Former basketball star Sally Phillips celebrates her one-year anniversary as an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Share a Yarn (SaY) ambassador, and her dedication to making a positive impact has only grown stronger. Inspired by the words of an Indigenous friend, Phillips transitioned from being an ally to becoming an accomplice, someone who takes action. This motivated her to join the SaY program as an ambassador, connecting with First Nations mentors to gain a deeper understanding of their culture and become an advocate within her own sporting communities.
Since taking on the role, Phillips has fully immersed herself in First Nations engagements, including a memorable trip to Darwin last year. Collaborating with Athletics Australia, she supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students in elevating their athletic and academic aspirations.
“I had the privilege to travel to Darwin last year where I worked with Athletics Australia to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students with elevating their athletic and academic aspirations”, said Phillips.
Prior to her ambassadorship, Phillips served as the General Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Indigenous Basketball Australia, where she worked on creating opportunities for Indigenous youth to participate in sports. Now, Phillips is determined to build on her progress and dreams of delivering better outcomes for First Nations people in basketball. Her Share a Yarn project aims to bridge the gap and spark meaningful conversations that will defy the odds for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals in the sport.
“My Share a Yarn project aims to bridge the gap by creating opportunities for collaboration - breaking the barriers down together by sparking meaningful conversations that will lead Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people to defying the odds in basketball”, said Phillips.
Recognizing the significance of 'yarning' in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as a conversational process for passing on cultural knowledge, Phillips emphasizes the importance of providing safe places for people to listen and learn. By fostering more conversations across the country, she believes that better outcomes can be achieved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Phillips looks forward to the future with excitement, acknowledging that her most significant achievements are yet to come. While her athletic accomplishments have been memorable, she finds greater fulfillment in making a difference in the lives of others, prioritizing meaningful contributions over medals and trophies.
“I was blessed to have lived through so many amazing experiences throughout my athlete life all because I could hoop”, said Phillips.
“Never would I have imagined that 20+ years later post-retirement I would continue to be provided with opportunities that would not only change my life but have real and significant meaning because I was changing someone else’s."
“All the medals and trophies pale into insignificance now – making a difference is where it’s at.”
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Photo Courtesy Australian Sports Commission
Courtesy Australian Sports Commission