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ASC program helps NRL clubs develop female leaders

Rachal Allan and Julia Tzoukos attended an ASC Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) workshop earlier this year. Both said it helped them focus on their career goals and encouraged them to take the next steps in their respective careers.

The Cronulla Sharks are celebrating the NRL Women in League round this week by recognizing the accomplishments of some of their team members.

The WLIS program aims to provide women in sport with leadership development opportunities on and off the field while supporting sport organizations to create inclusive cultures and achieve gender equity.

The workshops are a component of the broader WLIS program supported by the Office for Women and funded through the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program. More than 300 women took part in the workshops in 2022.

Ms Allan is the Sharks Indigenous Programs Coordinator and is passionate about her work in schools and community groups, making the club more welcoming and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

She said the WLIS leadership workshops have helped her build her own confidence and career opportunities, improve her networking skills and foster connections with other women in sport.

“The program has encouraged me to redefine areas and skills that I have found challenging and to understand how to change my thoughts and actions,” she said.

Ms Tzoukos is the Partnerships Coordinator at the NRL Club and believes her background and experience places her well to expand and advocate for the recognition and pathways of women in the sports industry.

“The weekly workshops have taught me the mindset and skills I need to develop, while also connecting me with like-minded women with similar goals,” Ms Tzoukos said.

“I’ve been able to network more effectively and appreciate this connection to other women across Australia who all strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.”

Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said it’s good to celebrate the NRL’s Women In League round every year and to recognize women’s contribution to the game.

“NRL clubs appear to be male-dominated spaces but we are proud of the number of capable and talented women we have here at the Sharks working in a variety of roles across the company including Rachal and Julia. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to attend the ASC Women Leaders in Sport Workshop and the knowledge gained will no doubt benefit them personally as well as us as a club.”

The WLIS Leadership Workshops consist of seven sessions covering topics such as leadership development, teamwork, building culture and future growth.

The WLIS program also includes grants for individuals and organizations to help with professional development and improve workplace culture, as well as programs to develop more specific leadership skills. The next round of funding applications is expected to open at the end of August 2022.

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