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Women in sport governance scholarships and mentor programme


Women in sport governance scholarships and mentor programme


20 October 2015

Applications are now open for the Mentor and Scholarship Programmes.

Appoint professionals

Appoint Professionals Sport New Zealand supports the Appoint Professional Women in Sport Governance group

In 2016 a minimum of two places in the mentor programme are reserved for suitable applications from members of the Appoint Professional group. 25% of the scholarship pool is similarly reserved for suitable applications from members.

Check out becoming an Appoint Professional on

Mentor programme

The programme provides ten hours of one on one support from experienced practitioners across a twelve month period.


To provide expert governance mentoring support to, firstly, women who have recently secured board positions in National Sports Organisations and Regional Sports Trusts or similar organisations that have genuine governance functions.

The second priority is to assist suitably skilled women who are actively seeking positions.


This is a ‘by application’ process. The programme is limited to ten women (“mentees”) at any one time. The application form for 2016 is available here.

The mentoring process

Mentoring is a partnership between two people built on trust in which the mentor offers on-going support and development opportunities to the mentee. The mentor offers guidance, counselling and support in the form of pragmatic and objective assistance addressing issues and blockages identified by the mentee. Both share a common purpose of developing a strong two way learning relationship.

The partnership works to a plan established at the outset following a discussion of the needs and aspirations of the mentee. In each case the process of mentoring will be determined by the partnership setting a mix of face-to-face and electronic meetings, depending on need and geographic reality. The process is a confidential one.

At any stage the mentee and mentor may by mutual consent end the relationship on a ‘no blame’ basis. Depending on circumstances and availability a new partnership may be negotiated.

Women in sport governance programme

This programme is specifically about governance in the sport and recreation sector in New Zealand. It is not a general leadership programme. Five or six mentors located across New Zealand will work in the programme as at team. Each mentee will have a “lead mentor” but will have access to the other four mentors by discussion and as required. The mentors will use their networks to provide the mentee with a wide range of experiences during the programme.

This may include invitations to appropriate people or events and observation at boards meetings. Sport New Zealand will coordinate the programme. Each mentee will have an initial allocation of up to ten hours of mentor time. The mentor and mentee will sign an agreement (template provided) which outlines the principles of the relationship and what their specific programme is trying to achieve. The initial contract will be for a period of one year.

The mentor and mentee will complete a short report at the end of the contract period for the purpose of refining the programme in future years.

Programme context and linkage

The mentor programme is part of the wider women in sport governance programme which sits in the context of the governance and leadership work of Sport New Zealand in general. As such the link to other elements of the programme is important, notably:

  • The regional workshops and other networking events;
  • Connection with a network of women already on boards of sport and recreation organisations;
  • Access as appropriate to Sport NZ training opportunities;
  • Brokered introduction to other appropriate networks;

Programme content


At the beginning of the programme, the mentee will complete a self-analysis covering training and experience to date, skills and knowledge gaps and her objectives for the programme. The mentor and mentee will then draw up a programme from the following elements to suit the needs of the mentee. Support and reading material for most of this subject matter already exists and can be easily provided as links and references.

Governance 101

  • Roles and responsibilities as a director
  • Expectations, liabilities, conflicts
  • Risk, finance.

The sport and recreation sector

  • Understanding volunteers
  • The principal sources of revenue
  • Major organisations in the sector
  • Commercial challenges
  • The changing face of sports participation; shift to informal sport etc.
  • Use of public money
  • Ownership models, legal and moral ownership
  • High performance

Strategic thinking

  • Working to outcomes
  • Organisational performance, target setting
  • Matching resources to strategy
  • Strategic thinking tools

The CE

  • Management of the chief executive
  • Connection to staff and the senior team

Governance structures and processes

  • Forms of agenda
  • Policy framework
  • Governance and management committees


  • Stakeholder planning and monitoring
  • Stakeholder interaction

Meeting dynamics

  • Questioning
  • Constructive conflict
  • Role of the chair
  • Meeting preparation

Due diligence and interview

  • What you should know about a board before you become a director
  • How to prepare for the interview

Scholarship programme

Scholarships to a total value of $20,000 are being offered for the 2016 year. These are targeted at women who have already demonstrated leadership potential and are interested in furthering their skills with a view to service in sports governance.

The assessment of each application will be based on a demonstrated interest in sport leadership, qualifications and experience to date.

There is no set amount. Historically the panel has tended to offer two larger scholarships and a number of smaller ones. The scholarship must be to advance your understanding of governance with relevance to the sport and recreation sector in New Zealand. The study or activity should be within this country. The scholarships are not intended to support research projects.

The application for the Scholarship Programme can be found here.

Application deadline is 5pm, November 27, 2015

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