Event Partners

Sarah Kenny (AUS)

Name: Sarah Kenny
Year of Birth: 1964
Nationality: Australian
Residence: Australia
First language: English
Other languages:

Click here for Sarah Kenny's manifesto document

Click here to view Sarah Kenny's promotional video message.

Candidates Goals

World Sailing and its key stakeholders must work together better to achieve long term stability and success for Sailing. We must identify clearly what is and is not appropriate for World Sailing to invest in, prioritise World Sailing's limited resources to the most appropriate projects and better utilise the experience and capacity of MNA's, Continental Associations, Classes and Clubs.

There are 3 areas of focus critical to the long term stability and success of Sailing:

1. Growth and development of Sailing worldwide

2. Best practice governance and financial management

3. Strong and successful Olympic and elite sailing

1. Growth and Development of Sailing is the Priority

To grow and develop Sailing worldwide, key priorities include:

  • Identify meaningful ways to grow sailing particularly in new and emerging nations recognising that a different solution may be needed in different parts of the world
  • Adopt a rigorous process to ensure maximum value will be received from every dollar and hour of time invested in growth and development initiatives and be accountable to regularly test this.
  • Prioritise sharing of information, tools and best practice solutions to the challenges that are the same all around the world
  • Balance the need to respect sailing traditions whilst growing interest and participation in the sport at all levels including youth, non-sailing audiences, Olympic and non-Olympic classes
  • Grow female participation and retention across the sport - always ask how we can make sailing roles and opportunities equal and accessible?
  • Retention and engagement strategy for 16 to 25 age group sailors
  • Reinstate sailing as a Paralympic sport

2. Governance and Financial Reform is Needed

Best practice governance and financial management is particularly important for Sailing because it is a complex sport with limited resources and sources of funding. I will bring to the World Sailing board my experience in these areas as a public company director and experienced corporate lawyer.

  • With the ongoing support of many expert volunteers, we need to ensure the organisational and technical governance of the sport reflects best practice, is efficient and user-friendly. Governance changes are needed to facilitate better discussion and decision making and the more efficient use of resources, including the people that so many MNA's volunteer to World Sailing. The vast majority of MNA's acknowledge that governance reform is needed. The longer this reform is delayed the more difficult it will be to achieve the key goals for our sport.
  • Improved financial management requires the regular provision of a consistent set of appropriate financial information to give transparency to Council, MNA's and other stakeholders on the true financial position and performance of World Sailing. These governance and financial management reforms are critical for World Sailing to be the strong, efficient and agile global organisation that an International Federation must be today.

Olympic and Elite sailing

Sailing must remain a strong Olympic and elite sport. We must have sailing heroes and role models to ensure growth and value. The event calendar must work for the sailors and we must constantly review how to cut cost and increase sustainability at the top end of the sport. As a member of the Events Committee of World Sailing for the last 8 years and as the Chair for the last 4 years, I will bring an in depth knowledge of critical Olympic sailing matters to the World Sailing Board. I have reviewed extensively what is required to be a strong Olympic sport and I understand the many challenges we face in the way we determine Olympic events, equipment, quotas, qualification and formats to ensure the best decisions are made for both current and future generations of sailors.

Universality in Olympic sailing and increasing nation participation in elite sailing events should be a priority. We must find innovative ways to:

  • support new countries to compete in Olympic qualification
  • help countries regularly participating in Olympic qualification to succeed in qualifying for an event at the Olympic Games
  • target appropriate growth opportunities for countries competing in only one or two Olympic events
  • grow the number of countries competing in other elite sailing events

Sailing Career

Dinghy sailing from 9 years old in a range of classes. Racing a standard rig Laser before transferring to windsurfing after completing high school. Shortly after transferring to windsurfing, opportunity to compete for a brief period at international windsurfing events whilst at University.

Windsurfer demonstration event 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games - 7th (marathon, slalom and freestyle)

University World Champion1984 - Boardsailing

Windsurfer Class Western Hemisphere Championship 1984 - Pentathlon Champion (course racing, slalom, marathon and freestyle)

Windsurfer Class World Championship 1985 - 4th Pentathlon (course racing, slalom, marathon and freestyle)

The University of Sydney Sporstwoman of the Year 1984 (across all sports)

Windsurfer Class World Championship 1995 - Freestyle World Champion and 2nd Pentathlon (course racing, slalom, marathon and freestyle)

Sailing Administration

Australian Sailing roles at various times during the period 2008 - 2019


Vice President

Olympic Sailing team selection Panel member 2008 to 2020

High Performance Advisory Group member

Nomination and Remuneration Committee member

Since reaching the end of the maximum permitted term on the Australian Sailing Board in 2019, continuing role for Australian Sailing is as a member of Australia's Olympic Sailing team selection Panel for outstanding Tokyo Olympic selections.

Other Sailing

Active engagement with participation programs and events, youth pathways and classes from learn to sail and club sailing to World Championships as a parent with sons sailing over the last 10 years in various one-design dinghy classes, one of whom now competes in the 49er Class.

Member Windsurfer Class Australia

Member Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney

Member Balmoral Sailing Club, Sydney

Roles within World Sailing

Council Member Group L World Sailing 2016-2020

Chair Events Committee 2016-2020 and member 2012-2016

Chair or member of numerous working parties

Member evaluation panel sea trials for Olympic windsurf equipment in 2019

Past member of Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Committee, Youth and Development Committee 2008-2012

Women's Forum member since 2008 and Vice- Chair 2012- 2016

Engagement with Group L and Oceania sailing nations in context of various World Sailing roles


Legal and Board Experience

Corporate lawyer, 20 year Partner and now Consultant at International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

2020 Best Lawyers (Australia) recognition in multiple areas of law including Corporate Governance, Media, IT, Outsourcing, Telecommunications, Privacy and Data Security, Entertainment (Best Lawyer in Australia) and Sport

Extensive work in sport in addition to corporate matters in legal career. Sports work includes negotiating venue and commercial rights agreements for the Sydney Olympic Stadium, sponsorship, broadcast, ticketing and other arrangements for Sydney Olympic Games. Adviser to various clients in the sports and entertainment industry including sporting federations and organisations, private team owners, sports managers, event promoters, sponsors and sports venue owners.

In addition to not for profit board roles, Non-Executive Director of Australian Stock Exchange listed telecommunications company Tuas Limited and past director of property group Propertylink.

Audit and Risk Committee and Nomination and Remuneration Committee experience

Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors

Nominating MNAs

Antigua & Barbuda Sailing Association, Australian Sailing, Bahamas Sailing Association, Barbados Sailing Association, Bermuda Sailing Association, Cambodian Sailing Federation, Chinese Yachting Association, Cuban Sailing Federation, Danish Sailing Association, Federacione Argentina de Yachting, Fédération Tahitienne de Voile, Federacion Dominicana de Vela, Fédération Française de Voile, Federacion Mexicana de Vela, Federación Peruana de Vela, Federacion de Vela de Puerto Rico, Fiji Yachting Association, Irish Sailing Association, Jamaica Yachting Association, Malaysian Sailing Association, Pago Pago Yacht Club Inc, Philippine Sailing Association, Polish Yachting Association, Real Federación Española de Vela, Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club, Royal Yachting Association, Sail Canada, Sailing Cook Islands, Sailing PNG Inc., Singapore Sailing Association, Solomon Islands Sailing Association, South African Sailing, Swedish Sailing Federation, Trinidad and Tobago Yachting Association, UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation, US Sailing, Virgin Islands Sailing Association, Yachting New Zealand

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