Women You Can Bank On is back and bigger than ever in 2021!

*UPDATED EVENT DATE: 16th + 17th June 2021*

Women You Can Bank On presents five of the most Influential Women in Sport for its 5th year.

 The truly unique Women You Can Bank On event is returning; bigger and better for its 5th year, bringing you a two-part event hosted across two days.

The theme for 2021 is “Thriving Through Change”.

The event was originally timed to align with UN International Women’s Day, to be a celebration of the ‘women in sport’ movement. It will feature a live moderated conversation with leaders from what is known as “The Big Four” – the major women’s sport events coming to Aotearoa New Zealand in the next three years.

The 2021 event will see the inclusion of the first “sister event”, innovative, challenging and change making workshops scheduled to occur on the 17th of June 2021.

Wednesday 16th June 2021 - Dunedin Town Hall

Women You Can Bank On Evening Event

Start Time: 5:30pm 
Finish Time: 10:00pm

 This year we welcome Raelene Castle ONZM, the new Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand, who will take centre stage to start the evening and introduce you to our speakers for the evening:

  • Dr. Farah Palmer, Board Member of the Organising Committee and NZ Rugby Board Member – representing the 2021 Rugby World Cup
  • Liz Dawson MNZM, Chair of the Local Organising Committee – representing the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup
  • Raewyn Lovett ONZM, Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport – representing the 2022 IWG World Conference on Women & Sport
  • Dr. Johanna Wood, President of NZ Football – representing the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

They will be supported at the event by the Chief Executive of Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA), Rachel Froggatt, along with representatives from Women in Sport Otago (WISPO), the local regional network.

This unique business event experience is a combination of inspirational speakers, panel discussions, networking and fine dining. The perfect platform for compelling conversations, to reflect, reset and grow.

What To Expect:

  • Panel Discussions
  • Speaker Sessions
  • Networking
  • A fine dining experience with a complimentary glass of wine on arrival and with dinner

Thursday 17th June 2021 - Dunedin Centre

Sister Event - Reflect, Reset and Grow Business Workshops

Start Time: 9am
Finish Time: 12pm

Join us at the Dunedin Centre on the 17th of June between 9:00am-12:00pm for our Women You Can Bank On Post-Event Workshops

Attendance to the WYCBO Workshops is available to all ticket holders attending the dinner event.

The objective of these workshops is to harness the energy and inspiration of the Women You Can Bank On speakers 'Thriving Through Change', and provide helpful tools to support you to do the same in your own lives.

The agenda for the morning will be as follows:


9:00am - 9:30am

Rachel Smalley – Storytelling in 2021, brought to you by SMALLEY COMMUNICATIONS.


9:30am -10:15am

Speaker to be confirmed. 


10:30am – 11:30am

Business Chemistry - Using Science to Improve the Art of Relationships, brought to you by DELOITTE.

Expressly designed for use in a business context, Business Chemistry draws upon four scientifically based patterns of behaviour to provide insights about individuals and teams based on observable traits and preferences. It helps you understand your own preferred ways of working and how this differs to other Business Chemistry types. 

At the session we will explore what it means to be a: Pioneer, Driver, Integrator or Guardian, and provide tips and tricks on how to “hunch” people, and explore ways to engage more effectively with individuals and your team. To get the most value from the session, we ask that you complete a short survey in advance of the session.


11:30am – 12:30pm

Branding 2021. An interactive workshop that will guide you to reimagine, realign and refresh your brand with Bex Twemlow, brought to you by FIREBRAND.


Please note this is not an additional cost and is included in the ticket price. This ticket is transferrable. 

For more information contact Anna Poole on [email protected]

*plus ticketing fees

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Raelene Castle

Raelene Castle is one of Australasia’s leading sports administrators, having most recently held the positions of CEO at Rugby Australia and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Prior to this she was CEO of Netball New Zealand from 2007 to 2013. Raelene has been appointed as the next CEO of Sport NZ and will commence her role in December 2020.

Outside of her extensive leadership experience, she has held several governance roles in sport, previously serving as a board director of SANZAR (Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship), the ANZ Championship netball competition and the International Netball Federation (INF). Raelene moved into sports administration after a fifteen-year commercial career, working in management roles for some and New Zealand’s leading companies. She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015 for services to Business and Sport.

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Farah Palmer (Waikato; Ngāti Maniapoto)

As captain of the New Zealand Black Ferns rugby team (1997-2006), Farah Palmer led the team to victory in three consecutive World Cups and had the honour of wearing the Black Jersey 35 times (which was a lot in those days!). In 2005 she was awarded International Women's Personality of the Year by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and in 2014 was one of six women inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Since retiring from rugby as a player in 2006, Farah combined her experience of sport and tertiary education with her desire to bring about social and cultural change through organisations especially for Māori and women.

Farah became the first woman to be appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2016 and joined the SportNZ Board in 2018. She is also the Chair of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and in 2018 Started a new role as Associate Dean (Māori) for the Massey Business School.

