International Women’s Day 2022 focuses on how we can break the bias to create a more equal, inclusive and diverse society. 

Sport plays a critical role on the path to equality, and with more women having important decision-making roles within National Sport Organisations (NSOs) and National Sport Organisations for people with a disability (NSODs), it is only the beginning of the journey to breaking the bias. 

The Confederation of Sport Australia (CAS) would like to recognise the women who’ve been appointed to lead NSOs and NSODs in Australia since January 2021 and applaud their efforts in contributing to a more inclusive society where everyone has the chance to participate in sport.

Marne Fechner – AusCycling
After decades of holding various management roles in netball, working at both a state level with Netball Victoria and then with Netball Australia, Marne Fechner became AusCycling’s inaugural CEO in February 2021. Her appointment came after a sweeping restructure, which saw 16 separate state and disciplinary-specific organisations under one banner. Fechner came to the sport after three years as the CEO of Netball Australia, where the former competitive netball player elevated the position of her chosen sport in the media, giving it greater visibility and better-earning potential.

Emma Taylor – Judo Australia
A successful sports administrator with over 20 years of experience, Emma Taylor has spent the last decade specialising in governance consultancy. With previous roles across Western Australian sports organisations including judo, karate, Little Athletics and diving, came to Judo Australia in January 2021.

Kelly Ryan – Netball Australia
Starting her career in the media industry while studying a Bachelor of Marketing at RMIT in the 1990s, Kelly Ryan has held various senior marketing and events roles since her days volunteering at radio station Fox FM. The Harvard University Authentic Leadership graduate, has forged a career in Australia Rules Football as a foundation Executive member of the Gold Coast SUNS and was an executive member of the Western Bulldogs during their 2016 Premiership triumph and the formation of the club’s AFLW team. Ryan took over as CEO of Netball Australia in July 2021.

Rosie Williams – Softball Australia
Commencing with Softball Australia CEO in February 2022, Rosie Williams brings many years of sports leadership experience. Previously the Managing Director of Rugby Football Union (RFU) for Women in England, Williams helped organise the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup. In 2013, she received an Order of the British Empire for her contribution to women’s rugby union. Going on to establish her own consultancy firm in 2018, saw her continue her work across the sporting and commercial landscape before stepping into the role at Softball Australia. 

Eugenie Buckley – Swimming Australia
Experienced sports administrator Eugenie Buckley, who was appointed CEO of Swimming Australia in October 2021, has a long career in sports, having worked on some of the world’s biggest events including the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup, as well as organisations such as Football Australia (previously FFA), International Cricket Council, Athletics Australia and Netball Queensland. Buckley’s career has spanned commercial, strategic planning, operations, integrity and risk, and people and culture. 

Heather Garriock – Taekwondo Australia
The former Matildas representative has 130 caps for Australia, featuring in two Olympic Games – Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 – along with three FIFA Women’s World Cups. Following her playing career, Garriock transitioned into coaching, leading Canberra United in the W-League for three seasons. Becoming involved in taekwondo through her daughter, who practised the sport at school, Garriock was attracted to taekwondo due to the inclusivity of the sport. Inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame last month, Garriock was also almost elected to the World Taekwondo Council earlier this year.

Catherine Clark – Paralympics Australia
An exceptional leader with extensive experience in sports leadership, Clark will be playing a critical role a decade out from Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The former CEO of Netball Queensland, Clark led one of the largest participation sports in the state for seven years. Prior to her work in netball, she has previously held a Directorship with Australian University Sport in addition to CEO positions with Gymnastics Australia and Gym Sports New Zealand. Clark has also previously been a consultant with the International Paralympic Committee, where she helped the development of an international policy, investment framework and strategic plan to grow participation in Para sport across the globe. 

Ariane De Rooy – Skate Australia
An experienced business and governance professional, De Rooy has held roles with organisations such as Brisbane Roar, Queensland Rugby Union and Shell as well as in the public sector with Sport England and Sport Australia. Joining Skate Australia in September 2021, the NSO encapsulates more than just skateboarding but a range of sports including roller derby, artistic skating, inline hockey, and rink hockey.

Dinah Glykidis – Boxing Australia
The Boxing Australia General Manager, joined the organisation after seven years with Queensland Rugby League where she was a Team manager before becoming the Competitions Executive. Previously Glykidis worked with Swimming Queensland.  

Jenni Cole – Disabled Wintersport Australia
With over 30 years of experience at all levels in adaptive sport, Cole was announced as CEO of Disabled Wintersports Australia in early 2022. A rehabilitation physiotherapist and educator by background, Cole has worked with Paralympics Australia as a Classification Manager and Medical Coordinator for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Her passion for adaptive sports has led her to various roles including as CEO of Disability Australia where she was key to the foundation and development of the wheelchair version of Australian football as well as instrumental in Australia’s successful bid for the 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships. Away from her day job, Cole is an active firefighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Not to forget the wonderful contribution of the following long-standing senior sports executives:

  • Robyn Smith OAM – Sport Inclusion Australia
  • Kerry Fullarton – Calisthenics Australia
  • Caitlin Foxharding – Australian Fencing Federation
  • Bronwyn Thompson – Handball Australia
  • Angela Grills – Polocrosse Association of Australia