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Passing the leadership baton at Women Sport Australia

Helena Dorczak has been elected as the new President of Women Sport Australia (WSA) after Gen Dohrmann completed her six-year tenure as a member of the Board.

Dorczak was elected as new WSA President after the WSA AGM on 4th October 2023 and steps into the role at an exciting time for WSA. The not-for-profit organisation has gone from strength to strength under Dohrmann’s leadership, establishing itself as a lead voice on gender equity for women in sport in Australia. 

After becoming WSA President in 2020, Dohrmann has led the continued delivery of mentoring programs, the running of the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards, the launch of a Gender Equity in Sport Pledge, the conducting of women in sport industry roundtables, the co-ordination of the 2022 Women in Sport Breakfast in Melbourne and a partnership with Cadbury which facilitated $150,000 of uniform grants for grassroots clubs across Australia. 

Helena Dorczak will step into the Presidency role at Women Sport Australia.
Photo by Katherine Griffiths/The Photo Pitch

“My heart is full after six years on the Women Sport Australia Board and I know that the organisation is in an excellent place to continue to make an impact with our advocacy work. The women’s sport landscape has shifted immensely since I joined the Board in 2017 and it’s been wonderful to assist with growing the profile and professionalism of WSA,” Dohrmann said.

“Helena is a fantastic choice for President and brings great perspective on both community and professional sport. I know that she will lead the group of talented and committed WSA directors to continue to achieve great things”.

With a substantial career history working in football including her current role as Chief of Staff for the Australian Professional Leagues and roles with Sydney FC and Football Australia, Dorczak is eager to leverage her experience as a female having played, coached and now working in sport more broadly.  

“Women and girls should have equal opportunity to be involved and excel in sport at all levels; on the field, the sides lines or in the boardroom. I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to have strategies that open sport to everyone no matter your gender, age, background or ability,” Dorczak said.

“It’s a huge honour to be elected WSA President and play a leading role in advocating for and influencing positive change for women and girls in sport in Australia”.

With Dohrmann completing her term on the Board as well as Cherie Nicholl not standing for re-election, the WSA Board is delighted to welcome two new Board Directors Holly Bailey and Laura Byrnes. 

As the founder of Play Like a Girl Australia, Bailey has crafted a business rooted in fostering robust relationships and forging impactful partnerships. As a top netballer turned VFL star, her path as an entrepreneur has been transforming her idea of delivering leadership programs that guide the personal and professional journey of girls through sport into tangible successes. 

Byrnes not only brings a background in human resources and operations management to the WSA Board but also 18 years as a motorsport athlete and a fierce advocate for women in motorsport. Byrnes was a 2021 Shona Joy Scholarship Mentoring Program recipient, and was also a finalist in the WA Young Achiever Awards in 2021 and 2022 and a participant in the Layne Beachley “Aim for the Stars” program. 

“We are thrilled to have Holly and Laura join our WSA Board and look forward to the excellent insights they will be able to bring from their lived experience in sport,” said Dorczak. 

More information on the Women Sport Australia Board can be found here.

Helena Dorczak Bio

Helena is Chief of Staff at the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), where she leads the delivery of APL’s strategy, working closely with the wider executive team to make football Australia’s most entertaining sport. She is responsible for the development of the A-Leagues’ strategy for A-League Women and is also a keen football player and former manager and coach of amateur teams.

Helena has held roles across football, including with football’s governing body (Football Australia) and with Sydney FC (the A-Leagues’ most successful club) where she was General Manager, Commercial Strategy. 

At Sydney FC, she managed the commercial strategy and execution of their multi-million dollar sponsorship portfolio and Centre of Excellence project – Sky Park and led the expansion of the Sydney FC Foundation, the Club’s charitable arm. Since 2019 she has also been a member of Football Australia’s Women’s Council, a 10 member council with a charter to ensure equality in football for women and girls.

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