LEAP & LEAD Graduation - Wrap

"Women in Sport" - it's a phrase we hear a lot around the traps these days.

Leadership seminars and mentoring workshops are staples on many workplace calendars nowadays and if you're one of the lucky ones, your employer will enroll you into a leadership program as personal development.

Vicsport and Sport and Recreation Victoria along with the support of La Trobe University partnered together to create a program aimed at inspiring female sport administrators to improve their leadership capabilities.

17 women from various sporting organisations took time out of their busy working schedules to delve deep within their own realms of self-actualisation to discover ways they can grow professionally and personally.

The 2 day "full throttle" course gave participants the opportunity to be involved in a variety of experiences that were both professionally and personally enriching. Areas of personal growth included emotional intelligence, relationship skills and workshops on creating and achieving their individual goals.

The course was facilitated by Telstra Businesswomen of the Year finalist Allison Crab and Australia's most experienced transformational facilitator Lyndall Russell. Together, the dynamic duo go by the name of Mad 4 Leaders (MAD: Making a Difference).

LEAP (Lead, Engage, Achieve, Promote) participants were first-timers to the course and buddy'd up with mentors from the LEAD (Lead, Engage, Achieve, Develop) program. Part of the LEAP program involved participants making a short presentation on their learnings from the course in front of their nearest and dearest, so too the Hon John Eren MP, Minister for Sport.

The final workshop of the program was a surprise to participants leaving some of them, if not all of them with a sense of gratitude and even a little star struck. Susan Alberti AC concluded the program with an inspirational talk about her life and the obstacles she overcame to reach success. Susan was relatable, woman to woman, and spoke candidly and honestly about the challenges she faced in a male dominant industry for many years and reminded the women of the LEAP and LEAD program to never ever give up on what they believe in.

Public speaking is not for everyone and fair to say for most us, it takes a different type of courage to stand up in front of a room of high achievers and present. First up was Maria Alexiadis who sits on the Executive Committee at Karate Victoria and just returned from competing in Poland. Maria emphasized the need to women to "Champion their own campaigns and close the gender gap in professional competitions by encouraging women to be officials and coaches".

Marketing and Business Development Manager at Cycling Victoria Renata Farah opened her presentation by saying, "I love cycling. It gives me freedom, it takes me everywhere. My mum put me in front of a soccer ball and I wanted a bike". Renata's mission is to get more children cycling in schools and to give children the knowledge on how to ride properly from a young age that will keep them in the sport.

Rachel Murphy, Project Coordinator at Sport Central ran the message of gender equality home by making it her responsibility to educate people on the need for gender equality in sport. Rachel is committed to running bi-monthly workshops on how to make women feel more comfortable in taking on leadership roles.

Just when you thought the evening of motivation and inspiration couldn't get any better, Bronwyn Neeson, Senior Manager at La Trobe Sport delivered this wonderful message;

"Äs a result of its long-term partnership with Vicsport and in the interest of investing in female leadership in sport La Trobe University is pleased to offer the 2017 graduates of the LEAP and LEAD programs advanced standing into the La Trobe University Masters of Management (Sport Management). What this means is that graduates may be eligible for an unspecified elective in the Masters of Management (Sport Management) which will reduce the number of subjects required to complete the degree, a significant advantage for anyone considering study. In edition all participants are eligible to apply for the University’s Excellence Scholarships which are worth a 15, 20 or 25% fee reduction, depending on the meeting of certain criteria.

The University recognises that the graduates of the 2017 LEAP and LEAD have already achieved so much in their careers and further education can support their continued upward trajectory. The University wants to make it an easier decision to undertake relevant post-graduate studies and therefore this offer of advanced standing and fee reduction into the Masters of Management (Sport Management) is so important.

Together with Vicsport, La Trobe University is committed to creating, supporting and enhancing the career opportunities and profile of our female leaders in sport, we want to breakdown the current catch cry of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.”

Following the graduation ceremony, the participants were able to let their hair down and mingle with the group and share stories of personal change and transformation.

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