Scoring runs for women in sports leadership
16 Sep 2008
After recently completing a governance course, NSW Cricket Director Rina Hore says she was astounded by the ‘depth of what I didn’t know’.
Attending the five-day intensive Australian Institute of Company Directors course was the result of receiving an Australian Sports Commission Sports Leadership Grant for Women.
Apart from being a director of Cricket NSW for the past four years, Rina has been Executive Director of the Bradman Foundation for more than a year, is a past-vice-president of Women’s Cricket Australia and formerly ran a commercial manufacturing business for 15 years.
With that type of resume, it would be easy to think that Rina had all the runs on the board when it came to governance procedures, while she admits to having had a ‘good cross-section of knowledge’. While the detail with increasingly complex duties and responsibilities of contemporary directorship was a different matter.
‘It’s one of those situations where I had an understanding of issues that were being discussed in the board room, but I tended to take the approach of “don’t say anything in fear of sounding stupid”. ’
She says the course helped her overcome this and understand that directors set ‘tone at the top’. She therefore began investing herself more in the discussion and decisions that were taking place around her.
‘The course was really in very black and white language and they tended to frighten you up front with the level of exposure you can have if you’re not taking your director responsibilities seriously,’ she says. Courts and regulatory authorities have consistently warned that ‘passive’ directors will not be tolerated.
‘But it was really a thorough approach that linked all of that with real scenarios about companies and not-for-profits that you might have read in the media, with an analysis of what decisions directors took, identified where things went wrong and the formulation of strategies to right the wrongs.
‘We were provided with supporting documentation and references that were necessities for producing really professional policies and for doing further research.
‘What it did for me was to make this huge mindset shift from amateur to what it takes to be professional on a professionally-run board of governance.’
Rina says she is committed to using the knowledge gained from the course to assist other women involved in cricket administration.
‘There are now six women on cricket boards in state and territory associations and I hope that I can be a sounding board for any woman coming through. The next logical step is to have female representation at national level to provide balance in the governance model of Cricket Australia, a sport that has been experiencing fantastic growth through female participation. ’
Rina has high praise for Cricket Australia who encouraged her to apply for the Australian Sports Commission grant. ‘It made me realise that they believe I have an important role in Cricket NSW as a director and I have a responsibility to understand the entire business and to make comment on it. ’
Without the grant Rina says she would have considered a $5000 five-day course completely out of reach but having been through the course it has not only stimulated a thirst for learning but armed her with a deeper understanding of governance. ‘I now have far more confidence to take up new responsibilities and have just taken on the role as Chairman of Cricket NSW investment committee. I’m relishing in it and this course was the best thing I could have done. I thank the ASC for the ongoing support and opportunities provided to women who aspire to become effective leaders. ’