Meet Julie Paterson Our 2015 Mentee
U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program
Deborah Slaner Larkin, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, will serve as a mentor to Julie Paterson, CEO of Netball Northern Zone Northern Mystics, from New Zealand for the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program. Now in its fourth year, this program supports the United States global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world, using sports as a vehicle towards greater opportunity and inclusion.
Julie Paterson, CEO of Netball Northern Zone in New Zealand
With a decade of experience as the CEO, Julie Paterson appreciates all the splendor and effort of high-performance sport. But, she also understands that it takes commitment and behind-the-scenes efforts for athletes and sports fans to experience these moments: “You have to have the right system, running efficiently, to make sports moments magical,” she says.
As the CEO of Netball Northern Zone in New Zealand, Julie has a wide range of responsibilities, from communicating with 17 independent netball centers in her zone, to securing sponsorships, game revenue and funding, to contracting professional athletes for the Northern Mystics, a major professional netball team managed by the organization.
As a child, Julie played netball, New Zealand’s most popular women’s sport and a rival to rugby in terms of raw numbers of participants. But, she wasn’t as interested in playing sports herself as she was in making sure sports operated efficiently so that others could play. Julie works in this capacity at Netball Northern Zone, which reaches from South Auckland to the northern parts of the island.
“In my experiences, sport has been a way to empower women from very poor communities. But it’s challenging. We’re always thinking creatively about how to make our sport more accessible to women who can’t afford to play it, giving women a pathway to succeed in life.”
Through the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), Julie hopes to gain first-hand knowledge and understanding of international sports administration. Further, she plans to study the best approaches and practices around the commercialization and profit development of women’s sports in the United States. She seeks ways to make netball more accessible, especially for indigenous girls and girls from underserved areas in New Zealand.