshops Day 3

    Day Three – Post-Conference Workshops – 23rd August 2018

    Workshop A: 9:00am – 12.30pm:

    Growing your team, code and competition by engaging sponsors and partners

    The biggest challenge facing women’s sport is profitability. While it is vital that codes and clubs launch women’s leagues and teams to drive equality and grow markets, financial viability is essential to their survival. The most successful model for commercialising women’s sport is through sponsored partnerships. This workshop will show you how to determine, pitch and secure potential sponsors to ensure the sustainability of your organisation.


    This workshop will cover:

    • How to determine the right sponsors based on your organisations values and ambitions
    • Leveraging existing sponsors to build you organisation’s commercial profile
    • Sustaining strong relationships with sponsors
    • Understanding and promoting the different elements of your organisation and activities that sponsors can benefit from
    • Getting buy in and input from all areas of the organisation
    • Making use of human resources to activate sponsorships and provide value to sponsors
    • Looking beyond the standard transactions toward benefits in: Staff development and wellbeing, leadership development, community and social impact focus
    • Exploring the exchange of value on both sides beyond the obvious: Operations, running costs, staff training, member benefits and more


    Workshop facilitator: Vickie Saunders, Director, The Sponsorship Consultants

    By her own admission, Vickie Saunders is completely obsessed with teaching others how to connect with opportunity. Coming in from left field, with a background of corporate marketing and bid writing, Vickie is fast becoming the world’s leading expert in athlete sponsorship education, and loves working with athletes you’ve never heard of right through to household brands and global organisations. Officially based in Brisbane, Australia, but rarely there, Vickie spends much of her time travelling the world to work with her clients, contributing to an improved sponsorship landscape, globally, and at all levels.


    Workshop B: 1:30pm – 5:00pm:

    Carving pathways and driving engagement from juniors to elite athletes

    The most stable and sustainable method of growing women’s sport is initiating and maintaining engagement through coaching and career pathways. Without motivated young participants and inspiring elite athletes, it is impossible to expect a strong talent pool and engaged audience. This workshop will teach you what it takes to maintain inspiration and engagement with young participants, promising talents and elite champions.


    This workshop will cover:

    • Initiating government funding with health-based engagement activities, and leveraging this to create pathways and develop facilities
    • Maintaining female motivation and participation through the teenage years
    • Using the profile of elite athletes to support participation and demonstrate pathways
    • How to inspire young athletes to train and succeed


    Workshop facilitator: Joanne Love, Director, Joanne Love Elite Performance Management


    Joanne Love has been an elite swimming coach for many years, being included on many State, National and International teams. Joanne has represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics as a swimming coach and has also coached a number of Olympic Medallists and World Record Holders. Joanne holds a degree in psychology and currently works with elite sporting organisations imparting a wealth of information on how psychology and neuroscience can create successful outcomes. Joanne has been featured in and contributed to numerous publications, incorporating both psychology, leadership and coaching, while also being featured as a regular guest speaker at conferences, schools and sporting organisations. Joanne also acts as a mentor to other elite sporting coaches, working with them to incorporate psychological skills in their training programs.


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