MBA student lands CEO role at Paddle Australia 

Griffith University Masters of Business Administration (MBA) student and Women in Sports Leadership MBA Scholarship recipient Kim Crane has been announced as Paddle Australia’s next CEO and will drive the organisation’s preparations in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.

Paddle Australia’s next CEO and Griffith University Women in Sports Leadership MBA Scholarship recipient Kim Crane.

As the governing body for paddle sports in Australia, Paddle Australia manage, coordinate, and promote Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines, and also deliver paddling safety, education, training, and recreation.

Serving as the organisation’s National Performance Director for nearly three years, Ms Crane has been studying the MBA program to support her progression and elevation in the sport industry.

“I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my MBA program and the college has supported me to manage my study with my work commitments and international travel,” Ms Crane said.

Representing the Australian Women’s Hockey team, the Hockeyroos in 1989 -1993, high performance sport has dominated her career for 30 years, and she has been supporting athletes to reach their goals over that period.

Serving in executive leadership and management roles for organisations such as New South Wales Institute of Sport, Surfing Australia, Hockey Australia, Queensland Academy of Sport, and the Australian Institute of Sport, Ms Crane has a natural connection with athletes and coaches and deep empathy for the challenges of an athlete’s journey.

“As a point of difference, Paddle Australia is people-focussed and we support athletes to become the world’s best paddlers and people in a way that feels authentic and purposeful,” she said.

Griffith Sports College Manager Naomi McCarthy OAM
Manager Sports Engagement and Lead in the Griffith Women in Sport Strategy, Naomi McCarthy OAM.

“The Griffith MBA program supports me to reflect on my leadership philosophy and principles, and to strive for best practice and the sustainability of the organisation and the broader sports industry.”

The MBA Scholarship for Women in Sport Leadership was created by the Griffith Business School (GBS) to provide support to current and emerging female leaders in the sporting industry to increase diversity in sport leadership, support the next generation of female leaders, and increase the diversity in sports leadership within the system.

Manager Sports Engagement and Lead in the Griffith Women in Sport Strategy, Naomi McCarthy OAM, has worked closely with Ms Crane to provide support through her MBA, and support preparing Paddle Australia elite athletes for the Paris Olympics and Paralympics this year.

“MBA scholarships were established to support more talented women to move into these key leadership and decision-making positions within Australian sport which is so crucial for the industry and importantly, the athletes within it,” Ms McCarthy said.

Naomi Birdthistle
Griffith Business School MBA Director Professor Naomi Birdthistle.

“Women are incredibly underrepresented in executive roles within sport and this has a negative flow on effect for women and girls participating in sport at all levels, so it’s very pleasing to be able to celebrate Kim’s appointment.”

Griffith Business School MBA Director Professor Naomi Birdthistle said the MBA Women in Sports Leadership Scholarship helps to promote gender equality and diversity in sports, aligning with Griffith’s efforts to empower women in all areas of society.

“We are immensely proud of Kim’s accomplishments and through the Women in Sports Leadership Scholarship we believe we can inspire the next generation of female athletes and leaders, and encourage them to pursue their sporting ambitions with confidence,” Professor Birdthistle said.