Jan 8, 2021
In this podcast, Margot Foster AM OLY talks to Claire Braund about the very real challenges that face sports boards today from corporate governance, to best practice, to competing state and national interests, to the evolving responsibilities of directors.
Margot is the Director of The Lyceum Club, NST Member Selection Advisory Committee member of National Sports Tribunal Australia, Governance and Integrity Consultant at SIGPA and inaugural Chair of the World Athletes Election Oversight Panel (formerly IAAF), among her many roles.
A former Olympian and a lawyer, Margot has a finely honed understanding of team dynamics, high performance, attention to detail and excellence.
She won Gold in rowing at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, and holds the title till this day. Her rowing profession came to a brutal end in 1988 when a panel of male selectors unilaterally decided they wouldn’t send any female contesters to the Seoul Olympics.
While the doors closed on her professional sporting career, Margot has remained at the strategic heart of countless sports boards since she was 18 and hasn’t looked back.
In 1989, Margot was appointed to the Melbourne Olympic Bid Committee for 1996 Games, which exposed her to power brokers lobbying to host the Olympics. It was at the time when no one talked about governance and Margot had to find her way autonomously. It taught her invaluable lessons and equipped her with the grit and determination needed to navigate the terrain of sport boards.
The challenges have been vast and varied, Margot admits, and governance remains at the peak of the list. Sports boards are driven by peoples’ passion and love for the game, but this is deeply rivaled by shifting government requirements, increasing risks, professionalization across the sector and changing television rights. Margot explains this is why the type of director required for sports boards is evolving amidst the inevitable and persistent challenges of member-based bodies, the federated model, and the fraught field of integrity.
In this podcast, Margot cautions sporting organisations that if you ignore history, you peril.
Margot Foster - AM, OLY, Non-Executive Director
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