Board of Directors
As a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee Women Onside has a board of directors elected by the membership and complemented by additional directors appointed by the board.
Seven of our directors are elected and one has been appointed. They represent a strongly diverse array of football contributors, all united in their commitment to women's football and women in football.
Read more about them below.
Kerry Harris is a CPA Fellow and a highly experienced sports administrator as well as former football player. She has held professional roles in football, AFL and gymnastics as well as working for the 2007 World Swimming Championships and the Australian Sports Commission. She runs her own consulting business with clients in sport and the not-for-profit sector.
Kerry has also held a range of governance roles in football, including s a recent membership of Football Federation Australia’s Finance, Audit and Risk Standing Committee and prior roles as a Director and Treasurer of the former Women’s Soccer Australia.
Kerry has had over thirty five years in women’s football across three states from grassroots to international level, including tour leader roles for the Matildas and at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games as the liaison manager with the USA team.
Additionally she is a Volunteering Australia Board Director and CPA Australia Victorian Divisional Councillor.
Kerry was elected to the Board and as Chair in November 2021.
Kieran Pender is a lawyer, writer and academic.
He is a long-time contributor to The Guardian and has covered events including the Olympics, the Men's and Women's World Cup and the Tour de France. He won Sport Australia's Sports Media Award for 'Best Coverage of a Community Sport Issue' in 2020 and was a finalist in the Walkey Mid-Year Awards in 2021.
Kieran is also a senior lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre, an honorary lecturer at the Australian National University College of Law and a consultant at Bradley Allen Love Lawyers. His expertise includes free speech, whistleblower protection, secrecy and employment law. Kieran is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and formerly led the work of the International Bar Association to address inappropriate behaviour within legal workplaces.
Kieran was formerly a director of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA), the global body for non-FIFA football. More recently he has co-founded an international football charity, Football Rising, working to support girls' and women's football in marginalised communities across the globe.
Kieran was appointed as director in July 2021 and reappointed in November 2021.
Cheryl Downes - Deputy Chair
Cheryl Downes is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond90.com.au, a digital news platform which chronicles and promotes insightful, inclusive and respectful conversation about women’s football.
Previously, Cheryl was the Editor-in-Chief of The Women’s Game (TWG), where she managed a volunteer team of more than 30 contributors from around the world. Cheryl led TWG to being named as a finalist for the Sport Australia Media Awards.
Since leaving The Women’s Game to set up Beyond 90, Cheryl has continued to set standards in women’s football media coverage. Under Cheryl’s leadership, Beyond 90 has emerged as the leading source for women’s football news in Australia, with the added bonus of nurturing young writing talent.
Professionally Cheryl is enmeshed in the world of IT, working as the Head of Quality (APAC) for a company that provides client services nationally and internationally, especially in the government sector.
Tania was appointed to the Board in November 2021who brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the team.
Tania is a passionate player and coaches at a community level, focusing on working with Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women and girls in the Melbourne area. Her mission is to help them adapt to their new communities through football – as she did as a migrant from El Salvador.
Tania utilises her bachelor’s degree in business and master’s degree in commerce (major in marketing) from the University of Adelaide, working as a Senior Consultant in Program Advisory at Aurecon. She is also an experienced project manager having worked on AID programs in developing countries and managing engineering design projects.
Tania brings an amalgamated skillset acquired over 20+ years working for international corporations in aviation, retail and engineering consulting firms in Australia and Central America to Women Onside. Tania’s extensive international experience brings corporate, governance and commercial knowledge and perspective to Women Onside.
Tania believes that football is a life changing sport and one of the most inclusive, that every woman and girl deserves to have access to. Her dream is to contribute to growing women’s participation and witness Women in Football Everywhere alongside our board members.
Fatima Flores brings a lively disposition and a passion for football to the Women Onside Board of Directors. Originally a player and also a coach in various Brisbane football clubs and rep teams, Fatima has also forged a leading role in active fan support for both Brisbane Roar through the Roar Corps and for the Matildas where she is one of the members and game day leader of the Matildas Active Support Group that toured France in 2019 for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Professionally Fatima has worked in the Queensland education system as a high school physical education and health teacher, is currently studying for an MBA in Sport Management and has launched a player agency business – Level Playing Field Sports Agency – focusing on elite women athletes and coaches in the various football codes and Olympic sports.
Fatima was elected to the Board in 2019 and re-elected in 2021.
Heather Reid AM
Heather is a pioneer, mentor, author and internationally recognised leader in the world game. She started her involvement in football as a player and volunteer in 1978 and held various positions at club, state and national level through to 2004 when she was employed as CEO of ACT Football Federation (now Capital Football). As the CEO for 12 years she also managed Canberra United FC for nine W-League seasons, oversaw the growth of the Kanga Cup international football tournament.
She was a member of the Local Organising Committee for the 2015 men’s Asian Cup, a FIFA mentor and instructor on the FIFA women’s leadership program and a director of Football Australia. Heather also worked as a management and event consultant, mainly with WomenSport Australia and the Australian Sports Commission, as well as a lecturer in sport management at the University of Canberra.
In 2017 Heather received an Honorary Doctorate from the University for her distinguished service to sport administration and football and her advocacy for gender equity. Heather is a Life Member of Capital Football, is an inductee in Football Australia’s Hall of Fame and has a plaque on the ACT Honour Walk. Heather was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015 for her service to football. In 2021 she was honoured by Football Australia through her inclusion in the 100 Years of Women's Football mural in Queensland.
Heather was elected to the Board in April 2021.
Asma Mirzae’s love of football started upon her arrival to Australia. Her introduction to the game occurred through a community-led football program, aimed at reducing social barriers for newly arrived refugees and migrants. Ever since, Asma has strongly believed in the power of football as a key driver for social change. Through her own lived experiences, Asma has co-designed and led numerous projects that use football as a tool to build and mobilise communities as well as challenge issues of gender inequality.
Asma is an active member of the community, seeking opportunities to increase women's participation in sport including football.
Professionally, Asma continues her social impact work through providing policy advice to government on prevalent issues affecting our community. Asma was elected to the Board in 2021.
Maria Berry is a long-time participant in football as a player, coach, administrator and fan since beginning as a player in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in 1979. She was the foundation Chair of Women Onside from 2019 to 2021 when she stepped aside for new Chair Kerry Harris and remains on the Board.
In her professional role, Maria has worked at a wide range of organisations in the government sector and as a management consultant for a leading international firm. Maria has also worked professionally in sports administration in football, gymnastics and Ultimate (frisbee) as well as holding a diversity of volunteer roles.
She has been the Chair of Football Victoria’s Women’s Standing Committee and was previously a Director of the former Victorian Soccer Federation, Victorian Women’s Soccer Association and Women’s Soccer Australia. Maria was Team Manager and Head of Delegation for several Matildas and Young Matildas overseas tours and had the highlight experience of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games as the liaison manager for the gold medal winning Norway women’s football team.
Maria has coached women and girls football teams for over 20 years at several community clubs and is a Life Member at Melbourne University Soccer Club.
Her work in football was recognised by the Victorian government in 2020 when she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women as a Change Agent. In 2021 she was honoured by Football Australia through her inclusion in the 100 Years of Women's Football mural in Queensland.