Meet our 'First 50' Melbourne West
Change Makers

MARIO COSTA

ANDREW HOLLOW

JACKIE STARZER

ZAYED HALLOUM

RAELENE McCOOL

CLAIRE HODGART

JANICE HODGART

MICHELLE RISK

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Mario Costa

About Me

I have a long history in basketball expanding over 44 years, I’m currently both the President of Hoppers Crossing Basketball Club and the Vice-President of Wyndham Basketball Association.

My first experience started when I joined a local domestic club with my brothers, playing my first game in U11’s as an 8 year old. As we reach the ages of 11 and 12 we ventured into the world of representative basketball. Then a year later we took a leap forward joining a bigger and stronger club for both domestic and representative programs where I continued playing until aging out as a 16 year old.

After aging out of junior basketball, I had the opportunity of participating with a group of school friends in a mixed netball team that was instigated by our teacher. This lead to me continuing on playing mixed netball for the next ten years as well as resuming senior domestic basketball across various competitions in Melbourne.

In 2008 I became a basketball parent / spectator when my son joined Hoppers Basketball at the age of 10. Within 18 months I step in as the coach of my son’s team and continued in that position for the next 6 years. Along the way I ended up coaching multiple teams in both genders spanning the age groups from U12s to U23s. This ignited my passion to play again so I joined a senior team playing for a further 6 years, which led to our team competing in the 2009 Australian Masters in Geelong. I’m currently coaching 5 boys’ teams in the Winter 2021 domestic competition – U12s, U14s, U16s and two U18s due to a shortage of coaches.

My coaching has expanded into the representative program with Wyndham Basketball, firstly as a U14 Assistant Coach then stepping into Head Coaching roles for U16 and U18 boys. I’m currently in my second year of coaching the U18 boys in the 2020/21 season.

Since 2009, I have volunteered in many aspects of running a club to allow children in our local community the same opportunities I had. Becoming a committee member and taking on the leadership roles has allowed me to make a difference to the lives of young people in our community through sport, as well as contribute the ongoing requirements that support the growth and cultural changes of our community.

After 20 years working at Victoria University, opportunities have led me to bring both my passion and my workplace together through research initiatives. I’m currently leading a sub-committee to improve the Gender Inclusion gap within Wyndham Basketball and see the Change Makers project an opportunity to increase female participation through the inclusion of young females from within the local cultural and diverse communities.

Lastly, I’m currently on a path to regain my fitness to get back onto the court and play basketball; before I have no options left but to take up Walking Basketball.

Andrew Hollow

About Me

I am the current President of the Kensington Junior Soccer Club, starting my journey with Kensington when my daughter started playing in 2012, my journey with soccer started in 1975 and I’ve continued either playing (outdoor or indoor), coaching and/or on Committees every since.  In 2018 I established the boys side of our club after being Girls only since 2008.

I am also currently playing (with my son 14) senior cricket and coaching at a junior level.

Sport provides a wonderful platform for all and allows for many wonderful social opportunities for kids and families creating lifelong friendships and memories. By joining change makers our goal is to further advance being truly reflective of the communities we represent within the City of Melbourne (and beyond) and a destination club for all.

Jackie Starzer

About Me

I grew up in New Zealand, the youngest of six kids to migrant parents.  As a kid, I loved to play tennis and netball, swim and ride horses.

When I look back, I have always been involved in community volunteering. Some of my memories as a young teen are organising fundraising activities to assist with the building of our local community netball facility where I was involved as both a player and umpire.

I travelled extensively for a couple of years after leaving school and never participated in any organised sport. I eventually settled in Australia and once again became involved in sport through my four children playing a variety of sports.  After signing my daughter up to play netball in the local competition, my love for netball was once again rekindled. Whilst spectating one of my daughter’s games, I did not like how the players were being treated, so I decided to abide by my motto “put up or shut up”.

The following year I was coaching and had joined the committee to facilitate change. I spent the next ten years as treasurer, overseeing  the club grow from three to sixteen teams and the rebranding of the club in both name & uniform. I also served as a committee member for the Essendon District Netball Association to facilitate the introduction of representative teams. Over my twelve years involved in the club, I have participated in Netball Victoria’s “Head of the Game” program and the City Of Moonee Valley Portfolio Advisory Committee for Sport.

