Former Australian cricketer Shelley Nitschke and two-time Olympic water polo representative Bec Rippon are among 32 women from 20 sports selected for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Talent Program, which is designed to address the under-representation of women in coaching and executive roles in high performance sport.
In a press release issued on 17 March 2022, Australia’s Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck announced the 16 coaches and 16 executives who have been selected for the intensive Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) professional development programs funded by the Australian Government’s Office for Women and Sport Australia.
We are so proud to announce the 2022 participants for the #AISTalent Program!
32 incredible women representing 20 sports will take part in the #WLIS program for women coaches and executives in high performance sport.
— Australian Institute of Sport (@theAIS) March 17, 2022
The AIS Talent program has been designed to be a catalyst for identified women leaders to further progress their career potential in sport, this year with an emphasis on coaching and executive positions.
“We want the participants in this program to grow their leadership presence as individuals, but also to be influential in shifting mind-sets and behaviours in sport and broader community,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Australian Government has been strong and consistent in our approach to increasing opportunities for women and girls at all levels of sport, from participation in community sport through to the leaders running our organisations.
“We’ve made no secret of our aspiration to have a greater proportion of women in leadership roles in Australian sport and it’s encouraging to see the wide range of sports and organisations engaging with this AIS Talent program.
“The next decade in particular, leading up to the 2032 Brisbane Games, will be one of the most exciting chapters in Australian sporting history. It’s crucial that we have the right talent, diversity and balance within the leadership ranks of our sporting system, whether it be in the boardroom or in the sporting arena.”
This is the second time the AIS Talent Program has had a high performance coach focus, with alumni including two-time Olympic gold medallist Katrina Powell, the first woman coach of the Hockeyroos in 43 years. Like Katrina, former Australian allrounder Shelley Nitschke has also successfully transitioned from athlete to coach and is currently at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand as the Assistant Coach of the Australian Cricket Team.
“I’m honoured to have been accepted into the AIS Talent Program alongside some amazing women from across the sporting sector and I’m looking forward to connecting with them and getting stuck into the program,” Nitschke said.
“The program presents a wonderful opportunity for me to further myself both personally and professionally and I’m hoping it will help taking my coaching to a new level.”
Running in conjunction to the AIS Women High Performance Coach Talent Program will be a program focused on supporting and elevating women in executive positions in sport.
Debbie Savage, the National High Performance Manager at Skate Australia, said: ” I’m thrilled to be selected for the AIS Executive Talent Program. It’s an exciting opportunity to be afforded time to develop my own professional capabilities as an executive leader in Skateboarding, whilst strengthening my network with other amazing women in the high performance sport system who are sharing a similar journey.”
AIS Director Matti Clements said: “The calibre of participants selected for this year’s AIS Talent Program is proof of the incredible skill and experience that already exists in Australian high performance sport.
“But there is no hiding from the fact that women are still under-represented in both coaching and executive ranks. I would like to thank the Australian Government and Office for Women for giving the AIS resources to help change this and look forward to seeing the AIS Talent participants help drive greater diversity in Australian sport.”
For more information about the AIS Talent Program, visit the AIS website here.
2022 AIS Female Sport Executive Talent Program:
Megan Carr, Female Engagement Manager VIC, Golf Australia
Christine Harman, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Cricket Australia
Rana Hussain, Inclusion and Diversity Manager, Cricket Australia
Dee Jennings, Performance and Planning Manager, Hockey Australia
Cassie Lindsey, Inclusion and Diversity Manager, Geelong Football Club
Jane Louise Woodlands-Thompson, Director/ Consultant, Activebods
Sarah Luttrell, Senior Legal Counsel, Tennis Australia
Jane McGough, General Manager – Consumer, Community and Marketing, Gold Coast SUNS Football Club
Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer, Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Manager, Gymnastics Australia
Carolyn Morrison, Performance Services Program Manager, Western Australian Institute of Sport
Jenni Thom, HR and Finance Manager, Shooting Australia
Jodie Newton, Acting Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Cricket Association
Melanie Purkiss, Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Manager, Athletics Australia
Rachel Ratini, General Manager – Sport Operations, Equestrian Australia
Debbie Savage, National High Performance Manager, Skate Australia
Rebekah Webster, General Manager- Vixens, Performance & Pathways, Netball Victoria & the Melbourne Vixens
2022 AIS Female High Performance Coach Talent Program:
Ash Ankudinoff, Coach, SASI
Alison Bombardier, Manager and Assistant Coach Para Alpine Ski Team, Snow Australia
Belinda Cox Gymnastics, Manager – Pathways and Performance, NSW Trampoline
Taís de Morais Rochel, Fencing Coach/ Personal Trainer, Australian Fencing Federation
Rebecca Dicello, Head Endurance Cycling Coach, NSWIS
Lucy Glanville, 2022 Youth/Junior World Championships Head Coach, Australian Biathlon Association
Belinda Goss, Cycling Coach, TIS
Harriet May Jones, Head Diving Coach, VIS
Shelley Nitschke, Assistant Coach – Australian Women’s Team, Cricket Australia
Kerry O’Sullivan, AFLW Development Coach, West Coast Eagles Football Club
Catherine Paice, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Football Queensland/QAS
Rebecca Rippon, Women’s Water Polo Head Coach, NSWIS
Jaime Swavley, Sailing Coach, Australian Sailing
Michelle Tickner, Head Coach and Founder, Team 360 Performance
Christine Voge, Assistant Coach, Sunshine Coast Lightning Netball Club
Taryn Woods, Associate, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement, Water Polo Australia