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Club and Community | 05 March 2023

#EmbraceEquity - Kirin Lindop

This International Women’s Day, Swimming Australia is joining the millions of people worldwide collectively seeking to #EmbraceEquity. The 2023 theme asks us to Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

One of the many avenues through which to #EmbraceEquity is to celebrate women’s achievement and, while Australian swimming is fortunate to have countless examples, both past and present, of incredible female achievement in the pool, we also have a number of inspiring female leaders driving the success of the sport out of the water.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, Swimming Australia is going to highlight those women forging change in the workplace. The fifth woman to feature as part of the #EmbraceEquity series has forged an impressive career to date in various roles across a number of sports including with the Cronulla Sharks in the NRL, Cricket NSW and as the CEO of Athletics NSW prior to joining Swimming Australia as the Executive General Manager, Sport Development. Introducing Kirin Lindop!

Who did, or continues to, inspire your leadership style?
Across my career I’ve had various mentors and amazing colleagues, both men and women, who have inspired me and influenced my leadership style. From early in my career I was values led, my leadership style has been continually shaped through experience, and to this day I still lead with my values at the core. I can’t go past mentioning my Mum in regards to my leadership inspiration. As a single parent, my Mum, studied law part time whilst working full time and while my sister and I were also at uni. Mum then went on to graduate and become a successful lawyer totally transforming her career and life and bringing my two sisters and I along for an amazing journey.  Leading with purpose is in my DNA.

Most recently, Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic leadership style is an absolute inspiration, gaining global admiration, and a role model for all of us as female leaders. The collective women’s sporting teams and leagues that have stood for change and equal rights such as the Matildas, the US Women’s Soccer Team and the WNBA throughout the Black Lives Matter period have been and continue to be an inspiration and empower me to lead with integrity and stand for equality.

My two beautiful kids have definitely shaped me into a better human and leader, they are my daily reminder of why being a great role model and a good person matters.

What brings you the most satisfaction in your role?
Being able to make a difference whilst being surrounded by some amazing and very talented humans and doing all of that whilst working in sport. Being a member of the Swimming Australia Executive Team aside some of the best minds in our industry is an honour.  In my role, I love that I get to lead an incredibly capable team in an ever-changing environment and that I have the fortune of working with industry stakeholders who are doing some amazingly inspirational work.

It’s an exciting time to be working in sport, we are going to be a part of a special decade leading into Brisbane 2032. I’m grateful to a part of Swimming Australia during this unique period.

What more needs to be done to foster the pathway for female leaders?
Throughout my career I’ve seen and experienced much positive change for our current and future female leaders. The pathway for our female leaders is stronger than it was but we as an industry can still do more to support and enhance the journey.

We are seeing females rightfully rise up in their careers and lead amazing change, it would be great to see our industry along with our corporate friends, partner in supporting our current female leaders in their roles and to prepare our next generation. The creation of supportive networks, governance change and continued education will help, as will mentorship opportunities.

We need to continually ensure we recognise and eliminate any barriers to females in becoming leaders and reaching their potential. Inclusive education scholarships and support, targeted employment and funding, there is still much to be done.

What advice would you offer yourself if starting your career over again?
Follow your dreams and stay true to yourself. Work hard, keep learning and take opportunities as they arise. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and go with your gut instinct.

What does #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
To me, #EmbraceEquity means to stand up for fairness, justice, and equal opportunity and if we do this as a collective then – “Together we can forge women’s equality.”