Top female athletes meet corporates23 December 2013
Australia’s top female athletes have declared the inaugural Australian Sports Commission’s Women Achievers in Sport lunch a success and a great step towards attracting more corporate support for women’s sport.
Rowing world champion Kim Crow, BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan and canoe slalom world champion Jessica Fox attended the lunch at the MCG last week alongside the chairs and chief executive officers from eight of Australia’s top companies.
The lunch was hosted by ASC Chair John Wylie AM and the ASC Chief Executive Officer Simon Hollingsworth as a way of raising awareness among corporate Australia of the value of the Australia’s female sporting champions. Organisations represented included ANZ Bank, Westpac, Medibank, Orica, Asciano, Toll and Qantas.
“I have been an Australian representative athlete for 14 years and have never been to a function like this,” said Crow.
“It was a great bridge builder between female athletes and corporate Australia. One of the best things to take out of it was an acknowledgment from the corporate sector that they were interested.”
Buchanan said the afternoon was an eye opener for both the athletes and the corporate sector.
“You could see how surprised many of the guests were by both how little commercial investment there is in women’s sport and what great results female athletes were achieving around the world,” she said. “I really think it was a ground breaking afternoon for women’s sport.”
Hollingsworth said it was important key decision makers in the corporate world got a chance to come face-to-face with Australia’s top female athletes.
“Women’s sport is largely undervalued,” he said.
“The Australian Sports Commission can play a role in highlighting the great value of Australia’s top female athletes to prospective sponsors.
“Not only are athletes like Kim, Caroline and Jessica genuine world champions, they are also exceptional role models.”
CEO of Orica Ian Smith, who was among business leaders present, said his company’s support of Australia’s professional road cycling team, the men’s and women’s GreenEDGE teams had presented new opportunities for both his company and athletes.
One key opportunity identified at the lunch was utilising the unique nature of social media to tell the stories of Australia’s amazing female athletes.
The ASC is the Australian Government’s peak sports agency and a big investor in women’s sport at both high performance and participation levels. The Commission will hold future lunches promoting women’s sport to the big end of town in 2014.