Inaugural Women’s Networking Event for Auckland sport & rec
"We can all lead in our own way and in our own context" was a key message at Aktive’s inaugural Women’s Network Event attended by more than 65 female sport and recreation representatives from across Auckland.
Focused on leadership, the event featured speakers from Aktive and one of its flagship initiatives HERA - Everyday Goddess, as well as a workshop session and an opportunity for attendees to network.
Dr Sarah Sandley, CE, Aktive talked to the current context of women in sport and recreation, gaps in leadership and Aktive’s role in the discussion.
"We know that high-performing teams are those in which women can be their authentic selves and achieve their potential, which benefits organisations communities and society," says Dr Sandley. "At Aktive, our role is to support this by helping women to achieve their potential in the sector. Given this, we are also closely aligned with Women in Sport Aotearoa and fully support the vision to see ‘women and girls valued, visible and influential in sport’ in Aotearoa New Zealand."
Aktive’s Women & Girls Manager Simone Spencer spoke further to this point: "Our job is to create a new norm for women’s roles and recognition in sport and recreation. To help do this, it is vital we continue to have these discussions as a sector to ensure we are supporting our network of women leaders in Auckland."
Some of the challenges currently faced by this network were discussed in the panel session with HERA Ambassadors Amber Clyde and Naz Spencer who shared their stories. Qualified personal trainer Amber Clyde from Girls Skate New Zealand runs girls skateboarding classes and competitions throughout Auckland, and Naz Spencer is a fitness, health and wellbeing consultant, NZ Personal Trainer of the Year finalist, and Auckland University of Technology lecturer who is currently piloting healthy lifestyle initiatives in an Auckland school; both are ambassadors for HERA - Everyday Goddess, an Aktive initiative that empowers girls aged 10-18 years to become active for life by supporting girls to enjoy, participate and become more engaged in physical activity.
A workshop session then saw participants identify strategic priorities for women leaders in sport and recreation in Tāmaki Makaurau. Feedback included educating senior management to influence boards on the importance of diversity within the sector; information on and financial support for development courses that meet the needs of women; and greater knowledge sharing, awareness and communication of opportunities, including mentoring and governance training.
Ms Spencer is encouraged by feedback from the unique event: "Response from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive and we are already working through the priorities and next steps."
She adds: "Aktive’s ongoing collaborative work is focused on strengthening Auckland’s sporting and recreational systems and environments, and we are committed to engaging females in all aspects."