Place strategy

Women encouraged to join club and association committees as general meetings take place across the state | September 4, 2022

September 4, 2022 | Tennis S.A.

In line with the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy of the Tennis SA Board of Directors, Tennis SA is working hard to improve diversity in leadership positions across sport.

Last year, Tennis SA released a new strategic plan for 2021-2024 to boost grassroots participation. This plan included Amy Sneath in a new role within the tennis development team as coordinator of the women’s and girls’ program pathway, aimed at driving participation and improving retention of women and girls in the tennis.

Leading the way, a tenth director position was added to the Tennis SA board in 2018, with the position to be held by a woman. This was the most significant constitutional change to the composition of the Tennis SA board since the merger of the South Australian Hardcourt Tennis League and the South Australian Tennis Association in 1996 and now sees the board made up equally of men and women. The change came following the introduction of the South Australian Government’s Women in Sport Task Force Action Plan. The main goals of the plan include addressing inequalities in the participation, leadership and recognition of women in sport. There is now national and global recognition that more diverse boards and committees make better decisions and produce better results.

A success story is that of the chairman of Henley South Tennis Club and member of the Board of Directors of Tennis SA Liz Campbell, who recently accepted the position of President of the Western Districts Tennis Association. We caught up with Liz to get some insight into her time as a volunteer and her advice for other women who want to get involved:

What do you enjoy most about your roles on a committee?

I really enjoy being part of great teams that all have the common goal of making tennis accessible to more people in our community.

I also like knowing that I am giving back to the sport that has given me so much since I left the UK for Adelaide. Thanks to the Henley South Tennis Club, I have an amazing group of friends and I feel part of a community.

I love seeing our club grow through the combined efforts of our passionate committee volunteers. When we work together, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.

What were the results or highlights?

Winning the Newcombe Medal for Most Outstanding Club is my greatest pride as President. To see the hard work of our committee recognized as the best of the best was amazing.

It was great to be part of the committee to secure funds to improve the infrastructure of the club – lights on the remaining four pitches, new fencing and all pitches resurfaced. It’s also wonderful to be part of a growing committee, with a balance between genders and ages.

Another highlight for me was seeing the number of women’s teams playing socially and competitively growing year on year – five women’s teams last year plus three mixed in the 2021/2022 summer season.

The relationships I have built inside and outside the club have made me feel comfortable in being named West District President.

What did you learn/what were some benefits for you?

I get as much from volunteering as I put into it – I never realized how important it was for me to feel like I was making a difference in my community until I got involved at Henley South.

We all want to belong and I’m proud that Henley South has a reputation for being such a welcoming and family-friendly club. I know I’m not the only one for whom the club plays an important role in his life

Don’t be afraid to delegate. People want to help but sometimes they just wait to be asked.

Every time I’ve run for a leadership position, I’ve wondered if I should do it, but I’m so glad I had the courage to raise my hand. You never know what you can achieve unless you try and I am very proud of what we have achieved at Henley South Tennis Club during my presidency.

What advice would you give to other women who want to take on leadership positions in their local club or association?

Dark! Let the first thing you think about be the positive attributes you’ll bring to the role rather than what you think you can’t do. When these opportunities arise, ask yourself why not, rather than why?

It’s not all up to you – you’ll be part of a team of people who want to see you succeed and will be there to support you on your leadership journey. If we don’t intervene, who will? We need to be role models for future generations, so seeing women in leadership positions is the norm, not the exception. I would like to think that there are junior players in our club who think that I want to be president of the club one day.

I love being the Chairman of Henley South and I am truly excited to see what the future holds as I take on the role of Chairman of the Western Districts Tennis Association.

With women holding only 20% of president’s positions in the state and many annual general meetings taking place in the state in the coming weeks, women are encouraged to join their local tennis club or association committee.

Tennis SA would like to feature more success stories across the state, please contact your Tennis SA Club Development Manager to discuss further.