September 2022, Case Studies

Case study - Jenny Armstrong

Women’s sailing manager and ILCA6 Lead Coach, Jenny Armstrong, admits she really had to “grow” into the Te Hāpaitanga pilot programme after she was encouraged by Yachting NZ to apply to further her coaching experience.

Jenny, previously a contract coach managing what she describes as “little campaigns” in the youth space, says Yachting NZ were extremely interested in her joining the programme to help not only her own professional coaching development but also to start conversations about where she might fit into the organisation and what long term coaching opportunities might exist.

“ Te Hāpaitanga was a programme that I felt grew and expanded my horizons each time we came together, with themes for each residency becoming more and more relevant,” says Jenny.

“I began to increasingly see practical applications for me in my coaching world and what was extremely interesting was to see how all the theory and information became relevant when applied in the real world.”

Jenny says a big part of the programme was the networks developed among the other participants and with the mentors.

“It was fantastic to have a great group of mostly women in your corner. Often coaches operate in their own little sport so it was very interesting to hear how other sports operate because at the end of the day we are all trying to do the same thing – develop and manage our people.”

Jenny is now in a full time role with Yachting NZ as the Women’s Sailing Manager responsible for implementing the Womens and Girls Sailing Strategy with key areas being retention and pipeline development, and is part of the team looking after the organisation’s Wellbeing and Engagement Strategy.

Jenny is also ILCA6 Lead Coach responsible the ILCA6 Olympic Development Women Program and the ILCA6 Youth Under 19 girls and boys.

Jenny has some big goals in her new role starting with getting more girls sailing at the high performance level and, equally as important, keeping girls in the sport.

Based in Dunedin but with regular trips to Auckland in the post-COVID environment, Jenny is unashamedly passionate about being a voice for sailing in the South Island and regions.

She’s also keen to see more women coaches in New Zealand and internationally which she says is still very male dominated.

“We need more female involvement in coaching in New Zealand and internationally. And I’d love to be part of that change process.”

A former Olympic sailor, Jenny says her new role has meant her own sailing ambitions have to be scaled back. “I am keeping my hand in and I’ve still got my eye on competing at a Masters world championship sometime in the future and, of course, I’ll be aiming to beat the boys.”

Jenny Armstrong (pictured right)
Jenny Armstrong (pictured right)

About Te Hāpaitanga

The Te Hāpaitanga pilot programme was funded by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation and aims to create the right environment and opportunities to get more women in leadership and coaching positions at the pinnacle end of the sport.

The initial pilot project was deemed a success with 11 of the 14 women participating either changing roles or taking on more responsibility in their sport since the beginning of the project.

Up and coming coaches are given an experienced mentor from another sport and a scholarship to supplement their salary or further their coaching experiences or qualifications.

Because female coaches have to work with men, the programme has a number of men who act as mentors, speakers and advisors.

The second cohort of Te Hāpaitanga participants are currently into their first year of the programme.