Four Commonwealth Games Australia alumni amongst women ‘ready to excel’


Now in its third year, the 2023 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Accelerate Program will include CGA alumni Emma Bowker, Melissa Breen, Kaity Fassina and Natalie von Bertouch.

An intensive three-month initiative, the program is aimed at helping women pursue key roles in sports administration such as board members, event managers and high-performance coaches.

Funded through the Australian Government’s Office for Women, it has had an immediate impact with 45 per cent of the 2022 cohort securing new roles on completion of the program.

Two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist and former Australian Diamonds Captain Natalie von Bertouch is looking to pursue a leadership role in high performance sport after working as a dietician for the past decade.

“This opportunity is so timely, and I am very excited to undertake professional development and gain a greater understanding of the sporting landscape.”

Federal Minister for Sport Anika Wells congratulated the successful recipients, noting the strength of the cohort for 2023.

“This is a fantastic cohort of women who have together made 59 international appearances across Olympic, Paralympic, World Championships, World Cups, Commonwealth Games and Grand Slam events.

“The insights and ideas these athletes can offer to the Australian workforce is unparalleled and will help us strengthen the diversity of our leaders in sport.”

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said he was thrilled to welcome such a strong group of women following a tough selection process.

“The high level of demand and the quality of applicants speaks to the high regard these programs are held.

“Increasing female involvement at all levels of sport is a key priority for the ASC and through a range of programs, we are seeing an increase in women working in a variety of new roles right across the sector.

“I look forward to seeing this cohort reach their full potential and continue to make a big impact across Australian sport.”

A further 15 women have also been selected into the 2023 AIS Talent Program, a six-month bespoke program aimed at advancing the careers of women who work in sport and specialise in science, technology, engineering, maths or medicine disciplines.

2023 AIS Accelerate Program

2023 Talent Program (STEMM) Participants

  • Kylie Andrew (Victorian Institute of Sport)
  • Renee Appaneal (Cricket ACT)
  • Helen Bayne (Western Australia Institute of Sport)
  • Krystle Gayle Tate (ACT Academy of Sport)
  • Zara Gomes (Queensland Ballet)
  • Kylie Holt (Swimming Australia)
  • Nikki Jeacocke (Australian Sports Commission).
  • Alice Mae (ACT Brumbies)
  • Paula Peralta (NSW Institute of Sport)
  • Samantha Pomroy (Basketball Australia)
  • Kathleen Sakadjian (Melbourne Demons)
  • Megan Shephard (Queensland Academy of Sport)
  • Nicole Sly (Cricket Australia)
  • Sharon Stay (Queensland Academy of Sport)
  • Nicole Townsend (Australian Sports Commission)



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