Late in 2019, FC Twenty11 was invited to attend the 2019 SMAANZ Sport Management Conference at the University of Canterbury.
An industry engagement conference where sport administrators and leaders were able to talk and discuss sports management alongside academic researchers from all over the world and other NZ based sport industry guests. Not only was it humbling to be invited; the event was both insightful and thought provoking.
Colin Williamson, Phillip Green and myself (Melissa Green) all attended the ‘Navigating two worlds; Pacific contribution to leadership within the New Zealand Rugby System’ where Tracy Atiga walked us through her journey and the perceived barriers preventing more pasifika players, or guardians, getting involved in rugby leadership within New Zealand. Tracy’s learning reinforced the need for FC Twenty11 to continue to engage it’s community with awareness and respect of other cultures that share the same passion for the game. Click here to read more about Tracy’s journey and insights.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Alida Shanks who presented ‘How far have we really come? Questions arising from Sport New Zealand’s women and girls strategy’. This session I found a little more confronting as a female coach and club volunteer myself. Yes, there have been improvements directed at encouraging women and girls to be active in sport, however there is more that can be done. FC Twenty11 has already started that journey appointing a dedicated Female Football Development Manager (Gareth Preston) and a CWL Coach (Amelia Woulfe) with the intent to encourage and nurture our female football members. It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge a number of FC Twenty11 fathers (you know who you are) that have supported their daughters passion for the game. Coaching their daughters team and cheering them on from the sidelines; thank you. Alida also highlighted the ‘Women and Girls in Sport’ strategy, released in October 2018, stipulating a 40% gender balance on boards where $50,000 a year funding was provided by Sport New Zealand or High Performance Sport New Zealand. Though this would not involve FC Twenty11’s board, we need to take heed and actively engage our senior female members or female guardians/parents encouraging them to get involved at the board level.
As mentioned above, the event was insightful and thought provoking. A special thank you to Dr Ning (Chris) Chen, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Canterbury and Liz Sawyer for the invitation.
Author: Melissa Green
Alida Shanks & Phil Green