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Minerva Network Announce Women In Sport Scholarship Program

M
inerva Network has announced the first tertiary scholarship program, with the Sydney Roosters & Easts Group, open to Australia’s elite and professional female athletes.

The scholarship will be awarded to an athlete who has a long-term career goal linked to a proposed area of study and a credible plan to maintain her level of sporting performance despite the study commitment.

The Minerva Network sees the scholarship program as complementary to the mentoring program and development workshops, provided on a pro-bono basis.

Sydney Roosters & Easts Group have committed for 5 years commencing in February 2021 to coincide with the commencement of the University and TAFE calendar year.

Minerva Network COO, Kate Argent, told Ministry of Sport: “women athletes are often juggling the full time demands of training and competition with the need to support themselves financially, while working toward their long term career aspirations off the field.”

“We’re hoping this initiative will take some of the financial pressure off and allow athletes to focus on building successful careers both on and off the field.

“There are many examples of women athletes who have gone on to do fantastic things in their post sports career.

“Many of the traits of a professional athlete are sought after by companies, such as leadership, teamwork, grit and commitment to achieving goals.

“We see women athletes as a largely untapped source of Australia’s future leadership potential.

“We’re hoping not just to reach a point where women achieve equality in sport, but by supporting these athletes as role models, to be an example for other industries on what can be achieved,” Argent told Ministry of Sport.

Minerva Network was founded by a group of leading business women in 2017, when through their networks, they noted that women athletes weren’t getting the same support and guidance from corporate Australia.

“When the Australian Rugby Sevens women returned from Rio with their gold medals and were being asked to speak at events but told they needed to do so for free, because they weren’t experienced speakers, that was a pivotal point of realisation for our founders that things needed to change,” Argent said.

Minerva Network chairman and co-founder, Christine McLoughlin, said: “we are delighted to welcome the Sydney Roosters & Easts Group as our founding scholarship partner as we launch our Minerva Network Scholarship Program.”

McLoughlin said Minerva mentor and leading HR executive, Gabrielle Curtin, will chair the Minerva Network Scholarship Program Committee, which will also include Nicola Wakefield Evans, one of Australia’s leading company directors and chairman of the 30% Club Australia, and Kate Aitken, Minerva Network co-founder and vice-president of human resources at Optus.

Sydney Roosters and Easts Group CEO, Joe Kelly, said: “the Sydney Roosters & Easts Group are delighted to partner with the Minerva Network to provide the inaugural tertiary scholarship to one of Australia’s professional female athletes.”