What makes a leader in netball?

Karen Romano, mother of five and president of the Warragul & District Netball Association (WDNA), recently partook in Netball Victoria’s ‘Leaders in Netball’ program, which concluded over the weekend.

The ‘Leaders in Netball’ program is an opportunity for current leaders who hold roles as association and club administrators, committee members, coaches, umpires or volunteers to build their leadership skills and capacity to contribute to the development of their netball community.

After Judi Buhagiar, Eastern Region Manager, suggested that Karen put forward an application for the program, she was shortly accepted. Karen and twelve other participants across Victoria, participated in the seven day program over a series of weekends based in Melbourne.

Karen expressed that the group went through a journey of learning not just the principles and concepts of leadership, but also being exposed to the leaders in netball. She said she developed relationships with people such as Rosie King, Netball Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer and Steven Gatt, Chief Operating Officer, which she said was ‘exciting and truly beneficial, as it exposed us to new leaders within the industry’.

‘The facilitators were also brilliant; they were highly skilled and as a consequence we got a lot out of the program’.

At the conclusion of the final session on Sunday the 5th of May, the group celebrated the program by attending the Vixens v Giants Suncorp Super Netball match. This was Karen’s first time attending a Vixens match, where she was ‘really excited and thought it was a brilliant way to conclude what was a great program’.

For Karen the program has built a broad array of connections with people right across Victoria who are in similar roles to herself. It has meant she has been able to link with people such as Meg Hopper, who has done a lot of work with Boroondara as an umpire coordinator, who has since assisted Karen in developing something similar at WDNA.

‘The program has mean that I have established a much better knowledge of Netball Victoria, and the various people involved within the company’.

In terms of Karen and her involvement with netball, a standard Saturday usually involves the whole family (her five daughters and her husband) arriving at the courts at 8:15am and packing up and heading home at 3pm.

‘Saturday mornings are busy! Before we get to the courts at 8:15am, there is lots of rallying at the house as we try to find everyone’s uniforms and whistles. But we love it, it’s all about community, and because we are in a rural area and a grassroots level of netball, everyone pitches in’.

Karen mentioned that her girls are actively involved in voluntary activities such as helping out at the canteen and helping set things up, which from a leadership perspective she feels that these girls ‘will see the value of volunteering in the community and the value that comes from putting in that time to produce a product like we have at WDNA’.

Following her experience with the ‘Leader in Netball’ program, Karen wants to continue to express that not only is there an opportunity to play at WDNA, but there is lots of leadership opportunities such as learning how to umpire and coach as well as volunteering within the association.

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