Meet the Captains!

The following Leaders & Allies have agreed to “Captain” (host) tables in 2020:

Sophie Devine, Captain, WHITE FERNS – New Zealand Women’s Cricket Team

Sophie etched her name into NZ cricket history when she claimed both the ODI and T20 women’s Player of the Year awards for the 2017/18 season. She is regarded as one of the most powerful players in world cricket. In the 2019-20 season, Sophie had a blockbuster year. She smashed her maiden T20I century against South Africa at the Basin Reserve, becoming the first cricketer (male or female) to score five consecutive 50-plus scores in T20 internationals.

Beatrice Faumuina ONZM, Board Member, Sport New Zealand; former athlete (discus thrower)

Beatrice needs little introduction as an accomplished Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist. She is a former Trade Commissioner and Consul General (New York) for NZ Trade and Enterprise, and Senior Adviser in Pacific Connections for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Beatrice was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 2019 and in January 2020, was the first Pasifika women to ever be appointed to the board of Sport New Zealand.

Sarah Walker, New Zealand’s first Olympic BMX medallist; IOC Athletes’ Commission member

Sarah was born in Whakatane in 1988 and grew up in nearby Kawerau. She started racing at the age of 10. After a superb junior BMX career in which she was in the top three in the world, Sarah won the cruiser class world title in her first year as an elite cyclist and then spent several years collecting titles. She went on to win a silver at London 2012. Due to injury she missed selection to compete in Rio 2016. During the games she was elected onto the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Megan Gifford (nee Signal), New Zealand Olympic Weightlifter

Born in the Waikato in 1990, Megan didn’t find her chosen sport until 2013. A current record holder, medallist and representative for NZ, Megan has spent the last two years travelling for Tokyo 2020 qualifiers around the world and is aiming for the Games next year. She broke five NZ records and collected three medals at the Apia Pacific Games in 2019. Megan is also a business owner and trainer with a drive to educate others, particularly females, on health and fitness.

Sarah Gibbs, Former Football Fern and Board Member, NZ Football – host to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Sarah is a senior corporate and commercial lawyer at Auckland law firm, Hesketh Henry and a former Football Fern. She was recently elected to the Board of NZ Football coinciding with NZ and Australia winning the bid to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, likely to be the largest sporting event ever held in NZ. Sarah is a firm believer in the transformative power and transferable value of sport and a fierce advocate and promoter of gender equity in both sport and society.

Peter Miskimmin, outgoing Chief Executive, Sport New Zealand

Peter has a wealth of experience as an athlete, coach and sports leader. He was appointed Chief Executive of Sport NZ in 2008 and during his time has led a significant step change in community sport thinking and implementation. Peter has led the Sport NZ response to the Government’s strategy for “Women and Girls in Sport and Recreation”, committing more than $10 million of new investment across the three pillars of “Leadership”, “Participation” and “Visibility and Value”.

Jennah Wootten, General Manager, Partnerships and Communication, Sport New Zealand

Jennah joined Sport NZ in June 2018. She also serves as an independent director of the 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and Regional Facilities Auckland. Prior to Sport NZ, she was CEO of the hugely successful World Masters Games 2017, which saw Auckland welcome more than 28,000 participants across 28 sports and which generated a surplus of $831,000 which was returned into amateur sport. Jennah also worked at ATEED as GM – Destination.

Michael Scott, Chief Executive, High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ)

Michael took over as Chief Executive of HPSNZ in early 2018, following a 3-year stint as Chief Executive at Rowing Australia. He quickly made his mark, bringing in a raft of changes to improve efficiency. In October 2019, HPSNZ announced it will invest $2.7 million into a ‘Women in High Performance Sport Pilot Project’. It is designed to correct the under-representation of women in high performance leadership and coaching roles by creating the right environment and opportunities.

Kereyn Smith, Chief Executive and Secretary General, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC)

Kereyn is amongst one of New Zealand’s most recognisable sports administrators, having led the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games campaigns since 2011. Kereyn was involved in the establishment of the IWG in 1994 and since then, as continued to promote gender equity. In 2015, the NZOC became the first National Olympic Committee (NOC) to win the IOC ‘Women in Sport’ World Trophy. Kereyn is an original Foundation Member of Women in Sport Aotearoa.

Andrea Nelson, Chief Executive, 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

Andrea has an extensive track record of overseeing complex projects in New Zealand and abroad. In June 2019, she took up the mantle of Chief Executive with the newly created local organising committee of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021. Taking place across six host cities – Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – between 6 February and 7 March 2021, this tournament is expected to be the biggest yet, with 180m+ global viewers.

David White, Chief Executive, New Zealand Cricket – host to the 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

Chief Executive since 2012, David has overseen one of the largest growth and change periods in NZC history. Many will remember the independent Women & Cricket Report in 2016. It showed that women had “virtually no voice in governance or leadership of the game”. Fast forward three years, and NZ Cricket is now leading the way for equity. In 2019, NZC announced a landmark agreement with the White Ferns and female players, taking the women’s game professional.

