Successful recipients announced - Professional Development Scholarships Program

Seventy recipients will undertake a range of professional development and training through the 2023-24 Change Our Game Professional Development Scholarships Program.

The Change Our Game Professional Development Scholarships Program supports women accessing professional development opportunities to develop and strengthen the specialist skills needed for their roles in the sport and active recreation sector. It helps place them in the best position to obtain and thrive in leadership roles.

Director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Sarah Styles, said, "The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation congratulates this year’s program recipients and looks forward to seeing the impact of these opportunities on more women securing leadership roles across the sector.”

This year’s program recipients represent a wide range of sports and organisations, including lacrosse, lifesaving, basketball, cricket, sport climbing and disability sports, among many others.

Four streams of development opportunities to support women at every stage of their career were offered as part of this year’s program, from early careers through to aspiring and current executives and directors, including grants to complete professional development courses, access to leading career coaches to support aspiring executives develop their career pathway and skills, and access to a leading sports governance course.

Sophie Byrnes, Metropolitan Development Coordinator for Football Victoria, will undertake a New Leader Development Course to gain skills and insights into effective leadership as part of the program’s Learning stream.

Sophie said "I am extremely grateful for this opportunity provided by the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation. I have been privileged to know so many amazing women to look up to, not only through my studies, but also my career. My passion has always been to help women and girls experience an inclusive and supportive sporting environment. I am humbled I now get the opportunity to extend my own professional development and in turn, continue working towards gender equality in sport."

A full list of successful applicants is below:

Learning Stream


Candidate Organisation

Abby Freney

Golf Australia

Aylish Frusher

Richmond Football Club

Bronya Kondzior

Tennis Victoria

Chloe Quarmby

St Kilda Football Club

Danielle Levin

Maccabi Victoria Inc

Joanne Ritson

ACHPER Victoria

Katherine Gourley

Basketball Victoria Inc

Megan Lester

Hawthorn Football Club

Rita Mankowska

Professional Footballers Australia

Ruth Clare

Maccabi Victoria Inc

Sophie Byrnes

Football Victoria Inc.

Executive Stream


Candidate Organisation

Airlie Tudhope

Richmond Football Club

Alexandra Ash

Gymnastics Australia

Amy Hill

YMCA Victoria

Angela Collins

Professional Footballers Australia

Annie Kearney

Netball Australia

Caitlin Honey

Skate Australia

Clare Walker

Badminton Australia Inc

Claudia Haeger

Tennis Victoria

Hayley O'Callaghan

Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union

Kate Simpson

Life Saving Victoria Limited

Karen Ferguson

GippSport Inc.

Meaghan Densley

Australian Sailing Limited

Meghan Mayman

Regional Sport Victoria

Peta Searle

Essendon Football Club

Sally McNeilly

Hawthorn Football Club


Next Generation Leaders Stream



Becki McWhinnie

City of Port Phillip Council

Becky Cooke

Cricket Victoria

Carien Hesselberg

YMCA Victoria

Eliza Harvey

Equestrian Victoria

Jacqui Ward

Cricket Australia

Jessie Mulholland

Melbourne Football Club

Katrina Stopinski

Cricket Victoria

Katy Dawson

Netball Australia

Lydia Badoer

Collingwood Football Club

Melanie Pratt

Cardinia Shire Council

Melissa Gmeiner

Hockey Australia

Monica Priyanka-


Cricket Australia

Monique FitzGerald

ACHPER Victoria

Rebecca Murray

Netball Australia

Rebekah Linsell

Richmond Football Club

Samantha Smith

Richmond Football Club

Sheryl Ng

Cricket Australia

Stacey Oates

North Melbourne Football Club

Taylah Perry

Victorian Athletic League

Teal Gove

Cricket Australia


Governance Stream



Abbie Brice

Lacrosse Australia

Allison Dodd

Keilor Basketball Association

Amy Silver


April Wilson

Nillumbik Shire Council

Carissa Harris

Regional Sport Victoria

Claire Davis

13th Beach Surf Lifesaving Club


Donna Stelling

Women's Sports Alliance

Ella McConnell

Mornington Peninsula

Junior Football League

Fiona Walker

Janine Briggs

Tennis Victoria board

Aberfeldie Jets Basketball Club

Jasmina Stanic

City of Melbourne

Jo Hansen

City of Melbourne

Karen Bell

Moonee Valley Football Club

Karen Powell

Kaz Rothwell

Sport Climbing Victoria

Bowls Victoria Board

Kira Ryan

Hamilton Basketball Association

Kristin Rutherford

Disability Sport and Recreation

Marina Krasic

Layer 2 Intelligence

Marissa Cofield

Ballarat Gold Swimming Club

Mary Patrickson

Warragul and District

Amateur Basketball Association


Patrice Berthold

Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games

Prateeti Sabhlok

Artistic Swimming Australia

Rana Hussain

Good Human.

Sarah Austin

Lacrosse Victoria



Thursday 12 October, 2023

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