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Wāhine Toa Helps Third Intake Of Female Athletes Upskill In Sport Leadership

A group of female Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes has graduated from a New Zealand Olympic Committee run programme working to develop female leadership within sport.

The Wāhine Toa Leadership Programme was launched in New Zealand in 2017 (previously referred to as Women’s Sport Leadership Academy) andhas helped around 50 female Olympians transition from sport performance to leadership roles including coaching, governance and change management.

The programme provides a unique learning environment and saw the athletes attend three residential workshops where they developed their leadership competencies and were linked into a global network of female leaders in sport.

Wāhine Toa Programme Leader Robyn Cockburn says the opportunities and activities the women undertook through the programme have honed their leadership skills. The women have worked in teams on special projects with the Integrity Commission, Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand and Women Sport Aotearoa (WISPA).

“The behaviours and skills they have developedwill allow them to step up in sport leadership locally and internationally,” said Cockburn.

“The participants from our previous intakes have already made huge headway in their careers and we look forward to seeing what this next cohort achieves.”

NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol says the NZOC facilitates the programme in efforts to help diversify New Zealand’s sporting leadership.

“It is crucial we have more women in decision making roles in high performance sport to ensure a balanced view in leadership decisions,” said Nicol.

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“We’re really pleased to have helped these fantastic Wāhine upskill and look forward to seeing them bring a more balanced view to the New Zealand sporting sector.”

New Zealand Olympian #1248 Alana Barber is among those graduating from the course.

“The Wāhine Toa programme has been a fantastic learning experience,” said Barber.

“I’m extremely proud of the personal development that has come about as a result of this programme and I’m excited to put these skills into action.”

The Wāhine Toa programme is directed by Robyn Cockburn, and Lesley Ferkins (AUT).

It is part of an international network with more than 400 graduates from 50 countries.

The NZOC would like to thank the IOC and their Olympic Solidarity program, Grassroots Trust and Sir Owen Glenn for their contributions to make the programme possible.

The graduation ceremony was held with whānau and supporters at Government House, in Auckland. The event with Her Excellency, Dame Cindy Kiro, patron of the NZOC, was a poignant and fitting celebration for the new alumni.

Graduates from the third intake are:

Kristie Baillie, Athletics

Alana Barber, Athletics

Rebecca McDonald, Para swimming

Katie Duncan, Football

Katharine Eustace, Skeleton

Sharon Ferris-Choat, Yachting

Anna Galvan, Netball

Miriam Sheppard, Para swimming

Penelope Lloyd, Swimming

Huriana Manuel, Rugby Sevens

Fi Paterson, Rowing

Emma Robinson, Swimming

Lesley Rumball, Netball

Louise Storey, Rowing

Toni Strong, Cycling

Sarah Walker, Cycling

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