Women in League workshop

FEMALE administrators, managers and committee members of clubs gathered from all across Central Queensland Division at the beautiful Novotel Twin Waters Resort, for the Queensland, and fourth Australia wide, Women in League leadership workshop on Tuesday evening.

The event was not only commemorating the hard working Women within Rugby League, but also focusing on the development and future awareness of women within the game.

As the room filled, introductions came first, and the air filled with: names, roles, length within those roles, clubs and achievements. Each one different, each just as important as the next. One thing that remained the same within each introduction was the sense of pride, passion and genuine love for the game.

Queensland Managing Director of Channel Nine, Kylie Blucher kicked off the workshop with a warm welcome and praise for the Women in League. A great and sentimental story from Blucher’s development of love for the game from a young age really set the tone of the evening nicely.

NRL’s General Manager of People and Culture Vanessa Porter, and HR professional of the NRL’s People and Culture team, Ellen Beale, led the workshop with their experience and professionalism and just general enthusiasm for the development of the women around them.

The workshop involved sharing stories, experiences, advice and ideas on how we can all create a better and more enjoyable atmosphere for not just the women involved in rugby league, but for the whole rugby league community.

Audrey McGibbon, owner and operator of ‘EEK Management Consulting’ and Karen Gillespie, a consulting organisational psychologist of 25 years, took charge of the Balance and Wellbeing section of the workshop.

This part of the workshop gave advice, ideas and conversations, not just about ‘physical’ wellbeing but also the mental, emotional and meaning behind having a healthy balance and wellbeing in life, focusing on four major areas of Wellbeing; Emotional Life, Authentic Relationships, Meaning & Purpose and Vitality & Energy.

It enabled everyone to give a positive self-assessment of themselves and to hopefully develop them not just as leaders within Rugby League, but leaders of their own lives.

As the workshop concluded, dinner proceeded with MC, ex-Raiders star and great supporter of Women in league, Alan Tongue, welcoming all the wonderful Women within the room.

Formalities included a fun and informative questionnaire with a panel of three inspirational individuals; Channel Nine’s very own, Kylie Blucher, 2011’s Harvey Norman Woman in League Award Recipient and Queensland Rugby League Women’s Advisory Committee Chair, Madonna Bowers and yet another great player and great supporter of Women in League, Queensland’s own, Scott Prince.

Everyone got to know a lot about each of the three and of course, the night wasn’t finished without some cheeky pre-State of Origin ‘banter’ from the two playing greats.

As the evening went on, you got to hear more great stories and achievements in general conversation with the women, and you could sense that this event meant so much to each individual, just having the opportunity to be amongst one another, all so humble, hardworking and passionate in what they do.

Bowers, who also manages the North Ipswich Open Women’s team, thinks there are great benefits behind the workshops.

“I think there were a number of benefits; firstly the content delivered was excellent. It helped all of us identify the issues we face and gave us some strategies to combat these,” she said.

“Secondly, the opportunity to network was invaluable, I met so many people who share the same interests and issues I have and I’m sure others did as well.

“This has been a great starting point to get a Queensland Women’s Rugby League Leadership / Mentoring program up and running.

“The QRL are really interested in establishing a state-wide program to help develop and support women in administration / management.”

 Even with a massive amount of experience within the rugby league community, Bowers gained a lot out of the workshop, when asked about what she personally gained out of it, Bowers response was one of much enthusiasm.

“So much I don’t know where to start! I met so many wonderful people, who I hope to keep in contact with,” she said.

“I really enjoyed each of the work stations about Emotional Life, Authentic Relationships, Meaning & Purpose and Vitality and Energy.

“I have used the Workbook to identify the areas that I need to improve in and have started taking action. I’ve even downloaded the meditation app mentioned and started to meditate.”

When corresponding with Bowers, you get this warm, positive and hopeful vibe, a vibe which I, as a woman involved in the great game, was certainly inspired by.

As the growth of Women in League continues, it’s truly something to look forward to, when surrounded by great individuals such as Bowers and many of the Women across Queensland and Australia who work hard for the development of Rugby League.

“I have no doubt the development of Women in Rugby League is an important goal for the Commission, NRL and QRL,” she said.

“We (the women in Rugby League) need to make sure to support each other and any programs which are offered,” she advised.

The Women in League workshop has definitely shown the huge impact it has had and will have on the Rugby League community, not just for the Women involved but the clubs and overall growth of the game.

Many of the Women involved within rugby league work hard and passionately, usually unnoticed, it’s a great way to give these women the opportunity to share what they have to offer.