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Kathy Parton
CEO of
Aquatics & Recreation Victoria

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“An Example of Commendable Leadership”

Due to Kathy Parton’s strategic and business planning, the company has witnessed increased membership, sponsorship, and profile within Victorian Government and national Industry stakeholders. The CEO of Aquatics & Recreation Victoria has been setting a clear vision and long-term direction for the organization. Kathy has been able to engage with Ministers and senior advisers across multiple government departments to educate and inform regarding the state and challenges of the VIC A&Rec industry and opportunities for investment and partnership.

Since joining Aquatics & Recreation Victoria, Kathy has shown exemplary leadership in a challenging environment for the Victorian Aquatics & Recreation industry. Kathy has been able to engage, collaborate with and unify a diverse group of industry stakeholders to inspire a coordinated approach to tackle the industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Kathy is a strategic thinker capable of seeing the ‘big picture and has created a vision to support achieving the company’s goals and objectives.

The steadfast leader has provided a range of support for those in the industry who plan, build, own, operate or service the Victorian Aquatics and Recreation Industry. This includes establishing tailored networks, professional development opportunities, events, leadership development programs, employment opportunities, promoting and profiling best practices, showcasing recognition of individuals' achievements, and developing and implementing gender equity strategies. “Connecting female business owners, leaders and employees and resourcing them to enable their success is a priority of mine. I have prioritized leading industry initiatives that focus on women to ensure the success of women in this industry,” adds Kathy.

Kath’s leadership approach's foundation is building mutual trust, respect, and confidence within her team and creating a positive work environment where team members can be supported, encouraged, motivated, and challenged to be their best selves and achieve their goals.

Kathy sets the tone with her dedication and commitment to her role as CEO and possesses an unshakeable belief in the impact we, as a team, can have. Kathy has nurtured a strong team dynamic and positive culture in which team members feel supported and trusted to make quick decisions, be themselves, speak up and challenge the status quo. Kathy quickly identifies and offers opportunities to her team to support their continued professional development.

“A career is a journey full of successes and failures. I have celebrated many successes on my journey and look forward to many more. I am continuously learning and evolving; my career has evolved through the many opportunities I have both created and taken along the way,” explains Kathy, discussing achieving success and leading her team towards great heights. “I have always measured my success on the growth I have felt within myself and the outcomes I have enabled and achieved for, and with my teams and the communities I have served and impacted.”

A few key pieces of advice Kathy shares for those who want to make it big in any industry include:

• If opportunities present themselves, take them

• love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking

• Believe in yourself – anything is possible

A key lesson she learned in the CEO role just before the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic into Victoria was to “back herself.” Kathy’s board was absent due to the challenges over this time as their businesses were impacted and required significant attention. Being new to the role and the industry, Kathy needed to trust her instincts based on her knowledge and experience from the past in leading a new industry through one of the most extreme disruptions it has experienced in recent years. The results are immeasurable growth and enhanced market dominance.

One of the most significant achievements of the Aquatics & Recreation Victoria organization was its leadership of the Victorian Aquatics and Recreation Industry throughout the recent COVID-19-affected years. Further growth of their membership and sponsorship and government support, creating improved ongoing ways to monitor the performance of the industry, supporting an Industry workforce creation and support program, increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry, and greater recognition and resourcing by Department Health of the industry’s essential preventative health service role are some of Kathy’s future objectives.

For the days to come, Kathy’s priority is to support and lead the Victorian Aquatics and Recreation Industry as it recovers and rebuilds following the COVID-19 pandemic. “My main concern is to continue to inspire and influence my team and operate my organization with a purpose to advance the strategic objectives of my organization in partnership with the industry.” WL


Aquatics & Recreation Victoria


Kathy Parton
Aquatics & Recreation Victoria


ARV is a Nor for Profit member based peak association providing support, professional development, training, advocacy, research and networking opportunities to those who plan, build, own, operate or service aquatic and recreation facilities across Victoria.

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