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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds I was very lucky to grow up in a sporting family. I have three brothers. We grew up in New Zealand. So like many young Kiwis, we played rugby from a really young age. My father was a rugby coach. My mother was a coach and a manager. We played sports right throughout school. So you could say that sports and physical activity were a really, really important part of my life from a really young age. The love that I had for football and sports really grew into a full blown passion and the career that I have today, and that’s because I was able to see firsthand how incredible football was as a platform to bring people together from all walks of life.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds In 2015, I was selected to represent the Pacific region and the FIFA Reform Committee. And there as the sole female member of that committee, I advocated strongly for more women in football, particularly in the decision making bodies of football. But also for more resources, funding and prioritisation of women’s football as a sport. Now, I’m very lucky to lead the first ever women’s football division at FIFA. And I’m in a position where those reforms that I advocated for in that committee, I’m now able to implement them. I’m really happy and lucky to be doing what I’m doing. And if it wasn’t for my early life of being someone participating in sports, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds So my inspiration comes from seeing the positive impacts of my work. I can remember many trips that I’ve taken one in particular, for example, was in Rwanda to a girls football academy hearing from the coaches. You know, the benefits of being in the team and being part of the Academy was having not only on their sporting lives, but also for them participating in school more often, being more disciplined in their home lives, you know, all these positive spin offs of being part of this football academy. And that’s just one story, but that’s definitely an example of the type of things that inspire me and keep me going.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds I think the best piece of advice that I’ve ever received is not to be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake, or that you don’t know something. I think that having passion for your chosen career path and what you’re doing is really, really important. And the other thing is just to stay true to who you are, and know what your values are when you go into your career pathway and stay true to those values. And if you combine that with your passion, and you’re always well prepared and you’re knowledgeable on your topic, this will go a long way towards helping you in your career.

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 second Being a female leader in a male dominated industry, like football and sports in general, certainly has its challenges. But I also think that there are strengths and benefits to being a female in a position of leadership, particularly our ability as females to network and build strong connections with people around us. One of the most powerful things about sport is its ability to bring people together. And this can have a really important and powerful impact on people, communities and organisations and sports kind of breaks through those barriers and provides a platform for people to come together with a common interest in a positive way.

Skip to 3 minutes and 47 seconds So I would say to young girls who dream of being leaders in their sport one day, to know what your dreams and your goals are, and just to go for it. Look for leaders and mentors and other females in your sport that you can look up to, to give you advice and to help you in your aspirations and to achieve your dreams and just go for it. Just really know what you want, feel passionate about it, don’t let anything stop you and go for it and I am rooting for you 100% of the way.

Half-time whistle and team talk

… Now you’ve got the tools, go make change happen!

This course has been building towards this next important stage: handing over to you to create and/or further develop impactful, inspiring, robust and sustainable sport and development interventions. Now is the chance to put that into practice and create your own programme logic model or policy paper to mobilise the change you seek to achieve.

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This video is from the free online course:

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

The International Platform on Sport and Development