Victoria University is committed to creating no boundaries for women and girls in sport and physical activity.

Find out about our work aimed to advance women and girls in sport and physical activity based on four objectives to impact change:

  • strengthen industry alignment and collaboration
  • create research insights and translation
  • provide innovative curriculum to strengthen career pathways
  • advance workforce development.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals logo

Victoria University supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

VU Women in Sport ambassadors

Eight former elite athletes, current entrepreneurs, and leaders in the world of sport business are our Women in Sport ambassadors. They will use their social media platforms to champion the cause of women in sport and promote ground-breaking research, innovative and career development at Victoria University.

Each of our inaugural ambassadors have a strong connection to VU (most are proud VU graduates) and excel in their sporting and/or business fields.

Bianca Chatfield.

Bianca Chatfield: Coach, sports media, leadership consultant, director, author

Bianca is Head Coach of Victoria University Netball Academy, works in sports media and as a leadership consultant.

She was selected for the Australian netball team as an 18-year-old, one of the youngest ever netballers to play for her country.

Bianca is a Commonwealth Games Gold and Silver Medallist and World Champion. She also played over 240 games for the Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Vixens, captaining the latter for several years and winning six premierships.

Bianca is currently a director on the Ready Foundation board and the MCG Trust, runs her own business and is co-author of Every Girl Needs a Plan, (2017).

“I’m forever grateful for every lesson elite sport has taught me, personally and professionally. I’m passionate about giving back to the next generation, sharing my experiences and encouraging girls to believe in themselves.”

Connect with @biancachatfield on Twitter.

Carol Fox

Carol Fox: President, executive coach, conference speaker, facilitator, author

Carol is President, Women’s Sport Australia and Chair, Football Victoria (soccer) Standing Committee review of Competition for Women and Girls. She is an Executive Coach, Conference Speaker and Facilitator in the Personal and Professional Development Industry.

Carol graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education) and Master of Arts, and was recipient of the Spirit of VU Award 2018 Alumni Award.

Carol collaborates with all levels of sport, Government, Not for Profit and Corporate Clients, and teaches concepts from her book –Confident Communication for Leaders. She was Victoria’s first female Surf Lifesaving Professional Lifeguard. Her Master’s thesis: Women’s Perceived Barriers to Elite Coaching Positions in Australian Sport was used by the Australian Sports Commission when determining policies for women in sport in the 1990’s.

“I am passionate about women leaders in sport because we must be given the same opportunities as men to be able to contribute our unique perspective and talents to the job for the good of the game.”

Connect with Carol on LinkedIn.

Andrew Gaze, AM

Andrew Gaze: Coach, past professional athlete

Andrew graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education).

Andrew is an Australian former professional basketball player and head coach of the Sydney Kings, of the National Basketball League.

He led the Australian national team to five Summer Olympic Games.

Andrew was inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also VU Sport Hall of Fame inductee – 2002

Connect with @AndrewGaze10 on Twitter.

Melanie (Mel) Jones, OAM.

Melanie (Mel) Jones OAM: Cricket commentator and presenter, professional speaker, advocate

Mel graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor Applied Science (Human Movement) and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education.

A cricket commentator and presenter, professional speaker, MC and women's sport advocate, Mel represented Australia in cricket winning two Ashes series and two World Cups.

Mel was on the Victorian Government Inquiry to Women and Girls in Sport that resulted in a 40% mandate for women on Boards and lead to the introduction of the Office for Women in Sport.

Mel was inducted into the 2017 Victoria Women’s Honour Roll and then in 2018 was awarded The Order of Australia in recognition of her contribution to sport and the community. In 2018 she was also awarded a Companion of the University.

Mel’s passion is equity and inclusion in sport.

"When we give girls and women the support to be a participant, athlete, administrator, coach, leaders they and sport as a whole will find their full potential”.

Connect with @meljones_33 on Twitter.

Oliver Percovich

Oliver Percovich: Founder & Executive Director, Skateistan

Oliver graduated from Victoria University with an Honours Degree in Chemical Sciences (Environmental Science) and is a 2018 Alumni Award Recipient.

He established the first international development initiative to combine skateboarding with educational outcomes. This award-winning, international NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) – Skateistan, has Skate Schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa, reaching thousands of children. The mission is to empower children through skateboarding and education, including at least 50% girls.