Farah believes we need to challenge the way we perceive how success and excellence are achieved, and what ‘effective’ leadership is. She encourages us to be kinder to ourselves and others in the process of lifelong learning and leadership.

Farah has used her spheres of influence as a woman proud of her Māori heritage, an academic and sports person to challenge dominant ideologies and discourses related to Māori, women, leadership, sport and business.

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DAWSON, Ms Elizabeth Anne (Liz) MNZM

Liz Dawson has been involved in business and sports management and governance for more than 25 years and was the first female Chief Executive of an Australian Rugby League club and the first female director of a Super Rugby franchise.

Following 5 seasons as a professional ski instructor and a career in FMCG, Ms Dawson was ap-pointed Marketing Manager of the New Zealand Rugby Union in the early 1990’s. She then be-came General Manager Marketing for the Warriors rugby league team in their inaugural years. She moved to Australia as Chief Executive of the Adelaide Rams, a start-up team in the then Super League competition. She then became General Manager of the North Queensland Cowboys, fol-lowing which she returned to her business career. She returned to New Zealand in 2003 to be-come an independent director of the Hurricanes Super Rugby team, a trustee of the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust and a director of the New Zealand Racing Board. She contributed to the development and delivery of the New Zealand Rugby Union’s bid to host Rugby World Cup 2011.

Her portfolio of governance appointments includes 5 years as Chair of Kiwi Insurance Limited, a director for 5 years of the St Kilda Football Club in Melbourne, a member of the Ministerial Advi-sory Committee to the Racing Portfolio and a director on the board of the Racing Industry Transi-tion Authority, and she is recently retired from the board of New Zealand Cricket, having also chaired the Women and Governance Steering Group and served on the High Performance Advi-sory Group. (When Liz joined the board of NZC in 2013 she was the sole female director - there are as of the Nov 2020 AGM, 4 out of 8.)

Currently, Liz serves as Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, is a member of the (ONOC) Oceania Olympic Gender Equity Commission and the Gender Equity Commission of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). She is a shareholder and director of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Club and a member of the Integrity Committee of the AFL Club St Kilda.

She is a director on the board of the TABNZ and Chair of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 LOC, being hosted across 6 cities in NZ in 2022.

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Raewyn Lovett

Raewyn is a highly-regarded commercial lawyer and is a partner of Duncan Cotterill. She has extensive experience in sporting governance, having Chaired New Zealand Netball for 7 years, Chaired the Trans-Tasman Netball League for 4 years and Chaired Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation for 5 years. Raewyn is currently Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport 2018-2022 and a director of the board of Sport New Zealand. Raewyn’s other current governance roles are Chair of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and trustee on the board of CHT Healthcare. Raewyn holds an LLB degree and in 2015 she became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to netball.

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Dr Johanna Wood

A director of a family farming company. Thirty-three years’ experience in the education sector. Completed a Doctor of Education, conferred May 2019. Thesis title is ‘The professional learning landscape for teen parent educators in New Zealand’. Roles in education have included: principal leadership (9 years); advising, leading and developing adult/teacher professional learning (9 years); mentoring first time principals (5 years). Areas of strength are: strategic planning; development of sound self-review practices using evidence to inform decisions; the ability to build and maintain friendly but professional working relationships, including managing conflict if required; sound financial skills.

Governance experience in education, sport and the not-for-profit sectors as well as service on local community committees and trusts.

  • Member of NZ Football Executive since April 2018, Elected President of New Zealand Football April 2019
  • FIFA Council Member for Oceania Football (elected March 2019)
  • 8 years as Chair of Central Football (one of seven football federations in NZ)
  • President of the New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers (1999-2001)
  • An alumni of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme.

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Rachel Smalley

Rachel Smalley is a strategic communications consultant and a creative and influential storyteller.

She spent more than two decades working across all platforms of the media – television, radio, digital and print, most notably as a Foreign Correspondent for TV3 and as a host for a number of high profile news and current affairs programmes.

Rachel was based in Europe for eight years reporting on several globally-significant events including elections in France and Britain, the conflict in Afghanistan and the London Bombings. She reported on the 2008 U.S. Election when Barack Obama first entered the White House, and spent a week at Downing Street reporting on the Privy Council hearing into the Bain family murders.

These days Rachel runs a communications company and says she is most happy spending weekends in the garden or with her son, Finn.

wycbo sarah

Sarah Ramsay

Sarah and her husband Alex Ramsay own Dunedin niche manufacturing machine shop United Machinists. United precision machine components for some of New Zealand’s leading high tech exporters across industries such as aerospace, medical, marine and cinematography. In early 2019 Sarah joined United full-time as CEO to oversee the company’s expansion.

Sarah is also an active angel investor and Chartered Professional Director through her company Immersion Ventures, Chair of Startup Dunedin, founding board member of the regional engineering collective SOREC and was the 2018 Westpac Otago Future Business Leader.

Prior to joining United as CEO, Sarah founded her first company Immersion Marketing at the age of 28, following an early career within the investment banking and commercial property sectors in NZ and Australia.


Purchase Tickets

Dunedin Town Hall

Jun. 16 - 17, 2021