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Stepping In

The Stepping In program is currently under review. Applications for 2018 will likely open in late 2018.

The Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program is an Australian Government initiative that is managed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in partnership with the Office for Women.

The objective of the WLIS program is to provide women with development opportunities to reach their leadership potential in the sports industry.

Stepping In is a new component of WLIS and was delivered for the first time in 2017 with the aim to provide intensive targeted leadership development opportunities for identified future women leaders in sport.

Stepping In is tailored to potential women leaders from ASC funded National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and the respective State/Territory Sporting Organisations (SSOs).

Program Overview

Stepping In will fund a maximum of 18 potential women leaders each year, with successful placements determined through a rigorous application and selection process.

Stepping In will be delivered by the Melbourne Business School over a one year period through a series of face-to-face residential labs, immersive experiences, executive coaching, individual assessment and regular feedback and reflection.

A high level overview of program themes is provided below:

  • Theme 1: Leading Self

    This theme will focus on the question:
    What would it take for me to fully step into my leadership role?

    We will explore leadership styles with a focus on personal integrity and authority, and we’ll examine what it takes to be a solutions-oriented person.

  • Theme 2: Leading Others

    This theme will focus on the question:
    Why people should follow me?

    We will explore how to develop high performing relationships, a focus on coaching both ourselves and others, the importance of feedback in teams, the role of influence in leadership, and what it takes to optimise the contributions of others.
  • Theme 3: Leading Sport

    This theme will focus on the question:
    What leadership does sport need right now?

    We will explore how to influence system integrity, the capacity to think strategically, what it takes to re-invent ourselves, create innovative systems and embrace the opportunity for change.

2017 Stepping In Lab Dates 

Lab 1 (3 days) 15-17 March 2017, Wed - Fri 
Lab 2 (2 days)  3-4 May 2017, Wed-Thu
Lab 3 (2 days) 18-19 October 2017, Wed-Thu

All three 2017 Stepping In labs will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). The ASC will arrange participants' travel and accommodation and pay for the expenses incurred.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for Stepping In, the applicant must be:

  • female;
  • aged 18 years or over;
  • an Australian citizen or have been granted permanent residence status;
  • supported by an NSO funded by the ASC;
  • a paid staff or a Board member of the supported NSO, or the respective SSOs, during the duration of 2017; and
  • available to attend all three 2017 Stepping In labs (refer above).

(Please note:

  • Current 2017 WLIS Grants recipients who meet the eligibility criteria listed above are eligible to apply.
  • Volunteers of a funded NSO/SSO are not eligible to apply.
  • A paid staff or a board member of an affiliated club or organisation of a NSO/SSO is not eligible to apply.
  • A paid staff or a board member of the State/Territory Department of Sport and Recreation or State/Territory Institute/Academy of Sport is not eligible to apply.
  • An NSO can support more than one applicant.)

Application Process

Applications are to be completed online.The application timeline is below.

Applications open20 December 2016 at 9:00am AEST
Applications close10 February 2017 at 5:00pm AEST
Applicants notifiedLate February 2017

To complete the application, applicants need to have the following information:

  • a current Curriculum Vitae (maximum two pages),
  • your leadership aspirations (to describe how Stepping In will impact or support the development of your leadership at a personal, sport and system level),
  • a letter of support from your line manager, and
  • a letter of support from your NSO CEO as funded by the ASC.

Participants’ Expectation

The success of Stepping In is dependent upon committed and dedicated participants who are seeking to become women leaders in sport. Those wishing to be accepted into the program must be committed to:

  • learning new ways to lead in a complex and networked sport environment;
  • being stretched and challenged;
  • being an active participant in the program, including being able to commit the time and effort required; and
  • actively demonstrating and implementing their leadership and learning back in their sport.

For enquiries


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