Male Champions of Change (MCC) Sport has launched the third cohort of its flagship “Women in Sport Sponsorship Program” with over 160 leaders from across the sports sector participating. The program matches high potential women in corporate roles with CEOs and senior executives in the industry, providing connections, experiences and advocacy to help participants advance their careers.

Sarah Walsh is a former Matilda and now General Manager of Game Development at Football Federation Australia. In the 2017 round of the program she was matched with Todd Greenberg CEO of the NRL, who became her sponsor.

Sarah says: “Todd has been completely engaged and has taken sponsorship to another level for me.”

“He has taught me the things that you don’t learn at university or on a leadership course. You can have all the skills but we still need to learn how to navigate the system, how to read a room, and what recruiters are looking for.”

“Todd has had a different journey from me, having moved to sports administration from Corporate and Facilities Management at ANZ, and then as CEO of the Canterbury Bulldogs. I’ve been able to learn from his experiences.”

The relationship is very much a reciprocal one. Sarah says she and Todd have been able to speak honestly and frankly about the different ways that they view the world and she has been able to share with him her experiences as a female athlete and manager.

Sarah has also valued the opportunity to meet with other women leaders who are part of the MCC Sport Sponsorship program.

“We had a safe space to share our experiences and identify both differences and similarities in how our careers were evolving. We talked about womens’ leagues and women’s advancement, including lessons ranging from working with diverse groups to strategies to increase engagement in women’s sport.

“The opportunity to network with the future leaders of other sports has its own value that will only increase in the future.”

According to Sarah, the Sponsorship program is a “money can’t buy opportunity”.

Feedback from participants in earlier cohorts has been progressively used to enhance the program.

The Male Champions of Change Sport program was established in 2015 and is convened by MCC Founder Elizabeth Broderick AO. It includes representatives from every major sporting code and some of the biggest and most successful sporting clubs in Australia. Its priorities are: Advancing women into leadership in sport; Creating the conditions and cultures that enable women to thrive in all aspects of sport and achieving pay equality for women in sport.