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Club and Community | 05 March 2023

#EmbraceEquity - Mel Tantrum

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 fourth woman to be profiled as part of the #EmbraceEquity series is Swimming Australia’s Technical Lead for Western Australia and South Australia, Mel Tantrum.

Who did, or continues to, inspire your leadership style?
My parents were instrumental in shaping my leadership style. They were able to channel my energy into sport where I learnt the foundations of setting goals, working hard and never giving up. My university studies further shaped me and my ability to work collaboratively.

I have invested heavily over the last decade in fine-tuning my leadership skills with further university studies and practical leadership development courses through the AIS. My mentor and good friend Grant Stoelwinder taught me about the importance of building relationships and creating an environment that encourages success.

What brings you the most satisfaction in your role?
Being able to build capacity in others. If we are all working together in the same direction, you can achieve some amazing results. I would like to think I have a positive impact on coaches and athletes and can help them achieve their goals.

What more needs to be done to foster the pathway for female leaders?
We can all play a part in this. Sending female coaches to leadership development courses is great, but until we change the system that will enable all coaches to flourish in their environment, we still have work to do. We have female leaders in our sport, and these role models have been instrumental in being visible and paving the way for the next generation coming through.

What advice would you offer yourself if starting your career over again?
Aim high and never give up. There will be highs and lows, setbacks and challenges, but stay true to your values and stay committed to achieve what you want to.

What does #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
To me, #EmbraceEquity means being open to diversity. It means having an inclusive mindset and welcoming people who may look, think or act differently to you and valuing their input and perspective. Celebrating diversity and seeing things from a different perspective will make you a much better person and more effective leader.