NSWRL Board member Carolyn Campbell has offered her vast knowledge both as a player, team manager, administrator, and director to emerging female sports leaders as part of this year’s NSWRL Women In Sport Leadership (WISL) professional development program.
Women from 12 different sports - Rugby League, athletics, sailing, dragon boats, football, gymnastics, motorcycling, touch football, rowing, surf life saving, tennis and volleyball - are entering the final stages of their 20-week course.
The program is run in conjunction with University of New England (UNE) Partnerships and recognises the barriers which women face in achieving leadership roles across elite sports. It offers a unique training opportunity to support the career development of the participants.
Campbell represents 35 years in the sporting landscape having worked as a physical education teacher in Perth before moving into administrative roles.
Currently Chief Executive of Scouts NSW, Campbell was the CEO of Netball NSW for 14 years (2006-2020) and interim CEO of Basketball Australia (2021). She also has Director roles with Volleyball Australia, Hockey One, and is a former Sport NSW Chair and Venues NSW Director.
Campbell also captained the Under 21 Australian hockey team and was manager of the Australian women’s hockey team.
“Leadership is not just rah rah,” she told the WISL participants at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence.
“Yes, it’s important to be there for the good times but leadership becomes really critical when decisions have to be made, or actions taken, that may not be the most popular.”
Campbell said with the landscape of women’s sport changing so rapidly, women are filling many positions in both on-and-off the field roles.
But she said women will sometimes still shy away from the top leadership positions on offer.
“Women want to be the total package right from the start … and that can’t always happen,” Campbell said.
“It’s understanding that you’ve got the skills, the capabilities to actually grow into these roles.
“It’s about learning from examples and experiences and having a little personal ‘board of directors’ around you.
“You don’t have to be alone as there are people who will support you, bounce around ideas, offer advice. Your ‘directors’ might not be in your every-day social circle, but they understand you.”
This is the third intake of students for the program. The course covers two Diploma and Certificate-level modules which will give participants nationally-recognised credit towards a Diploma or Certificate IV in leadership and management.