Oliver serves on the Board of Directors of the Tony Hawk Foundation and advises numerous other Sport for Development projects, especially those using skateboarding for social change.

“I support women leaders in sport because I believe strong female role models in male dominated sports are dangerous to entrenched power and privilege.”

Connect with @OliverPercovich on Twitter.

Andrew Poole.

Andrew Poole: Senior Sales Director - Nike Sportswear

Andrew graduated from Victoria University with Bachelor of Arts (Recreation).

Andrew has spent the past 15 years working for Nike in a range of sales and marketplace leadership roles across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the United States. His last role in Australia was as the Managing Director for Nike Pacific (Australia/New Zealand) from 2013 through 2016.

Currently based at Nike’s World Headquarters, Andrew is responsible for the sales function of the Nike Sportswear business across North America. Prior to Nike, Andrew spent nine years with Unilever, a multinational FMCG company, and two years with BHP Billiton leading a wholesale branded diamond business.

“Encouraging young women to pursue their sporting interests, to push their comfort levels, embrace pushing their personal limits and developing a competitive spirit, creates personal resilience. These attributes will serve any young woman well, inside and outside of their chosen sport.”

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.

Kate Price.

Kate Price: National Manager, Commercial, with law firm Hall & Wilcox

Kate won the Student of the Year award when she graduated from Victoria University with a Master of Sport Business. Kate has also lectured in the VU Master of Sport Business and Integrity program.

Kate is the National Manager, Commercial, with law firm Hall & Wilcox. Prior to this, she held a senior role at the Australian Football League (AFL) where she managed key events including the Charles Brownlow Medal and Dreamtime at the G, and was also appointed in a role responsible for managing the AFL’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

Kate has also held senior roles at Cricket Australia, Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust, Hawthorn Football Club, Melbourne Stadiums Limited (Marvel Stadium) and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

“I am passionate about women and girls as leaders in sport as ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ - many share this passion for sport and it is necessary to keep the discussion in the public arena, shift preconceptions and ensure meaningful pathways are created on and off the field”.

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell: CEO, Swimming Australia

Leigh graduated from Victoria University with a Graduate Certificate in Career Counselling for Elite Performers.

In 2019 Leigh was recognised as one of the most influential women in Australian sport. She is the CEO of Swimming Australia, and Special Advisor to the Champions of Change, Sport. She was the first woman to hold a senior executive position within an AFL Club and the youngest CEO appointed in Netball Victoria’s history.

Leigh also served as Chair of Tennis Victoria’s Nominations Committee, Chair of Cricket Australia’s Player Welfare Committee, Director of the State Sport Centres Trust and AFL SportsReady, and former Chair of Women’s Health West.'

She has authored Game On and Every Girl Needs a Plan with fellow VU Women in Sport Ambassador Bianca Chatfield.

In addition to her VU qualification, Leigh holds a BA, Grad Dip Education, Grad Dip Social Science, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business.

“Sport has influence and impact on communities and individuals. As a young woman, sport was a ‘game changer’ for me, and I’m passionate about women and girls having as much opportunity to flourish through sport in as many ways as possible, so they too can reap the rewards of what sport offers”.

Connect with @leighmrussell on Twitter.

VU Women in Sport ambassadors

Top row, left to right: Carol Fox, Kate Price, Andrew Gaze, Melanie Jones

Bottom row, left to right: Bianca Chatfield, Andrew Poole, Leigh Russell, Oliver Percovich.

Courses & careers for women in sport

Career, development & employability testimonials

Natasha, Bachelor of Sport Management graduate:

“Placements and volunteering not only give you the chance to participate in multiple tasks, but the hands-on training and feedback will enable you to apply for jobs with an air of confidence in the future.”

Katrina, Bachelor of Sport Science (Human Movement)/ Bachelor of Sport Management graduate:

“A placement is an opportunity! You won’t only gain valuable experiences in the field but also have the chance to make contacts within the industry.“

 

100% outcome

All completed placements had outcomes from references through to gaining employment with their placement host.

16,655

placement hours

Placements were undertaken in all areas of metro Melbourne (not just in the West).

Top placement hosts

Western Bulldogs, Netball Victoria,Williamstown Seagulls, Maribyrnong Sports Academy.

Sport strategy & commitment

Victoria University plays a critical role in providing industry-based research nationally and internationally.

One of the seven priority areas in the VU Sport Strategy is Women in Sport.

Download VU's Sport Strategy