‘Lockdown leadership’ focus at recent Women’s Networking Event

by Aktive
Published on Monday 13 December, 2021
Women's 'Networking' Event (1)

The final 2021 Women’s Networking Event for the sport and recreation sector took to the virtual stage recently with a focus on ‘lockdown leadership’, shining a spotlight on inspirational leaders at community, national and international levels.

Hosted by Aktive, the event saw updates and insights from Raelene Castle, Chief Executive, Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand; Andrea Nelson, Chief Executive, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022; and WHITE FERNS Cricketer, Suzie Bates. 

Aktive Chief Executive, Jennah Wootten highlighted the importance of celebrating successes of women in the sport and recreation sector.

“We often don’t take time to stop, acknowledge what we’ve achieved and soak up these milestones – and lockdown has made this even more challenging. This event was an outstanding opportunity to be inspired through hearing the reflections and learnings of women leading in our sector and to celebrate the many successes achieved during lockdown,” says Ms Wootten.

“New Zealand is not short of phenomenal women working within the sport and recreation sector, and many are making great strides by embracing different opportunities and roles, despite the current climate. Let’s celebrate this and consider the role we can individually and collectively play in supporting the continued development and advancement of this talent.”

Raelene Castle, Chief Executive, Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand outlined her lockdown experience and talked about adapting her leadership style in response.

“The last four months have been the most challenging of my career, and I’m sure of many others. I’ve kept a couple of points top of mind to guide me: check in on your people; don’t be afraid to be authentic; and share your challenges. It’s important to look after yourself as well – exercise, reflect and have some fun.”

Andrea Nelson, Chief Executive, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 talked to the challenges of organising an international tournament in COVID conditions and added: “I’ve never been part of a project before where everyone believes so strongly in the goal - if anything, the COVID challenge has brought our partners and team closer together. The work we’ve done means we’re super well placed, and I’m excited about the opportunity this summer.”

WHITE FERNS Cricketer, Suzie Bates also shared her views: “I enjoyed the initial slowdown and reset of lockdown and saw the importance of connecting and caring in bubble life. It helped me realise some of my own priorities – I need connection, with my mental health and wellbeing being absolute priorities.”

Throughout the event, examples of positive and supportive opportunities for women in the sector were shared, and virtual breakout groups asked the question: what will you take from what you have learnt over lockdown that you will continue to do out of lockdown?

Despite COVID-19 challenges, Ms Wootten is encouraged by the feedback and future: “We are committed to working with others to empower wahine toa and strengthen women’s involvement in all aspects of sport and recreation. Lockdown has meant many challenges, and self-reflecting and networking, albeit virtually, are valuable ways to grow and learn from this journey.”

For more information visit https://aktive.org.nz/what-we-do/women-girls/