Last week saw the curtain fall on the joint Racing Victoria and Tabcorp initiative, the Women’s Mentoring Program of which Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria was a participant for the first time.

In its second year, the program was expanded and run in conjunction with the ‘No Barriers, No Limits’ Steering Committee, calling on members and employees of Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria (CRV), Australian Trainers Association (ATA), Victorian Jockeys Association as well as TBV to participate alongside those from Tabcorp.

Aimed at fostering female participation throughout the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, the program engaged 30 mentees and 10 mentors, including TBV Committee member Caroline Duddy (as a mentor) and TBV Marketing & Communications Officer Jessica Moodie (as a mentee).

Participants undertook self-guided learning and small group discussions over twelve weeks on topics that included personal branding, networking, communication, negotiation, influence and empowerment.

A clear highlight for a great number of mentors and mentees alike was the session on ‘Communicating With Authority,’ facilitated by CareerCEO Chief Mentor, Andrea Clarke, which aimed to educate participants about the way in which women often unconsciously undermine their own authority.

While it was confronting to some degree, it was personally transformative for many, and an experience over which the groups bonded.

Participants left the session equipped with the skills to speak with confidence, and how to harness their body language as well as vocal techniques to achieve this.

The thoroughbred racing industry is large and diverse, and groups used their weekly or fortnightly sessions as an opportunity to better understand their fellow mentors and mentees. This included visits to workplaces and sites of interest, that for many, they had never previously been to or experienced.

Outings to Darley Northwood, Woodside Park Stud, Living Legends, Inglis Premier Sale, training complexes, jump outs, and the snazzy Tabcorp offices provided groups with many chances to deepen their understanding of each other and the industry as a whole, and many talking points!

Horseplay aside, the Women’s Mentoring Program is, in essence, designed to champion the role of women from all sides of thoroughbred racing. Although the industry often suffers from the perception of male dominance, it was pleasing to see the initiative embraced by a variety of male figureheads.

Both Scott Whiteman, CRV Chief Executive, and Andrew Nicholl, ATA Chief Executive, could not be more pleased to participate in the program as mentors.

“Backing female talent means backing the racing industry for a sustainable future, which is why I was happy to be involved as a mentor,” Nicholl said.

At the close of the second annual Women’s Mentoring Program, a celebratory ceremony was held for participants, which was attended by RV CEO, Giles Thompson, and Tabcorp CEO, David Attenborough. Both noted that diversity in the workplace is essential for a prosperous thoroughbred racing industry.

Participants at the Women’s Mentoring Program Closing Ceremony

“Whilst we are seeing a general increase in the number of women employed in our industry, we recognise that we still need to enable more women to enter, remain and thrive in the industry, which is what this program aims to achieve,” Thompson said.

Women play an increasingly prominent role across the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, making up 52 per cent of licensed stable employees; 30 per cent of CRV club managers; 26 per cent of licensed owners; and 30 per cent of licensed trainers.

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