The International Netball Federation (INF) are finalising their strategic plan for 2016-2020 and I had the opportunity to talk with President Molly
Rhone about it. You would be hard pushed to find another governing body President that is as excited and as passionate about their sport and their
strategy as Molly. I have had the privelage of interviewing her a couple of times and she is a tour de force of energy and desire to see Netball
From 2012-2016 there were as Molly calls them, five pillars that consisted of:
1. Effective Governance and Administration
2. World Class Events
3. Sustainable Global Development
4. Quality Officiating Worldwide
5. Quality Coaching Worldwide
In talking with her she is very happy with how far all the members have come in integrating these pillars into their governance and plans to the point
where in her opinion it is now about upholding and maintain what has been put in place over the last four years. The success of the World Cup last
year and the breaking of so many records has also boosted the game and given it a springboard into the new four-year strategy, but it’s a massive
vindication of what Molly and the INF have been doing.
What I like about the INF strategy for the next four years is that there is no mention about viewing figures, revenue streams and all such targets
when Molly and I talk. What Molly is talking about is how to completely change how woman and sport are perceived and to empower them to play. This
is a big statement to make but one that Molly is confident will work because she has seen it in action from grassroots up, as she has proactively
been involved in setting it up. Molly enthuses about visits to numerous African countries and the overwhelming success they have had with the program.
“rather than sit in a house and work they can get out and play Netball and play sport” Molly explains of what is a paradigm shift in global sport
strategy. This is about empowerment of girls and women to play a sport, that its ok to do it and fun. More so, as Molly continues to explain, it
is about getting girls and women fit, educating them about everything from health to why using banned substances aren’t good for you, taking care
of what you put in your body. Is this part of why Netball is such a clean sport?
Molly is very clear that this strategy of empowering girls and women around the world is key and that it will deliver the next phase in Netball becoming
a sport that is more than a sport. “One of the things that sets us apart is the empowerment of women and girls, allowing them to make decisions.
This makes Netball unique” Molly said of what the INF is looking to deliver. For Molly and the INF this is about using sport to connect, communicate
and enable girls and women around the world. It is about far more than a corporate strategy for the next four years, this is about making a significant
change in the world.
To deliver such an enormous mission requires numerous things to be working in harmony and one of those is governance of the sport which Molly and I
have spoken about previously and discussed again at length. Strong governance is at the heart of what Molly has put in place at the INF and part
of what Molly has put in place is the creation of a term limit to presidency. As I talk to her more about this it is very clear that Molly and
Netball are interlinked, her passion for the sport and using it as a tool are contagious. Her perspective on stepping aside for a new president
shows her character and commitment to the cause as she explained “there are other people out there that can do the job as well if not better. Paths
should be set for others to come in”. Molly wants and welcomes new, young and talented people, positively encouraging this input because she wants
what is best for Netball and not one person. What I admire about Molly is that not only has she put this in place when so many others are clinging
onto a presidency for as long as they can, but that she sees herself as part of a team, not the top of the tree. “As the president I have one vote,
my board doesn’t have to agree with what I say” Molly explains of the structure. In all Molly says it is very clear that not only is she working
tirelessly to achieve all the goals of the INF but that she is wanting to leave a legacy and firm foundation for those that come after her.
Molly Rhone is a truly inspirational leader who I have been very privileged to spend time with and witness the passion she has the sport, as well as
to see the huge influence she has been and continues to be around the world. When her term is over will she step into the shadows? She laughs and
says that she has been involved in sport since she was ten and isn’t about to stop, there is too much to do. I’m glad to hear it because she would
be a huge loss to the world of sport.