I am currently the Vice President of the Keilor East Netball Club and am super excited to participate in the Change Maker Project to hopefully make a difference and to influence change. 

Zayed Halloum

About Me

Sport is a great avenue to bring people together. Through sport, we build connections, develop key skills such as communication and leadership, build our health and fitness, and most importantly have fun.

Growing up as a Muslim Australian it was very difficult to access organised sports that made me feel included and didn’t compromise my core values. I joined the Newport Storm FC committee to create an inclusive club for the children and youth of our community, so they could enjoy team sport and keep their identity.

The Newport Storm FC is in its first year of operating and we are keen to build a solid foundation of diversity and inclusion and the Change Makers program greatly aligns with our club values and mission. We have many foundational members that faced discrimination and racism at their previous club due to their cultural and religious backgrounds, this made them feel excluded and pushed some away from wanting to play organised sport.

I look forward to working with the Change Makers mentor to help start our club on the right foot and ensuring our club is a reflection of our community.

Raelene

Raelene McCool

About Me

I completed my nursing training at the Alfred Hospital and am a perioperative nurse, mother of 3, lived in Ireland for 3 years and love watching any sport. I play tennis, golf and am looking forward to getting back to lawn bowls.
I have been involved in netball for 45+ years as a player, umpire, coach, committee member and mother of 2 players.

I believe team sport is a great way for people to connect and learn the skills of the sport, teamwork and leadership as well as supporting physical and mental health by having fun in an inclusive active environment.

Amanda Hill

About Me

I’m currently the Vice president for Hoppers Crossing Junior Basketball Club, based in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. I have been a member at the club for the last 6 years, with 3 of my daughters playing Basketball at domestic and representative level. 

Born and raised in Griffith, NSW, sport was an essential part of my childhood from a very early age and has continued throughout my adult life. I was introduced to sport through school and searched out other sporting programs as I got older. No one in my family played sport. I was never discouraged to play, however I never had the ongoing support or direction with sport, especially from any community members. As a young girl, Athletics was my first love, both sprinting and cross country and everything else in between. I always challenged myself to give my absolute best to whatever sport came my way, as I just loved the challenge and being active. I also went onto play Netball, Soccer and Touch football, both at social and representative levels as a young girl. I also enjoyed swimming, gymnastics, aerobics, bike riding and playing squash, a sport you don’t hear about anymore. As an Adult, I continued to play netball and Basketball.

I am extremely passionate about female participation especially reaching out to the diverse community. Seeing the need for growth, I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering as Team Manager and Coach for numerous teams within our Basketball club, as well as for previous soccer Clubs in my local area. I strive to communicate and share valuable information around sports to local communities and I am very passionate about the wellbeing of all our young members and their family.

There is still a huge need for female recognition and guidance within local sporting associations, especially creating awareness around diversity and the importance of effective and continuous communication with all involved. 

I look forward to being part of the Change Makers Program- this will allow our club to gain essential tools to make positive changes for all members to benefit from and most of all, be a role model within our local basketball (sporting) community.

I also look forward to the opportunity to learn new things, as life is all about developing. 

Phil Morley

About Me

I am a finance professional that stepped away from the corporate environment about 5 years ago and now work in the not-for-profit sector as a way of maintaining my professional career and caring for the community.  I have a Masters in Economics and a Grad Dip in Corporate Governance. 

My journey to sport is different in that I rarely played sport when I was at school, preferring the academic route; but since leaving school after year 12 I have rarely had a year when I have not played sport.  Sport is important to me in maintaining physical health, mental health and community connections.  I want to be healthy and live in a healthy community – that is a community that is not just physically healthy but also mentally healthy, socially healthy, economically healthy and supportive.  Netball is my sport of choice these days as I am President of the Wyndham Victory Netball Club, coach and play.

