What is your dream?
My dream is to provide sporting opportunities for people with impairments which allow them to
pursue their sporting dreams and have access to resources to ensure this is achievable. In particular,
countries who currently don’t have athletes with an impairment participating in rowing, such as
Vanuatu. Over the previous 3 years I have helped build the Australian Para Rowing program to be
number one in the world for three consecutive years and my aim is to use my knowledge and skills
to assist others to develop sustainable programs that allow people with impairments to row. I am
currently working with Vanuatu on a volunteer project (not related to my current position at Rowing
Australia) to help them develop and build a para-rowing program in their country. They currently
have a structured able body program and until recently, para-rowing wasn’t available. After liaising
with my contacts in Vanuatu, we are excited that there is now one para athlete currently training at
the club. The club has been very welcoming and inclusive which is great. The door is open for new
athletes. I plan to work closely with Vanuatu to identify suitable coaches, obtain specialised para
rowing equipment, identify eligible athletes, provide training to coaches, provide training to allow
them to identify their own athletes, provide program structures for both recreational and elite
athletes, identify a clear pathway to International representation and assist in developing training
programs. I currently provide advice and guidance to Vanuatu via emails and phone but ultimately I
would like to travel to the country at various times throughout the year to provide hands on
assistance and to be able to spend time in their environment to gauge an understanding of their
situation on the ground. This would give me a greater understanding of their needs and what might
work in their country. It takes time to set up a sustainable program and I aim to be there
throughout the whole process.
How did you find your passion?
I have been involved in rowing for 16 years and when I retired from being an athlete I became an
Assistant Coach at the ACT Academy of Sport. It was there that I was introduced to a vision impaired
athlete who I began coaching. The more I learnt about the para-rowing aspect of the sport the more
it pulled me in. The athletes all have fascinating and inspirational stories and being able to follow
them on their journey through sport is amazing. Being selected on the FISA Para-Rowing
Commission gave me the opportunity to see how the sport is structured in other countries,
especially those without many resources or the knowledge of the sport. The athletes and coaches
are driven, but without the sustainable structure, they are limited in what they can achieve, whether
that is rowing for fun and fitness or racing on the world stage. This has driven me to use my
knowledge and experience to help other countries so they can also participate in this wonderful
Tell us about your dreams / goals for the next 12 months?
My goal for the next 12 months is to assist the Vanuatu Rowing Association to set up a sustainable
para-rowing program. This includes educating the community about para-rowing, help source
athletes, provide training for officials and provide information on sustainable programs. It takes
time to set up a program and I don’t want to rush it, however it would be great if the program was
able to progress to a point where they met the eligibility to apply for the 2017 AGITOS/FISA camp
which provides countries who have not participated in the Paralympic Games in Rowing the
opportunity to attend a para-rowing camp, which is being conducted in Italy this year. In addition to
this, I hope there will also be athletes who will compete at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta
held in March 2017.
How will the scholarship support your endeavours?
The scholarship will support me immensely. It will allow me to do hands on work with the Vanuatu
Rowing Association which I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I can spend time in their
environment and learn first-hand the hurdles they face and help develop workable solutions. I will
be able to educate the local community about para-rowing and meet those who are passionate
about developing a sustainable program. The scholarship will also provide me with opportunities for
networking which may open to the door to other opportunities which is exciting.
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
My career highlight so far is being appointed to the FISA Para-Rowing Commission. It is an honour to
be recognised as someone who can positively contribute to the sport and it is great to work with
others from around the world who are also dedicated and passionate about para-rowing. A big
achievement professionally has been my participation in the development of the para-rowing LTA
category in Australia over the last three years. 2015 was the first time since 2009 that an LTAMix4+
from Australia had been represented at the World Championships. In three years we have gone from
not enough athletes to enter a crew, to having a crew vying for Paralympic Selection in 2016.
How important is inspiration in your life?
I think inspiration is important and everyone is inspired by someone or something. I am inspired
every day by the athletes I come in contact with. From the athlete who has slowly been losing their
eyesight since they were a teenager to someone who chose to have their leg amputated at the aged
of 16; or athletes who have obtained their impairments through accidents, been diagnosed with a
degenerative condition or were born with their impairments. Each athlete has a very unique and
individual story which has shaped the person they are today. Each journey is inspiring and makes me
look at my life differently every day. I hope what I do inspires others to work within the para sport
sector. It has its challenges but the people you meet and the rewards outweigh the challenges by far.
Who’s your hero (and why)?
To me, the word hero refers to someone who has acted in a heroic way and put their life on the line
to save others. This refers to people such as Defence personnel, beach and pool life savers and
people who have been in situations outside the normal and acted in a heroic way which significantly
impacted the final outcome, such as proving basic first aid at a car accident which saved someone’s
How will you support your community in the future?
Once the 12 months of this scholarship has been completed, my support to Vanuatu Rowing does
not stop there. I will continue to provide external support and resources to help ensure the program
continues and hope other opportunities arise which allow me to continue hands on work when
What’s the motto that you live by?
You only live once! If it makes you happy do it, and if it doesn’t then don’t.
I listen to a variety of music and don’t really have favorite, however I am a little fan of Belinda
Carlisle. Her songs are classic. I was in early primary school when her songs were hits but I am sure
my mum playing them around the house and on car trips has contributed to this.
I can never say no to an authentic Italian pizza or fresh creamy pasta. Yum yum!
The one book that always pops into my head when asked this question is ‘Go Girl’ by Natalie Cook. I
have referred to it on multiple occasions over the years and I highly recommend it to any female,
athlete or not. For something more on the light side of reading, I really enjoyed ‘He’s Just Not That
into You’ and ‘It’s Just a Date’. They might be light reading, but they have a great message – As a
women you are important and are deserving. Don’t let yourself be treated any other way than what
Favourite TV Show?
I don’t necessarily have a favourite TV show. I have a variety of different shows that I watch,
however there is no show that I rush home to see.
If you had one message to share with other women chasing their dreams what would you say?
Focus on the things you can control and influence, and don’t spend your energy on the things you
can’t. As long as you can look in the mirror and say you have put in 110% effort and did everything
you had the power to do, then you should be happy with what you have achieved.