Michelle Hooper, Tournament Director, 2021 Rugby World Cup (women’s)

Michelle was appointed Tournament Director of RWC 2021 (women) in early 2020. Taking place in Auckland and Northland from 18 September – 16 October 2021, this will be the first time women’s teams have contested a RWC in the Southern Hemisphere. Michelle has 20 years’ experience in major event delivery. Most recently, she led Team Services planning for the Rugby World Cup 2019 (men) in Japan and has held leadership positions in global football and triathlon.

Mark RobinsonChief Executive, NZ Rugby – host to the 2021 Rugby World Cup (women’s)

Mark took up the role of Chief Executive in January 2020. Prior to this he served on the NZR Board for seven years and was NZR’s delegate to World Rugby. During a rugby career that spanned the amateur and professional era, Mark played nine Tests for the All Blacks between 2000-2002 and also played in the UK and Japan. Mark was CEO of Taranaki Rugby from 2007-2012 and has worked in consultancy in the areas of education, environment, energy and agriculture. 

Andrew Bowater, Board Member, NZ Football – host to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Andrew was elected in 2019. He has strong connections to the teleco industry with political and public affairs experience as well as sports sponsorship with the Phoenix and Team New Zealand. Andrew joined Huawei NZ in 2013 to lead its public affairs programme and was promoted to be Deputy Managing Director in 2018. Before that, Andrew was at Telecom NZ. He also worked in Parliament for then PM Helen Clark and before that, at the Australian High Commission.

Jennie Wyllie, Chief Executive, Netball New Zealand

Jennie has just marked 10 years with Netball NZ, starting out as Head of Finance, Strategy & Services before moving to Chief Executive in July 2016. Widely credited as having turned the Silver Ferns’ fortunes around by bringing Coach Noeline Taurua back into the fold, 2019 proved her wisdom – the Silver Ferns won the Netball World Cup for the first time since 2003. Netball is the biggest participation sport for girls and women in Aotearoa New Zealand, with 350k+ players.

Claire Beard, Chief Executive, Triathlon New Zealand

Claire became Chief Executive in April 2017. She leads and enables the delivery of triathlon in Aotearoa New Zealand and is one of very few female leaders of a National Sporting Organisation (NSO). Prior to her tenure, the sport had gone through a difficult period. Claire has been instrumental in leading it back to a position of both performance and financial success, including a bronze medal at the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the first medal in over 10 years. 

Nick Sautner, Chief Executive, Eden Park

Nick was appointed Chief Executive in November 2017, after 18 months as General Manager – Commercial. Already a showcase venue for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 and the Rugby World Cup 2021 (women’s), Eden Park is taking a leadership role across the industry, driving equality in the venue’s change room design to be gender appropriate and fit for purpose. This will have a significant impact on the experience of the women who perform at the Park.

Shelley McMeeken, Chief Executive, Halberg Foundation

Shelley has been a leader in sport for more than 20 years, with positions including Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand and directorships across football and triathlon. In September 2015, she became Chief Executive of the Halberg Foundation, which enhances the lives of physically disabled young people by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation. Shelley works to ensure that disabled teenagers and young girls in Aotearoa have choice and equity of opportunity.

Lynette Grace, Paralympic Games Campaign Lead, Paralympics NZ

Lynette has a career spanning more than 25 years, including Tournament Director for the iconic Wellington Sevens event, Rugby Sport Manager for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and leading the Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games campaigns. She was recently appointed as one of six members on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Global Experts Review Panel for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

Simon Kent, Leadership & Performance Coach

Simon is the current high performance director and national coach for Olympic Weightlifting NZ and head coach of Papatoetoe Olympic Weightlifting Club. Simon was high performance director and coach to NZ’s Olympic Weightlifting team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Simon is highly regarded for the work he does in developing leaders of character, and his ability to create high performance cultures. He is a well-known advocate and supporter of gender equity across sport.

Lara Collins, Chief Executive, Waka Ama New Zealand

Lara became CEO of Waka Ama New Zealand in 2012 after a 15-year career in Sport Management at College Sport Auckland. Instrumental in establishing the Waka Ama NZ office and leading the growth of Waka Ama over the past 10 years. Lara is a keen Waka Ama paddler herself and has been involved in the sport for more than 20 years, winning several national and world championship medals in that time. Lara is also the current President of the International Va’a Federation (The world governing body for the sport of Waka Ama).

Jody Cameron, Assistant Tall Ferns Coach, Basketball New Zealand

Jody Cameron is of Ngāpuhi decent a former New Zealand Tall Fern Olympian in 2004, born and breed in Whangarei, New Zealand. Currently, Jody is an Assistant Tall Ferns Coach, North Harbour Basketball Women’s Development officer, and is a part of the Sport NZ Coach Accelerator Programme. It is no surprise Jody is working to grow the high performance and grassroots space for females in basketball, as she comes from New Zealand basketball’s most famous families.

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