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Celebrating our Inclusion Ambassadors for IWD

Published Thu 07 Mar 2024

Happy International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion and at Hockey Victoria we are committed to championing women’s inclusions from grassroots to elite level. Making sure women and girls feel encouraged to pick up a stick or be the president of their club, nothing is too big of a feat.

With the theme inspire inclusion we thought what better time to highlight some of our Inclusion Ambassadors at Hockey Victoria.

Our inclusion ambassadors work across different spaces including: All Abilities, Culturally & Linguistically Diverse, First Nations, LGBTIQ+ and Gender Equity.

We had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Louis Janssen (LGBTIQ+ Ambassador), Jaynaya Winmar (First Nations Ambassador) and Keeley O’Reilly (Gender Equity Ambassador), to see what IWD and Inclusion means to them.

Keeley O’Reilly

Keeley was born into a hockey family and has been surrounded by strong and generous women at every club she has been involved in. Her love of hockey began in a playpen on the side of a grass hockey pitch in Gippsland.

Keeley is a committee member for Melbourne University. The club proudly have a 50/50 gender split on our executive committee, a female president, and a female coach for our Women's Vic League Team, with one of the oldest and largest Women's sections in Victoria. Keeley also is an umpire coach at a state and national level. 

As an inclusion ambassador, Keeley supports and mentors the next generation of officials, champion athletes/officials who identify as women and promote hockey as a sport for all people and a place where everyone wins.

What woman inspires you the most?

My sister is one of the most inspirational people in my life. She has always worked hard to achieve her goals in hockey and her career in STEM and fire. She has overcome adversity to be a strong, independent and respected member of the hockey and the fire science community.

What does Inspire Inclusion mean to you?

That everyone regardless of gender identity feels that hockey is a safe and welcoming place where they can be their authentic self.

What does IWD mean to you?

It is a day where we can stop and celebrate the contribution of people who identify as women in our lives and communities. We can look back on how far we have come and the positive changes that have been made. It is also an opportunity to identify the challenges we still face in achieving equality.


Jaynaya Winmar

Jaynaya Winmar, a Noongar/Balladong woman hailing from Quairading in Western Australia's wheatbelt. With a rich history of fostering educational and employment partnerships in Western Australia and Victoria, Jaynaya has honed a keen ability to bridge gaps in engagement for disadvantaged cohorts through insightful strategy and collaboration. 

Jaynaya's commitment to her community and cultural heritage is equally evident in her sporting engagements. Having started playing hockey at the tender age of six and spending a decade with the Latrobe Hockey Club, her passion for the sport has evolved into significant roles including serving as a consultant for Hockey Australia's RAP working group and acting as Hockey Victoria's First Nations Inclusion Ambassador. Additionally, as a passionate club person, Jaynaya created Latrobe University's first Indigenous Round Shirt design and played a pivotal role in the club's first Indigenous Round match last year.

What woman inspires you the most?

The women who inspire me the most are those embodying strength by speaking and living their truths within their lives and communities. It's not just about the individuals but the qualities they represent. These women prove that their roles extend far beyond being the backbone of our clubs and communities; they are at the forefront of key strategic decision-making. Their resilience, integrity, and ability to lead with authenticity inspire me daily, reminding me of the significant impact one can make by simply being true to oneself and proactive in the pursuit of meaningful change.

What does Inspire Inclusion mean to you?

To me, "Inspire Inclusion" means recognizing the injustices that have existed and actively creating spaces where positive change can flourish, irrespective of the context of inclusion. It's about acknowledging where we've fallen short and stepping up to build bridges, fostering environments where everyone has the opportunity to grow and contribute. Inspiring inclusion isn't just about opening doors; it's about ensuring the path is accessible and inviting for all, laying down the groundwork for a more equitable and inclusive future.

What does IWD mean to you?

International Women's Day (IWD) holds great significance for me as it serves as a stark reminder of the persistent gender disparities that continue to exist worldwide. It's a day to honor and amplify the voices of women in our communities who have bravely shared their lived experiences, inspiring and re-empowering others facing similar challenges. IWD is a call to action to continue breaking down gender-related discrepancies, advocating for equality, and creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.


Louis Janssen

Louis Janssen is an 18-year-old nonbinary person. Their parents, with a long history in the hockey community, brought them into the sport when Louis was just 7. Currently Louis plays and coaches at Camberwell HC. After graduating from high school in 2023, Louis began working at Hockey Victoria and Melbourne City FC as a casual coach. Their work as a pride ambassador mainly resides in the organisation of the Stand Out Cup and Pride Round, as well as the partnership with Proud2Play.

What woman inspires you the most?

There are two women who inspire me the most: Michaela Bullock and Kellie Britt. Both extraordinary women have done tremendous work in the inclusion space in sport, from youth advisory committees to all abilities program development. These are the women that brought me into the sports development world, and they will forever inspire me in everything they do.

What does Inspire Inclusion mean to you?

Inspire Inclusion means to motivate and encourage others to be inclusive. It's to pave the way of inclusion for others to follow. It's about inclusion for all, and understanding intersectionality. Being inclusive means being inclusive of everyone. The sporting community needs to be a place that accepts and welcomes everyone.

What does IWD mean to you?

International Women's Day is a day to celebrate women. To celebrate the women in our lives, and to celebrate the giant steps society has taken to be more inclusive and equal. It is also a day of activism and fighting, to join together to fight for equal rights. It's a day for collective activism, and a day to inspire others to be more inclusive in their communities.