Dozens of young female sporting stars from around the Hunter filled the Harbourview Function Centre to hear locals Sam Poolman and Katie Ebzery, as well as Sydney football star Amy Harrison, speak about navigating the difficult world of business and sponsorship.

Ebzery, who spoke about her time in the WNBL, in Russia and playing with the Australian Opals in recent times, believes it’s an important message to get across for those just reaching “elite status”.

“Any kind of wisdom that I could provide for Hunter kids that are looking to get to an ‘elite athlete’ status was what I wanted to offer,” Ebzery said. “Anything helps, whether it’s event like this or just mentorship, and we want to see women’s sport continue to grow through these channels.”

“I hope that more businesses can get behind local athletes, male and female, is going to be really helpful, and we just wanted to make sure they had a strong understanding of how to employee that aid, and what it can mean for them as they continue to achieve.”

As well as the three sporting superstars sharing their stories through the world of athletic triumphs, all three spoke to women and girls in the audience that had questions about pathways.

The event focused on how female high school students could better understand how to leverage sponsorship to support their sporting careers, with the possibility to speak to pathfinders from netball, basketball and football “crucial” to the experience.

Poolman praised the event, and said she was glad there was a full house considering it was a new project in the Hunter.

“Being the first of its kind, you don’t know how it’s going to be perceived, but I hope people take away good experiences and learnings from it, and often times once it’s been run you want to go back and you want to learn more,” she said.

“Hopefully the girls can take a lot out of it all.”

The Super Netball goal keeper also urged any young women who hadn’t had an opportunity to get to the seminar to still reach out, and she continues to work through her ASPIRE project and “give back to Newcastle”.

“There’s always so many emails coming through about where these projects are held, and I know there’s a lot of interest, so reach out – you’d be crazy not to jump on board with these kind of things,” she added.

Amy Harrison, who made the two and a half hour trip north from Sydney to attend the seminar, also said she may look into hosting something similar back in the big city.

“I think it’s so important to have things like these education seminars, there needs to be a clear understanding of sponsorships, support and what they all mean,” the Sydney FC midfielder said.

“In Sydney there’s been a lot of chats and talks about the sport, there’s a lot of great brands and sponsors on board here and that could definitely happen back there as well. It’s definitely a possibility that it could happen in the city too.”

The business-focused seminar was hosted by a number of Novocastrian businesses, including Property Solutions 101, Crosbie Finance, Jenkins Legal Services and The Marketing GP. The initiative was spearhead by Property Solutions 101’s Kylie Frearson.

First published as: Young stars turn out for Poolman, Ebzery and Harrison