Nine Queenslanders named in SLSA’s Women’s Mentoring Program

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is proud to today announce the first ever Women’s Mentoring Program with 40 women from across the country to take part.

From the 160 applications received, 20 mentors and 20 mentees were selected to participate in the program which was designed to strengthen leadership skills, and develop the next generation of female leaders to position Surf Life Saving for the future.

These include nine Queenslanders with Belinda Doman (Coolangatta), Shay Chalmers (North Kirra), Kerrie Barnes (Point Danger), Kirsten Phillips (Metropolitan Caloundra), Kylie Bade-Peters (Mermaid Beach) and Samantha Fien (Sarina) who will act as mentors. Courtney Hancock (Surfers Paradise), Courtney Taylor (Currumbin) and Megan Blin (Kawana Waters) are the mentees.


Coolangatta’s Belinda Doman

SLSA Life Member and Board Director, Suzanne Storrie, has worked tirelessly to get the initiative off the ground and said she is looking forward to witnessing the first cohort of women to the program.

“We were overwhelmed and very impressed by the quality of the 161 applications that we received,” said Storrie.

“We’re fortunate to have many talented females within our movement and I’m excited that this first mentoring program, and the cohorts that will follow, will connect us more closely together.

“I’m passionate about ensuring Surf Life Saving achieves gender equity in leadership positions and decision making roles across our organisation, and this program is one of the initiatives we’ve created to support the achievement of our goal,” she said.

Madonna, Samantha and Ray Fien at the SLSQ Awards of Excellence

Sarina’s Samantha Fien with her parents Donna and Ray

Multiple Australian, Nutri-Grain and Coolangatta Gold IronWoman champion Courtney Hancock was among the 20 mentees selected and is looking forward to being part of the new initiative.

QLD Cyclones

Surfers Paradise Courtney Hancock

“I’m so excited to be part of the program, I’ve got so much more I want to learn from other people – you never stop learning and you can never know enough,” Hancock said.

“I’ve always had mentors and I know for myself that they’ve definitely been a big and influential part in giving me the best possible chance to achieving my goals in life.

“I’m really excited to learn from my mentor (Jenni Darwin) and I know that Surf Life Saving Australia have picked ladies that have had a lot of experiences in their lives, and I can’t wait to get so much out of this experience,” she said.

Courtney Taylor resized

Currumbin’s Courtney Taylor, a 2020 Surf Girl entrant

Dr Leesa Equid of Swanbourne Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club is part of the group of mentors who will work closely with their matched mentees over the next 12 months.

“My motivation for applying for the program was I wanted to be able to give an opportunity to someone that I never had,” Dr Equid said.

“I’ve been part of the Surf Life Saving movement for just over 10 years now, and I’ve moved up through the organisation to now sit on the State Board.

“I really want to be able to share those experiences with someone – my mentality is that if I can help someone out I should,” she said.

SLSA is thankful for the generous support of McCarthy Mentoring Group for helping to make this initiative possible.

McCarthy Mentoring is a leadership development organisation that has been inspiring and enabling current and future leaders for more than 20 years.

MENTORS – Amanda Mackinnon (Carlton Park), Belinda Doman (Coolangatta), Carolyn Wilson (Secret Harbour), Christine Hopton (Avalon Beach), Heather Morris (Coogee), Jenni Darwin (Umina), Jenny Kenny (Cudgen and Currumbin), Kate Bell (Mentone), Kerrie Barnes (Point Danger), Kirsten Phillips (Metropolitan Caloundra), Kylie Bade-Peters (Mermaid Beach), Leesa Equid (Swanbourne Nedlands), Lynette Barratt (Devonport), Rae Lawson (Henley), Romilly Madew AO (Bilgola), Samantha Fien (Sarina), Shay Chalmers (North Kirra), Sue Mitchell (Henley), Tracey Hare-Boyd (North Steyne). Vicki Rasmussen (Mullaloo)

MENTEES – Amber Henderson (The Lakes), Amber Loone (Devonport), Bernadette McKay (Avalon Beach), Briny McArthur (West Beach), Brittaney Banks (North Bondi), Cassie Wilmot (Seacliff), Courtney Hancock (Surfers Paradise), Courtney Taylor (Currumbin), Emily Price (Burnie), Emily Mellor (Portsea), Felicity MacArthur (Bondi), Kate Burke (Fremantle and Broome), Lara Emmett (Ulverstone), Laura Adolphus (Secret Harbour and Swanbourne Nedlands), Megan Blin (Kawana Waters), Melissa Gorgijovski (Wollongong City and Warilla Barrack Point), Molly Cocks (Clovelly), Rebecca Waugh (Coogee), Sophie Valdeck (Bronte), Tyla Cousins (Goolwa)

ABOUT THE PROGRAM Surf Life Saving Australia has created a Women’s Mentoring Program, designed to strengthen and support females in positions of leadership in Surf Life Saving.

The program pairs 20 mentors with 20 mentees who will support each other across the next 12 months. Facilitating empowerment, support and leadership skills will all be part of the program, which participants can then use and apply to their paid roles inside and outside of surf life saving, volunteer activities and everyday life.

Article header photo: Kerrie Barnes from the Point Danger branch

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