WISPA brings leaders to ‘Women You Can Bank On’ in March 2021

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Tickets on sale from 1 December – get in quick, as they will sell out!

The truly unique ‘Women You Can Bank On’ event is returning to Dunedin; bigger and better for its 5th year, Thursday 4th March 2021. The theme for 2021 is “Thriving Through Change” and it will be supported by Women in Sport Aotearoa.

This year the event is timed to align with UN International Women’s Day and will be a celebration of the ‘women in sport’ movement. It will feature a live moderated conversation with leaders from what is known as “The Big Four” – the major women’s sport events coming to Aotearoa New Zealand in the next three years.

It will open with remarks from the new Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand, Raelene Castle ONZM.

“The Big Four” leaders include:

  • Dr. Farah Palmer, Board Member of the Organising Committee and NZ Rugby Board Member – representing the Rugby World Cup 2021
  • Liz Dawson MNZM, Chair of the Local Organising Committee – representing the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022
  • Raewyn Lovett ONZM, Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport – representing the IWG World Conference on Women & Sport 2022
  • Dr. Johanna Wood, President of NZ Football – representing the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

They will be supported at the event by the Chief Executive of Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA), Rachel Froggatt, along with representatives from Women in Sport Otago (WISPO), the local regional network.

This unique business event experience is a combination of inspirational speakers, panel discussions, networking and fine dining. The perfect platform for compelling conversations, to reflect, reset and grow.

Kim Dodds, Business Development Manager at Dunedin Venues Management Limited said: “We are very pleased to announce in conjunction with our Naming Rights Partner; Anderson Lloyd, Women You Can Bank On is returning for 2021. This event creates a great stage to foster vital discussions in our community with women at the very centre, next year’s event theme being very relevant “Thriving Through Change”.

Anne McLeod, Corporate Commercial Partner at Anderson Lloyd commented “Anderson Lloyd is delighted to again be the main sponsor of this fabulous event. Due to COVID-19 we have all faced disruption in both our professional and personal lives. Statistically women have been more impacted than men and therefore the theme ‘Thriving Through Change’ is timely. We are looking forward to another inspiring and empowering event.”

“We are thrilled to introduce our new Event Partner; Women in Sport Aotearoa and announce the impressive line-up of speakers.  We are overwhelmed with the calibre of speakers Women in Sport Aotearoa has brought to the event”. – Kim Dodds said.

Rachel Froggatt, Chief Executive of Women in Sport Aotearoa, said: “It is our absolute pleasure to be able to bring Raelene Castle, Farah Palmer, Liz Dawson, Raewyn Lovett and Johanna Wood to Dunedin for Women You Can Bank On this year. It is an outstanding event, and we know it’s very popular across Otago. With “The Big Four” on their way, the next three years will be crucial in our efforts to create equity of opportunity for women and girls to participate, compete and build careers in play, active recreation and sport in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dunedin has an incredibly important role to play in this, as a likely host to two of the World Cups and as a mecca for young people. We’re hoping this event will inspire the Otago sport and business community to do even more to help women and girls find fun, sustainable ways to get involved – something that is more important than ever as they recover from the disproportionate effects of COVID-19. In this, we are thrilled to have such continuing support from our local regional network, Women in Sport Otago.”   

“Our 2021 event will also be supported by our Media Partner; Mediaworks. Great partnerships are key to the success of this Dunedin iconic event, and we are blessed with partners that will support and guide this event into the future. This is definitely the one not to miss.” Said Kim Dodds.

The 2021 event will see the inclusion of the first “sister event”, innovative, challenging and change making workshops scheduled to occur the 5th March.

Tickets go on sale 1st December 2020.

For more information please visit:


Contact: Kim Dodds


027 979 1608

About Women in Sport Aotearoa & Women in Sport Otago

Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA), is a charity that exists to transform society through leadership, advocacy and research, ensuring that all women and girls gain equity of opportunity to participate, compete and build careers in play, active recreation and sport in Aotearoa New Zealand. WISPA works across Aotearoa New Zealand and currently, WISPA is also the global delivery agent for the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport Secretariat & Conference 2018-2022, with the 8th IWG World Conference taking place in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, from 5-8 May 2022. Women in Sport Otago (WISPO) is a new regional hub for Otago, emerging as a strong advocate in the region. Visit www.womeninsport.org.nz.


About Raelene Castle ONZM

Raelene Castle is one of Australasia’s leading sports administrators, having most recently held the positions of CEO at Rugby Australia and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Prior to this she was CEO of Netball New Zealand from 2007 to 2013. Raelene has been appointed as the next CEO of Sport NZ and will commence her role in December 2020. 

