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The changing landscape of Sports Boards

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Release Date: 01/08/2021

On target: From banks to guns, Cheryl Dixon takes aim at Boards. show art On target: From banks to guns, Cheryl Dixon takes aim at Boards.

Women on Boards I Making it Real

When Cheryl Dixon is asked what Board she is on, her answer is met with raised eyebrows. With almost three decades with NAB, Cheryl’s first Board role with the Queensland Rifle Association came as a surprise to her and those around her. But six years ago she became the Board’s first woman and independent NED in the organisations’ 160-year history.

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Fiona David: Why we need a humane response to migration show art Fiona David: Why we need a humane response to migration

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Fiona David has worked at the intersection of crime, law reform and human rights and in 2018 was appointed inaugural Research Chair of Minderoo Foundation. Fiona's career has seen her travel to some of the most dangerous corners of the globe while listening to the personal stories of human trafficking. As she says: “I am an adventurer deep in my heart. I feel compelled to do what I can to help others and to try and understand why people would put themselves in these incredibly risky situations.

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Building a Portfolio Career, Mustering Cattle and Surviving the witness box in the Banking Royal Commission show art Building a Portfolio Career, Mustering Cattle and Surviving the witness box in the Banking Royal Commission

Women on Boards I Making it Real

In this episode Claire talks to highly accomplished board director Victoria Weekes about her board journey to an enviable portfolio career. She talks openly to Claire about her period of renewal, surviving the witness box in the Banking Role Commission, the importance of establishing and consistently following your values, humility and how we really haven’t come as far as we think with the gender pay gap.

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Turf love: How horse lover and Australian Turf Club Chair Trish Egan harnessed her passion show art Turf love: How horse lover and Australian Turf Club Chair Trish Egan harnessed her passion

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Trish Egan is a born and bred Sydney girl, but she has had a lifelong love of horses from a young age. Looking back, 12-year-old Trish - who secretly penned a letter to the Chairman of the Australian Jockey Club asking how to become a strapper - would never have thought she’d be taking the reins as Australian Turf Club Chair decades later. Despite being told “stables were not the place for young ladies” Trish never gave up on her racehorse dream.

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Taking charge: Engineering’s first lady Dr Bronwyn Evans PhD AM show art Taking charge: Engineering’s first lady Dr Bronwyn Evans PhD AM

Women on Boards I Making it Real

It’s no surprise Dr Bronwyn Evans AM sticks by the mantra ‘everyone’s an engineer’. As CEO of Engineers Australia she can’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to work in her chosen field. It's Dr Evans belief that all children have the potential to become engineers. In this podcast, Dr Evans talks about why it’s time to get the gender balance right in STEM, how COVID has paved the way for more technology reforms and why problem-solving engineers are the perfect fit for the boardroom.

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Bringing the Tech perspective to Boards show art Bringing the Tech perspective to Boards

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Lil Bianchi is not your box-ticking director. As a highly-experienced NED, Chair Audit & Risk Committee, former CEO and tech entrepreneur working across data analytics, fintech, risk and customer value Lil thrives on innovation and loves being around curious people. In this podcast, Lil says there’s space in every boardroom for “weird and whacky ideas” and talks about the importance of Boards to have a tech perspective. As she puts it: “Don’t get bamboozled or sidetracked - just dig, dig, dig.”

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Fashion to financial markets: How Mahjabeen Zaman found her voice show art Fashion to financial markets: How Mahjabeen Zaman found her voice

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Fashion designer, newsreader, banker, lecturer: Mahjabeen Zaman has had all these careers in her sights since growing up in Singapore with her Pakistani-born parents. Now living in Australia, Mahjabeen can add three of those four jobs to her resume. Currently working as a senior investments specialist and part-time lecturer, after also running her own fashion label in Asia, Mahjabeen talks to Claire about her passion for finance and why having a culturally diverse Board should never be ignored.

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Leesa Chesser: From Politics to the Boardroom show art Leesa Chesser: From Politics to the Boardroom

Women on Boards I Making it Real

If anything can prepare you for battle in the boardroom, it’s being a politician in the middle of a crisis. Former SA Mental Health Minister Leesa Chesser was thrust into the spotlight when allegations of elder abuse of dementia patients at the state-run Oakden nursing home were exposed leading, in part, to the aged care royal commission. In this podcast Leesa talks to Claire about what it was like being at the centre of a political scandal, and how vital lessons learned helped in her boardroom journey.

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Roberta Wright: The day my life turned upside down show art Roberta Wright: The day my life turned upside down

Women on Boards I Making it Real

Resilient and tenacious - no two words could better describe long-term Women on Boards member Roberta Wright. Despite being left totally blind after a brain operation then having to fight to keep her adopted baby - on the back of losing her brother to a drug overdose and father to cancer - Roberta is always looking to the future. In this podcast she talks about overcoming adversity, learning to adjust and the challenges of raising a child as a blind single parent.

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Premiership Winning Material: Gaye Hamilton and her Wild Ride show art Premiership Winning Material: Gaye Hamilton and her Wild Ride

Women on Boards I Making it Real

She’s spent years working with children and animals (a combination many of us would steer clear of) and yet Gaye Hamilton says the transferable skills gained in secondary science education and zoo management paved the way for her varied and fascinating career and board journey, including over a decade with the Western Bulldogs AFL club.

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In this podcast, Margot Foster AM OLY talks to Claire Braund about the very real challenges that face sports boards today from corporate governance, to best practice, to competing state and national interests, to the evolving responsibilities of directors.

Margot is the Director of The Lyceum Club, NST Member Selection Advisory Committee member of National Sports Tribunal Australia, Governance and Integrity Consultant at SIGPA and inaugural Chair of the World Athletes Election Oversight Panel (formerly IAAF), among her many roles.

A former Olympian and a lawyer, Margot has a finely honed understanding of team dynamics, high performance, attention to detail and excellence.

She won Gold in rowing at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, and holds the title till this day. Her rowing profession came to a brutal end in 1988 when a panel of male selectors unilaterally decided they wouldn’t send any female contesters to the Seoul Olympics.

While the doors closed on her professional sporting career, Margot has remained at the strategic heart of countless sports boards since she was 18 and hasn’t looked back.

In 1989, Margot was appointed to the Melbourne Olympic Bid Committee for 1996 Games, which exposed her to power brokers lobbying to host the Olympics. It was at the time when no one talked about governance and Margot had to find her way autonomously. It taught her invaluable lessons and equipped her with the grit and determination needed to navigate the terrain of sport boards.

The challenges have been vast and varied, Margot admits, and governance remains at the peak of the list. Sports boards are driven by peoples’ passion and love for the game, but this is deeply rivaled by shifting government requirements, increasing risks, professionalization across the sector and changing television rights. Margot explains this is why the type of director required for sports boards is evolving amidst the inevitable and persistent challenges of member-based bodies, the federated model, and the fraught field of integrity.

In this podcast, Margot cautions sporting organisations that if you ignore history, you peril. 

Margot Foster - AM, OLY, Non-Executive Director

  • Director of The Lyceum Club
  • NST Member Selection Advisory Committee member of National Sports Tribunal Australia
  • Governance and Integrity Consultant at SIGPA
    Inaugural Chairman of World Athletes Election Oversight Panel (formerly IAAF)
  • Director and Vice President of Motorsport Australia
  • Founder and Director of Talk the Talk Consulting
  • Committee Member and Former President of Olympians Club of Victoria

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