The 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, where we must all unite to transform challenges into opportunities and shape a better future for all.

Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Netball Operations Manager, Amy McDonald (AKA AMac) has worked at Lightning for just over two years. However, she spent her first season working in the Marketing team as the Community Engagement Manager, before transitioning to the netball department.

As a team manager she is organised and an absolute professional, but as a person her passion for the sport and the athletes is undeniable.

Amy’s contribution to Lightning is immense, through her hard-work and determination she has enforced a high-standard of operations within the netball department, and has the buy-in and respect of the athletes, high performance staff, and marketing and commercial staff.

What made you begin a career in women’s sports? And what has kept you in it?

“I love the underdog nature of working in Women’s sport. We must achieve a lot with only a little. It attracts people with a strong work ethic and who are willing to chip in and work as a team to achieve.

“The athletes are incredible to work with, there is no sense of entitlement or ego, just the desire to meet high standards and challenge the Club to grow and be better at every opportunity.

“The challenges that come with being underestimated are motivating and the people that I get to work with is what keeps me showing up and enjoying every day.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And can you speak to how important it is for sporting organisations (in particular) to honour these days?

“Sport is an incredible vehicle to highlight social issues and injustices and create change through education. Sometimes people are more likely to listen to athletes they respect than to people who have a different background or experience to them.

“I think simply celebrating IWD is not ground-breaking, due to the intersectional nature of discrimination that extends far beyond just gender. However, I think highlighting days like this are a good reminder for people to educate themselves about other people’s experiences and most importantly reflect on how their own privilege benefits them above others — particularly those in minority groups.”

Is there anyone that inspires you (or has inspired) you in your career?

“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring women in my personal life and my career.

“Throughout my whole life my mum and sister have modelled the most impressive work ethic. Most recently my mum continuing to work part-time while battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.

“There are countless examples day-to-day at Lightning. From Steph’s quiet consideration and care for her teammates, to Tarzy’s selfless leadership throughout a challenging knee rehab. And of course, throughout all the years I’ve been fortunate enough to know Mahalia and see the relentless commitment she has to her career, despite physical and mental challenges, to me, is the epitome of ‘high performance’.

“I could wax lyrical for days.”

Do you have a message for young women thinking about a career in sport?

“I would encourage any young boys or girls to get involved in women’s sport. We have some amazing Bolt’s Boys who we work with and who champion the growth and success of our club, and the importance of male leadership in tackling gender equality cannot be understated.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about a career in sport to find an organization, get a foot in the door, work hard and contribute to the team environment and be open to the opportunities that arise.”

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