Tuesday 6 March 2018

Australia – Diversity and Inclusion in Sport: a Panel Discussion 2018

Exploring the true impact of diversity and inclusion with Ireland and Australia’s sporting legends 

Diversity and inclusion are the corporate buzzwords of the moment. Important, but sometimes the true meaning can get lost underneath the chatter, the hashtags and the overuse. So what a unique opportunity for members, supporters and friends of the Ireland Funds Sydney Young Leaders to hear from a panel of Irish and Australian sporting legends about the real impact diversity and inclusion has had for them.

We were fortunate to be joined by Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, one of Australia’s most successful GAA stars Keira Kinahan Murphy, dual AFL/Gaelic star Tadhg Kennelly, and Co Clare man (no really!) and Swans legend Mick O’Loughlin, for an exploration of how diversity and inclusion, both the presence and absence of it, has impacted their sporting and professional careers, and their reflections on what could be better.

Hosted in the beautiful upstairs space (The Private Kitchen) of Kensington St thanks to generous supporter of the Fund, Dr. Stanley Quek, our attendees were held captive by the achievements and stories of our varied panel. Pride in Aboriginal heritage, the opportunities and challenges faced by those communities, the experience of being an outsider minority coming into an Australian institution like the Swans, and the challenges for women in sports, especially when combining with a career and family, were just some of the varied topics explored.

Our panellists were generous with their ideas and insights and thoughtful and inspiring in their responses, and our huge thanks to them for their time and effort in supporting this event. Particular mention I think has to go to Keira, who, nine weeks on from welcoming her first child Joshua, and back training already, was an awe inspiring example of a women who is literally doing it all!  The panel were ably facilitated and wrangled by our MC for the night, Brian Deane. A proud Cork man, Brian was so professional in his role that he even managed to minimise the Kerry jokes for the evening!

Our connections with Adam and Michael, and the idea to host this event, have emerged from the Young Leaders’ sponsorship of the GO Foundation, the charity they established on their retirement from the Sydney Swans. Our partnership with GO is in its early stages but has been hugely positive and inspiring, and we hope to continue to collaborate and support their work.

Our guests were wined and dined, with food generously sponsored by Kensington St and drinks taken care of by Jacob’s Creek wines and The Dubliner Irish Whiskey Liqueur. We also had some extremely generous raffle prizes from the Go Foundation (a signed Indigenous jersey, with Adam revealing that his mum had done the design) two tickets to the sold out Lansdowne Club St Patrick’s Day lunch, and two tickets to the Sydney Irish Festival in November this year, organised by the GAA. Thank you to all our generous sponsors for last night’s event.

Most importantly, thanks to everyone who attended, participated and supported our raffle last night.  One of the key takeaways for us was the realisation of the distance still to travel in making true diversity and inclusion a reality for every group in society everywhere. We hope you agree that a tangible way to contribute to bridging this distance, is by supporting organisations like the Ireland Funds Australia and through us, groups like the GO Foundation and Suas, who are having such a tangible impact on the lives of children in Ireland and Australia.  You can learn more about the Young Leaders and how to become a member here.

Photos: Stanley Images

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Jennifer Najdek

Events & Office Manager

Suite 103, 20 Bayswater Road Potts Point NSW 2011 Australia

T - 02 9357 2350

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