Outside of her extensive leadership experience, she has held several governance roles in sport, previously serving as a board director of SANZAR (Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship), the ANZ Championship netball competition and the International Netball Federation (INF). Raelene moved into sports administration after a fifteen-year commercial career, working in management roles for some and New Zealand’s leading companies. She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015 for services to Business and Sport.


About Dr. Farah Palmer

As captain of the New Zealand Black Ferns rugby team (1997-2006), Farah Palmer led the team to victory in three consecutive World Cups and had the honour of wearing the Black Jersey 35 times (which was a lot in those days!). In 2005 she was awarded International Women’s Personality of the Year by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and in 2014 was one of six women inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Since retiring from rugby as a player in 2006, Farah combined her experience of sport and tertiary education with her desire to bring about social and cultural change through organisations especially for Māori and women. 

Farah became the first woman to be appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2016 and joined the Sport NZ Board in 2018. She is also the Chair of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and in 2018 started a new role as Associate Dean (Māori) for the Massey Business School.

Farah believes we need to challenge the way we perceive how success and excellence are achieved, and what ‘effective’ leadership is. She encourages us to be kinder to ourselves and others in the process of lifelong learning and leadership. 

Farah has used her spheres of influence as a woman proud of her Māori heritage, an academic and sports person to challenge dominant ideologies and discourses related to Māori, women, leadership, sport and business.


About Liz Dawson MNZM

Liz Dawson has been involved in business and sports management and governance for more than 25 years and was the first female Chief Executive of an Australian Rugby League club and the first female director of a Super Rugby franchise.

Following 5 seasons as a professional ski instructor and a career in FMCG, Liz was appointed Marketing Manager of the New Zealand Rugby Union in the early 1990’s. She then became General Manager Marketing for the Warriors rugby league team in their inaugural years. She moved to Australia as Chief Executive of the Adelaide Rams, a start-up team in the then Super League competition. She then became General Manager of the North Queensland Cowboys, following which she returned to her business career. She returned to New Zealand in 2003 to become an independent director of the Hurricanes Super Rugby team, a trustee of the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust and a director of the New Zealand Racing Board. She contributed to the development and delivery of the New Zealand Rugby Union’s bid to host Rugby World Cup 2011.

Her portfolio of governance appointments includes 5 years as Chair of Kiwi Insurance Limited, a director for 5 years of the St Kilda Football Club in Melbourne, a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee to the Racing Portfolio and a director on the board of the Racing Industry Transition Authority, and she is recently retired from the board of New Zealand Cricket, having also chaired the Women and Governance Steering Group and served on the High Performance Advisory Group. (When Liz joined the board of NZC in 2013 she was the sole female director – there are as of the November 2020 AGM, 4 out of 8.)

Currently, Liz serves as Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, is a member of the (ONOC) Oceania Olympic Gender Equity Commission and the Gender Equity Commission of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). She is a shareholder and director of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Club and a member of the Integrity Committee of the AFL Club St Kilda.

She is a director on the board of the TABNZ and Chair of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 LOC, being hosted across 6 cities in NZ in 2022.


About Raewyn Lovett ONZM

Raewyn is a highly-regarded commercial lawyer and is a partner of Duncan Cotterill. She has extensive experience in sporting governance, having Chaired New Zealand Netball for 7 years, Chaired the Trans-Tasman Netball League for 4 years and Chaired Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation for 5 years. Raewyn is currently Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport 2018-2022 and a director of the board of Sport New Zealand. Raewyn’s other current governance roles are Chair of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and trustee on the board of CHT Healthcare. Raewyn holds an LLB degree and in 2015 she became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to netball.


About Dr. Johanna Wood

A director of a family farming company. Thirty-three years’ experience in the education sector. Completed a Doctor of Education, conferred May 2019. Thesis title is ‘The professional learning landscape for teen parent educators in New Zealand’. Roles in education have included: principal leadership (9 years); advising, leading and developing adult/teacher professional learning (9 years); mentoring first time principals (5 years). Areas of strength are: strategic planning; development of sound self-review practices using evidence to inform decisions; the ability to build and maintain friendly but professional working relationships, including managing conflict if required; sound financial skills.

Governance experience in education, sport and the not-for-profit sectors as well as service on local community committees and trusts.

  • Member of NZ Football Executive since April 2018, Elected President of New Zealand Football April 2019
  • FIFA Council Member for Oceania Football (elected March 2019)
  • 8 years as Chair of Central Football (one of seven football federations in NZ)
  • President of the New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers (1999-2001)
  • An alumni of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme.

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