Victoria University is committed to advancing women in sport.

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.

Australian Women in Sport Advisory Group

The Australian Women in Sport Advisory Group (AWiSAG), made up of diverse members and organisations to promote cross-sector insights, includes some of Australia's most successful sport and business leaders in the country.

The outcomes from this Advisory Group are expected to create game changing strategies that will increase the pace to advance women in sport throughout Australia.

The Vision of the group is 'No boundaries for women and girls in sport and physical activity'. Industry alignment and collaboration has been gained to lead the way to achieve the aspirations and priorities of the Group. To learn more refer to the media release No boundaries for women & girls in sport.

Susan Alberti AC is a businesswomen, philanthropist, AFL women’s football pioneer and passionate about women in sport.

Susan co-founded and was managing director of a large building company, Chairperson of her own medical research foundation and Ambassador for the National Women’s Football League.

Susan was Director and then Vice-President of the Western Bulldogs Football Club 2004-2014, National President of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia for 23 years. She was also Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International for nine years.

Currently she is Patron of the Prime Ministers’ Sporting Oration.

Mark Anderson has been involved in leading a range of prominent sports. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Collingwood Football Club, was the Chief Executive Officer of Swimming Australia and prior to this time Chief Executive of Hockey Australia.

Mark was a Board Member of Commonwealth Games Australia for ten years and is recognised as a Male Champion for Change in Sport.

He has a passion for leading change and establishing cultures which underpin organisational success, particularly within high performance environments.

In each of the previous roles Mark has had responsibility for leading high performance women’s and men’s athletes and has grown participation for girls and boys at a community sport and pathways level.

Prior to his roles in sport, Mark worked in Executive Marketing and Business Development roles.

Julie Bissinella is Program Director for Male Champions of Change (MCC) Sport and Fire and Emergency and is also Communications Director for MCC.

She has been involved in the MCC strategy since its inception and developed the model which supported its expansion. It has grown from the Founding Group to an expanding coalition of the more than 200 men and women CEOs committed to achieving gender equality and advancing more women into leadership positions.

Other roles include Executive Director, Communication and Brand for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Head of Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability at ANZ, where she also led the bank's diversity and inclusion agenda. 

Julie is a Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program and was member of The Australian Government's National People with Disability and Carers Council.

Professor Clare Hanlon is Victoria University’s Susan Alberti Women in Sport Chair and has spent more than two decades championing women in sport.

Clare is dedicated to breaking down barriers and increasing opportunities for women and girls to participate and lead in sport and physical activity. She does this by conducting industry-based research and translating insights into application.

Clare has co-led national and state policies related to women in sport, created a high-level national women in sport strategy and advised state and territory governments on infrastructure, systems and programs to build the capacity of communities and organisations to encourage women in sport.

Clare is also the Director of Gymnastics Australia and of the Oceanic Gymnastic Union, and a member on the VicHealth Physical Activity Taskforce.

Peter Nash is a Director of Westpac, Mirvac and the Johns Lyng Group.

He is also a Board member of Reconciliation Australia, the Koorie Heritage Trust, Golf Victoria and the Migration Council of Australia.

Peter was formerly a Senior Partner with KPMG and served as the National Chairman from 2011 until 2017 where he was responsible for the overall governance and strategic positioning of KPMG in Australia. In this role, Peter also served as a member of KPMG’s Global and Regional Boards.

He has worked in geographically diverse and complex operating environments providing advice on a range of topics including business strategy, rise management, internal controls, business processes and regulatory change.

Peter has also provided financial and commercial advice to a range of Government businesses at Federal and State level.

Kate Palmer is the CEO of Sport Australia.She is passionate about sport and believes unquestionably in the power of sport and physical activity to reflect the very best in our culture to be a powerful vehicle for change.

Kate is a transformational leader who has steered organisations to excel in delivering on strategic outcomes from high performance and growing community participation through to building capability of sport and international sporting success.

Kate spent 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of Netball Australia, was Chair of the Victorian Institute of Sport, a Trustee of the MCG and CEO of Netball Victoria.

Kate is a member of Chief Executive Women and has an Honours degree in Sport Science and a Masters in Sport Management.

Luke Sayers is the Chief Executive Officer of PwC Australia.

Luke leads a team of more than 700 partners and 8000 staff who are focused on building trust in society and helping businesses solve their most important problems.

Luke is on the Board of the Carlton Football Club and chairs the Melbourne Chapter of the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) as well as not-for-profit organisation e.motion21.

He is a member of Monash University's Industry Council of Advisors (MICA), the Human Rights Commission Leadership Council for Cultural Diversity, and the Victorian Branch of the Male Champions of Change.

In 2019 Luke was awarded a Member of The Order of Australia for significant service to business, to people with a disability, and to the community.

Advisory group members

Top row, left to right: Susan Alberti, Clare Hanlon, Luke Sayers, Julie Bissinella.

Bottom row, left to right: Mark Anderson, Kate Palmer, Peter Nash.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.


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