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ASC program helping NRL club develop women leaders

27 July 2022

Two Cronulla Sharks employees have credited an Australian Sports Commission (ASC) program with helping them develop their leadership skills.

Rachal Allan and Julia Tzoukos stand in front of a Cronulla Sutherland Sharks logo
Cronulla Sharks Indigenous Programs Coordinator Rachal Allan and Partnerships Co-ordinator Julia Tzoukos.

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

The Cronulla Sharks are celebrating the NRL Women in League round this week by acknowledging the achievements of some of its team members.

The WLIS program aims to provide leadership development opportunities for women in sport, on and off the field, while helping sporting organisations create inclusive cultures and achieve gender equity.

The workshops are one component of the broader WLIS program, which is 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 and making the club more welcoming and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

She said the WLIS Leadership Workshops helped build her own confidence and professional opportunities and improve her networking skills and support connections with other women in sport.

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

Ms Tzoukos is Partnerships Co-ordinator at the NRL club and believes her background and experience has her well-placed to help expand and advocate for women’s recognition and pathways within the sporting industry.

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

“I have been able to network more effectively and value that connection to other women based across Australia who are all striving to create an environment that is safe and inclusive for all.”

Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said it was good to celebrate the NRL’s Women In League Round each year and recognise the contribution women made to the game.

“NRL clubs may appear to be male dominated domains, however 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 business including Rachal and Julia. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to participate in the ASC’s Women Leaders in Sport Workshop and no doubt the knowledge gained will be of benefit to them personally and also to us as a Club.”

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

The WLIS program also includes grants for individuals and organisations to help with professional development and improve workplace culture, and programs for developing more specific leadership skills. The next round of grant applications is expected to open late August 2022.

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