Vicsport Talks - The Business of Social Sport

What are keys to sustainability of social sport programs?

Over the past decade, the sports industry has created hundreds of new modified and social sport programs, targeting greater inclusivity and increased participation by less active Victorians.

Innovative new products have been rolled out right across the state, delivered by local clubs, coaching businesses and other providers – targeting the prevailing motivations for sport participation: greater health outcomes, social connections and a fun environment.

Yet within any innovation process it is natural that not every new idea can succeed. So, what are the keys to success when it comes to sustaining and the scaling out participation products?

This event is a 1-hour panel discussion to highlight effective strategies to sustain social sport products, highlighting the natural ‘bumps along the road’ and how these can be overcome.

The panel will be moderated by Vicsport Participation Strategy Manager, Tom Dixon. Guests will include:

  • Ruth Holdaway MBE – CEO, Tennis Victoria

Ruth Holdaway MBE is Chief Executive of Tennis Victoria, a role for which she relocated to Australia from the UK and to which she brings over 15 years leadership experience across the sport and charity sectors. A leader in the sport sector internationally, Ruth is known in particular for her passion in driving gender equality in sport.

Named by national UK media as one of the 50 most influential women in sport and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London for services to sport, Ruth has a strong track record of innovation, strategy leadership and campaigning success across the sport sector. Her achievements at Women in Sport include: increasing women and girls’ participation in sport with an insight-led approach and through initiatives such as #StrongIsNotASize, Women’s Sport Week and This Girl Can; changing national policy in the UK to mandate sports boards have a minimum 30% women on the board; and driving change and collaboration in sport through leadership of national events such as the Transforming Sport and Empower Conferences.

Ruth is often called upon to comment in national media and in June 2019 was awarded a MBE for services to gender equality in sport. She returned to England in November 2019 to receive the award from the Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince William, during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Ruth was Chief Executive of Women in Sport in the UK from 2013 – 2019 and prior to this held senior roles at Women’s Aid, Prostate Cancer UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

  • Michael King – Manager, Business Development and Innovation, Leisure Networks

Michael is a reputable presenter who oversees partnership and content development, workshop design and meeting the agreed program outputs. He leads and supports a team of skilled facilitators and staff providing them with the professional development they need to deliver high level education, training and support. Michael has a very strong knowledge base around local sporting environments with a focus on culture, leaderships and strategic planning.

  • Richelle Olsen – Founder and Chief Escapee, Escaping Your Comfort Zone

Richelle Olsen is the founder of Escaping Your Comfort Zone, a body positive hiking and adventures for women and non-binary people. An active person who counts among her achievements hiking to Everest base camp, running a 25km mountain race in the Spanish Pyrenees and trekking the Inca Trail, Richelle created Escaping Your Comfort Zone to provide plus-size women opportunities to be more active. In her own words: “I’m just an everyday woman, I’m not overly fit, but I love the outdoors, and I want to inspire and support other plus sized girls to experience what I have, without limits.You don’t need to be fit, you don’t need to “look the part”, it doesn’t matter what size you are, all you need is a sense of adventure, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone.”


This is a free event open to anyone working in sport, recreation or health in both government and not-for-profit roles.

This event will be live-streamed. Please select the correct ticket type below if you will be attending, or watching the live-stream.

Tom Dixon
Participation Strategy Manager
P 9698 8106

Fri Feb 7 2020, 9:30am — Fri Feb 7 2020, 11:00am
Attending in person - Free (Member: Free)
I'll watch the live-stream - Free (Member: Free)
Level 3, La Trobe University City Campus, 360 Collins St, Melbourne

Government Partners

Preferred Suppliers