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Crow receives Women Leaders in Sport Grant

The Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) grant program is an Australian Government initiative that is managed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in partnership with the Australian Government Office for Women.  The WLIS grant program provides female administrators, coaches and officials with opportunities to undertake intermediate or advanced training within an existing pathway in the sport industry to reach their leadership potential.

Australian Olympic medalist and 2013 World Rowing Champion, Kim Crow, applied for a grant and received approval from the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Government Office for Women earlier this month. Along with Crow, Rowing Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Larissa Trease, also received a grant, of which we will publish another story on in due course.

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Kim Crow received a grant to undertake a Company Directors Course

Crow said about her application: “I had a series of chat with some mentors of mine late last year about how I should go about furthering my career while still very much focusing on rowing until the Rio Olympic Games.

“After rowing, I see myself working in sport in some capacity, though I’m still unsure how this may look in the future. I felt that my career had stagnated somewhat, mainly due to the limited hours I could work each week because of the demands of training.

“We identified that I had good experience in the legal sphere, and good experience in sports operations, but very minimal experience in business or management. We felt that a company directors course would be a really good learning experience for me, and would complement the work I do on the Australian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission and Executive Board. It was really about broadening my skill set, within the confines of being an elite rower, to best set me up for life post-rowing.”

Crow has received her grant in order to undertake a Company Directors Course, talking about how the grant will help her: “The Company Directors course comes with a quite significant price tag – I certainly would not have been able to afford it without the grant- but the skills it will help me acquire will hold me in good stead to hopefully be involved in the management or directorship of sporting organisations in the future.”

The WLIS program provides women with opportunities to undertake intermediate to advanced training in the areas of coaching, communications, media and marketing, governance, management, administration and officiating.

When asked about who inspires her when it comes to female leaders, one is a Brazilian and the other Australian: “Justice Ellen Gracie Northfleet, the first female Supreme Court Judge in Brazil is someone who inspires me. She is a wonderful, inspiring and articulate woman, and yes, you guessed it, a rower!

“The other person that inspires me is a former team-mate of mine, Sarah Tait. A mother, an Olympic medalist [Tait won silver in London 2012], friend, fighter and articulate supporter of the causes that matter to her.”

Sarah Tait (right), the London 2012 silver medalist is someone who inspires Kim Crow

Sarah Tait (right), the London 2012 silver medalist is someone who inspires Kim Crow

The Victorian, who is based at the National Training Centre in Canberra, also shared what she believes some sports can do better to help encourage both increased female participation and increased female representation at a board level.

“I think the starting point is appreciating that there are many talented women out there with much to contribute – we just need to do a better job of finding them!

“In many ways rowing is a shining light in terms of gender equality – we have equal participation levels and equal recognition for men and women, and better female representation on the Board now. This has really helped bring in some fresh new perspective.

“One area that stands out for me is that we still have far less female coaches than male coaches, and I would love to see more people questioning the assumption that a woman can’t coach a male crew. Men coach female crews all the time, so I can see absolutely no reason why this can’t work the other way.”

Crow, who will compete for Australia this year in the Women’s Single Scull, concluded that grants such as these are vital: “Grants like this are so important because it’s difficult to get professional development opportunities when you’re involved with organisations that operate on a shoestring budget.

“It’s one thing for big business to send their employees to these development opportunities, but it is just not realistic in the sporting sphere. Being an elite athlete in rowing is not a lucrative lifestyle, so it’s fantastic to be able to further my leadership skills while still competing at the highest level.”