Smith Paving The Way For Women In Sport

Women have played an important role in the Australian sport industry for generations, however their extensive and influential contribution has only been brought to the forefront following recent growth in our domestic competitions.

While many are becoming increasingly aware of their on-field success, there are also a number of women making great strides in sports administration.

One of these women is Jess Smith.

Jess currently works as the Talent Operations Coordinator at AFL Victoria and has witnessed a momentous shift within the industry first-hand.

“The very first industry conference I attended we had three women in the room and most did not have management positions,” Jess said.

“In just five years we now have a female league CEO along with countless women working in development, managerial and head office roles.”

Jess began her career as a student at La Trobe University where she took on a number of roles outside her degree, a choice which she feels only benefited her future.

“I didn’t just step into my dream job, but I made the most of the opportunities I was given.”

“I got my start at the La Trobe University Football Club and it is fair to say taking that opportunity was the catalyst for my current career,” Jess said.

“It’s such a small industry so making the most out of your placements and networking with those people is such a crucial part of finding success.”

Jess was recently recognised for her dedication and passion to her career by a nomination for the VicSport Sport Administrator of the Year Award, an achievement that left her lost for words.

“I was literally speechless. I don’t do it for the accolades but they are nice to receive when you work really hard and love what you do.”

While Jess believes that there has been positive change for women in the industry, she continues to encourage all to strive toward equality and diversity.

“I would urge women in particular to put themselves forward for jobs. The industry is changing and we know that diversity in our workforce equals better business outcomes.”

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