Claire Hodgart

About Me

My passion for sports begun when my mum offered to take me to Swimming, Gymnastics or Athletics and 5-year-old me said ‘All of them’. I am currently representing Western Athletics, one of Victoria’s most prominent clubs in Melbourne’s West. I have competed for Western Athletics for over 10 years and have been involved in athletics and cross country since I was 5. Whilst I love competing for my club, my love for sport stems from the social aspect. Throughout my years I have delved into an array of sports including Swimming, Gymnastics and Surf Life Saving.

My love of sport has influenced what I have done later in life as I have completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science majoring in Exercise Physiology and a Master of Applied Sport Science (Research). I am currently in my final year of studying a Master of Physiotherapy at Flinders University in SA. I am passionate about my sport and continue to promote health and fitness through exercise and sport.

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Nada Osman

About Me

Growing up in a sporty family of all boys, sports has always been a part of my routine. I started playing street soccer at a really young age and being a coach’s daughter I got to train with the boys, but that came with a lot of brutal comments since there weren’t many girls playing football, and in the community, it was perceived as a boys sport. Nonetheless, that made me push harder and become the best I can be and prove a lot of people wrong.

The change-maker project is an opportunity to make football clubs more inclusive and to make a positive change in female participation of all ethnicities. I want to be able to get more young girls from ethnic backgrounds who aren’t introduced to this beautiful game involved and I’m hoping the change-makers project will help with that. 

Janice Hodgart

About Me

I have been associated with Western Athletics since my daughter joined. I initially assisted as a club official and have since joined as an athlete. Athletics is a sport that the whole family can participate in regardless of age or level. As a child I did athletics however my family was limited with travel due to living in the country. After the age of 15 I stopped competing due to my studies. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed competing, I hope to break down barriers for current and future athletes when it comes to local clubs. I would love to make athletics more accessible for those who wish to compete.

Michelle Risk

About Me

Hi, my name is Michelle Risk, I’m a staff member at Volunteer West.

My role at Volunteer West is a Volunteer Support Service Officer (VSS) and a Project Officer, which consists of a referral service, data entry, contacting potential volunteering clients, screening, interviewing and placing them in suitable volunteering opportunities. Also, I’m the lead officer in our Outreach Projects, which consists in working with different organisations and the community

I became a volunteer and staff member to help in the community, assisting people find meaningful volunteering relating to their skills, background and knowledge. 

I enjoy interacting within our diverse community because it expands my own horizon and gives me an insight into our different cultures and multilingual community. 

I am also heavily involved in volunteering within my local community in the sporting sector as a Committee Member, Team Manager, Covid Officer and a Parent.  

 

Georgia Denisenko

About Me

In 2018, I took on a new role as Girls’ Program Manager at Glen Eira FC, after realising the Club wasn’t offering its girls anything close to the same opportunities as the boys in the Club. With 2 daughters and 2 sons who played for Glen Eira FC, and were having very different experiences, this wasn’t acceptable to me!  Working alongside the inaugural Girls’ Technical Director, John Sugunananthan (a visionary coach and leader in girls and women’s football), we introduced a host of new programs (most of them free), established a leadership team, gathered sponsors, and created an elite pathway for girls in the Club, to match the elite boys’ pathway that had existed for nearly 10 years.

A year later our girls’ participation rate had increased by 40%, our social media was saturated with our new girls’ program, and we were off and away!  Despite the enormous progress we have made, we still have a very long way to go in many areas before reaching the target of 50/50 –  for example our Club’s Committee is severely lacking in its representation of girls and women.

Whilst I am a lawyer by background, I am passionate about advancing girls and women in football, and I was a lucky participant in FV’s inaugural Female Administrator Leadership Program in 2019.  I was also grateful to receive a Change Our Game Scholarship from the Victorian Government, which will allow me to further my study in community sports management and leadership.

I have hopeful leadership aspirations for the future, and would especially like to see Club governance reformed and overhauled, to ensure equality in participation and experience in Clubs. I am thrilled that Australia is co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023. What a time to be an Australian woman involved in the beautiful game!  I doubt there will be a better opportunity to advance women and girls in football in Australia, and to reach the target of 50/50 participation.  We have much to do on many fronts, but this is our time  – oh the places we will go!

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