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Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) announces new Co-Chair

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WISPA is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Sawbridge to the board Co-Chair position.

Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) has appointed Susan Sawbridge as co-chair  alongside co-founder and co-chair Dr Sarah Leberman. Susan steps into the position following recent news of co-founder Julie Paterson stepping back from the role.

Susan, also known as ‘Sooz’, first connected with WISPA and its foundation members back in 2017 in the early stages of New Zealand’s bid to host the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport secretariat and 8th World Conference.

Sooz as the Manager of New Zealand Major Events, led the government’s role in bidding, leveraging and delivery of events including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Rugby World Cup and Women’s Cricket World Cup.

She brings to WISPA a wide network through NSOs, local government, central government and international federations through her former roles and now current consultancy, as the managing partner and co-founder of Daylight.

Sooz’s governance experience includes chairing the International Association of Events Hosts and the WEA Project Alliance Board.

Sooz said about her appointment:  “I have been very connected to WISPA, its great people, and the outcomes it aims to achieve for a long time, and I’m excited to be able to bring my experience and enthusiasm more directly to the WISPA table. Huge advancements have been made for women in sport, but there is still so much to be done.”

WISPA is delighted to add Sooz to the strategic leadership of the organisation alongside an existing board membership with significant depth and vision. She joins the organisation in a time of exciting transitional change, with WISPA now confirming the permanent appointment of Nicky van den Bos to the role of CEO. WISPA is preparing for the delivery of key priorities and programmes in the new financial year that will encourage and promote wide reaching systems change in the sector.

Sarah Leberman MNZM, co-chair, said: “I am very excited that Sooz is joining WISPA as the incoming Co-Chair. Her very broad experience, energy and passion will be critical in driving forward our new strategic intent. Sooz knows WISPA well having been an ardent supporter right from the start. Welcome to the WISPA whanau and I look forward to sharing the role with you.’

Officially, Julie Paterson now steps down from her position of co-chair of the board but will remain closely connected to the organisation as one of the co-founders. Without Julie’s energy and passion there would be no WISPA, and we are extremely appreciative of her support and contributions over the past seven years.

The full membership of the WISPA Board is now:

Dr Sarah Leberman MNZM (co-chair, and co-founder)
Susan Sawbridge (co-chair)
Pauline Harrison
Martin Snedden CNZM
Erin Roxburgh-Makea (Ngāti Porou)
Tim Corbett
Kelly Evans
Mary Gardiner
Mere Rangihuna (Ngāti Hine me Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara)
Jayne Jordan (Taranaki, Nga Mahanga) – non-voting associate member

Click here to find out more about all WISPA Board Members.
Download our 2023 – 2028 Strategic Statement of Intent.

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