CEO of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council and former state netball player, Andrea Mason, was recently awarded the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for 2016.
The Awards champion women from diverse industries, recognising individual achievements and highlighting the contribution women make in businesses around the country.
Mason received the award as a result of her tireless work in the Aboriginal community – predominantly her work as CEO of the NPY Women’s Council.
In reflecting on her award and achievement to date, Mason credits netball as a key contributor to her success, particularly the lessons she learned over her playing career; a career that stretched to time at the AIS where Mason was one of the pioneering Aboriginal netball players at an elite level.
“I’ve always said netball, and my experience and time playing netball was a real classroom to learn not only my own limits around my character and around my resilience, but it also helped me reach out and develop fantastic friendships with people outside of my own community,” said Mason.
“Netball helped me to learn how to be a professional leader. During my career I met Australians from all walks of life, middle class as well as working class families, business people and administrators. Netball helped me to develop my leadership style in regards to connecting with people from all walks of life.
“Today as a business leader these skills are priceless as I draw on this knowledge to lead people from a range of backgrounds.”
Working in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, Mason was thrilled to place her organisation next to previous winners of the award.
“As a not-for-profit organisation it’s just really reaffirming that the business skills that we have to use in the NFP sector are recognised with the other industries that are part of the Telstra awards,” said Mason.
“It shines a light on my organisation and the women we support.
“Sometimes there’s a little obscurity about that – of what’s happening nationally and what people know about the work that happens in dessert communities in Australia – so it’s lovely for the women and the women’s council to be given a broader platform to talk about its work.”
Through her work in empowering women in Central Australia, Mason also touched on the importance of sport in developing confident girls and in-turn, confident women.
“Sport is really important in bush communities. Whether it’s AFL or softball, or any competitive sport a kid can get involved with, it’s really important to give young people that opportunity to understand the dynamics of good team work at an early age.”
Netball Australia has also recognised sport as a powerful vehicle to engage and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, where with a captive audience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls already playing netball, an opportunity existed to further develop and continue this interest and involvement.
Netball Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan is an important step towards the strategic vision to ensure that everyone in Australia values their connection with netball. Initiatives of the RAP can enable this generation of players to build and create lifelong connections with the sport, as coaches, umpires, officials, volunteers, fans and advocates of netball.
On behalf of everyone in the netball community, we congratulate Andrea on her achievements.
**Telstra is a broadcast partner of Netball Australia and will bring the Suncorp Super Netball to TVs live in 2017 as well as through the Netball Live app.