There is a new duo at the helm of the New Zealand Football Foundation with Jodi Tong stepping up to the role of Chair and Carolyn Steele providing support as Deputy Chair.
Tong takes over from departing Chair Mark Stewart and will work closely with Chief Executive Noel Barkley as the Foundation continues in its goal of providing targeted funding to support the growth of football in New Zealand.
Tong and Steele are both existing members of the New Zealand Football Foundation Board.
“From day one, both Jodi and Carolyn impressed me with their passion for taking the Football Foundation to the next level,” says Barkley. “They both bring a different perspective from outside the game and use their many business skills to oversee the Foundation’s development. They are both fully engaged in our activities and offer tremendous support for me.”
Stewart acted as Chair of the New Zealand Football Foundation over two terms, from 2010 to 2011 and again from 2015 to 2017. He will leave a significant legacy after contributing greatly to the Foundation’s governance and with his parting gesture of a hugely generous $500,000 donation, gifted during New Zealand Football’s 125th anniversary celebrations last November.
The donation was matched by Sir Eion Edgar, who was introduced as the Foundation’s new Honorary Patron that evening and likewise gifted $500,000.
“Stepping into the shoes of Mark Stewart was always going to be a big ask,” Tong says. “Mark has made a phenomenal contribution, both personally and financially, to the game and the Football Foundation wouldn’t be where it is today without him.”
The new Chair is excited by the opportunity to build on Stewart’s work and believes the Foundation is well placed to continue growing the game.
“Our aim is to be an enduring Foundation, so we apply a long lens to our strategic planning,” says Tong. “We have a goal to grow our capital base to $10 million by 2030, as the faster we grow the more we can distribute to the areas of the game that need it most.”
Tong says the Foundation also has a goal to raise its awareness among the football and wider community so it is better positioned for bequeaths or gifts. She is looking forward to working alongside former All White Barkley on the Foundation’s strategic goals.
“Noel is fantastic – he’s our rainmaker that makes things happen and I’m confident we can build on what has been created since our inception in 2010 to grow the Foundation.”
Tong is in her third year on the Football Foundation Board and has previous governance experience to draw upon. Her executive background is in marketing and strategy and she has worked at senior level for a number of large companies in the fast-moving consumer goods and primary industries. She is currently General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Artemis Ltd.
Steele also brings plenty of expertise to the fold and has substantial experience in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and investment management, as well as governance experience on not-for-profit public and private boards.
Both Tong and Steele have first-hand experience of elite sport after representing New Zealand in rowing.
The New Zealand Football Foundation is a registered charity, created to raise funds for the development of football in New Zealand. It was set up with $4 million of funds following the All Whites’ participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and has former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen as its Patron.