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I am a Professor of Leadership, with a particular focus on women in sport and in academia. Prior to this, I was the Dean Academic for Massey University. I provided strategic and operational advice to the Provost and leadership to the academic, learning, and teaching and student experience portfolios of Massey University. I was the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Massey Business School, with particular responsibility for teaching and learning, internationalisation and accreditation until the end of 2016. Prior to this I completed a three year term as the Head of School of Management, prior to which I was the Associate Head of School of Management (Manawatu and Wellington), for two and a half years. I started at Massey University as a Recreation Officer and moved on to be Manager of the Recreation Centre, during which time the sport management and coaching qualifications at Massey were developed. Between 1995-1997, I worked at Victoria University in Wellington, before returning to Massey as an academic in the Department of Management.
I have served or am currently serving on numerous committees within the university including Academic Board (including being Deputy Chair), the College Boards of Business and Education, and I have been the Chair of the Massey University Doctoral Research Committee, the Massey University Blues Committee, and the Massey University Disability Committee. Representing the New Zealand Centre for Women and Leadership, I have been a steering group member of New Zealand Woman in Leadership programme since its inception in 2006, and was the Chair between 2012-2015. As a Senior Fulbright Scholar I conducted research at the Tucker Centre for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota. In 2016, I was a finalist in the Diversity category of the Westpac New Zealand Women of Influence Awards. I was a member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Women in Sport Group and have been the Manager of the Women's Junior Black Sticks and Black Sticks teams. I have been a board member of Volleyball New Zealand and Western Netball and Hockey Manawatu.
I co-founded Women in Sport Aotearoa in 2017 and as an advocate for facilitating opportunities for girls and women in sport at all levels, Sarah was recognised as NEXT magazine’s Women of the Year (Sport) in 2018 and was a finalist in the 2016 Westpac ’Women of Influence’ awards (Diversity).
My current research interests are in the areas of women and leadership in sport and academia, as well as the transfer of learning, and in particular the processes and factors which facilitate this. My most recent research publications have focused on mothers in sport leadership roles, and as elite athletes. I was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2008, which I tenured at the Tucker Centre for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, at the University of Minnesota. My research is always applied in that I try to make a difference in the areas of sport and academia as a result of my research findings. I am an Editorial Board member for Journal of Sport Management, and regularly review for the Sport Management Review and the European Sport Management Quarterly.
My research draws on the extant literature within leadership and gender, and on early research on the transfer of learning. The main research question focuses on the reasons why women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions and identifying ways in which this gap can be redressed. An in-depth understanding of their experiences, assists in identifying processes for organisational change. The research has given voice to those underrepresented in the sport management literature - mothers and female inmates. The findings to date suggest that the area of transfer of learning from motherhood to sport and vice versa has been under researched. By addressing this gap, organisations can highlight the mutual benefits in terms of matching skill sets, confront issues around confidence and knowledge and work-life balance, contributing to the growing body of research based on work-family enrichment.
21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Business and Management (150300): Commerce, Management, Tourism And Services (150000)
My area of expertise is leadership development. My research to date has focussed on women in sport and academia using qualitative methodologies.
My focus in teaching is providing high quality high impact learning experiences, which enable students to challenge themselves, so they can grow and develop, in a supportive environment. Drawing on my PhD research which focussed on how to maximise the transfer of learning, I am always looking for ways to maximise the transfer of learning from the myriad of situations our students find themselves in. I have taught papers in sport management and management from 100 level through to postgraduate over the past 29 years. I am currently responsible for teaching postgraduate sport sociology and sport management, plus the 15 credit internship in business.
I feel very privileged to be able to work with PhD students and guide them through the doctoral journey. Each student is unique and so my style is to adjust to the student's needs. My belief is that each student needs to know why they want to do a PhD and be passionate about their topic – they need to drive it. There is no one size fits all. I ensure that the supervision team is just that a team - where we work collectively to bring our strengths to the topic at hand. All the students I have worked with have brought their own topic about which they are passionate. Many focus on women in leadership in some form or other and many have been related to sport. However I have also relished the opportunity to work with colleagues from other disciplines (creative arts, history, natural resource management, matauranga Māori) where the topic has benefited from a multidisciplinary approach. Outside of Massey I have been part of supervision teams at the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. I have supervised both traditional PhD and those by publications.