Kirstie Fitzgerald receives her award from AFL Commissioner, Major General Simone Wilkie AO. Picture: AFL Photos

The AFL is pleased to announce AFL Publicist, Kirstie Fitzgerald and Richmond Football Club People & Culture Manager, Kathryn Stevenson as joint recipients of the 2023 Jill Lindsay Scholarship at the AFL Women’s Industry Summit held on Tuesday 5 December.

The annual Summit, which was attended by women from across the AFL industry featured keynote speakers including The Honourable Julie Bishop, AFLW champion Erin Phillips, AFL Commissioner, Major General Simone Wilkie AO, North Melbourne Football Club CEO, Jennifer Watt, AFL CEO, Andrew Dillon, Executive General Manager Football, Laura Kane, Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial Kylie Rogers, Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch, AFL Executive General Manager People, Sarah Fair and more.

The Jill Lindsay Scholarship was established in 2011 to support the further development and career aspirations of talented women who are regarded as rising stars within the AFL industry.
AFL Commissioner, Major General Simone Wilkie AO presented this year’s scholarship to Kirstie Fitzgerald and Kathryn Stevenson, congratulating them on receiving the prestigious award.

Executive General Manager People, Sarah Fair said having joint recipients this year is a reflection of the strength of applications and female talent in the industry as a whole in 2023.

“On behalf of the AFL, I congratulate Kirstie and Kathryn on being the deserving joint recipients of the 2023 Jill Lindsay Scholarship,” she said.

“Kirstie has been involved in Australian Football for more than a decade and has a strong passion for communications and the game at all levels. She began her career as a Media Manager at the Western Region Football League and has progressed to be an integral member of the AFL Corporate Affairs team.

“Kathryn, an Organisational Psychologist, has had an impressive seven-year tenure at the Richmond Football Club where she has made significant contributions to the team on her rise from coordinator to her current role as People & Culture Manager. As an organisational psychologist, Kathryn’s focus is optimising peak performance by integrating psychological principles into the administrative side of sport.

Kathryn Stevenson receives her award from AFL Commissioner, Major General Simone Wilkie AO

“Both Kirstie and Kathryn are highly talented leaders within their fields and have the potential to progress to the highest levels within the AFL Industry. We are thrilled they have both identified clear goals to progress within the AFL industry and look forward to the exciting journey ahead.
“Each year, we receive an overwhelming number of outstanding applications from women across the AFL industry. The AFL Executive team had the privileged and difficult task of selecting a winner.
“There are many talented women across the AFL and the 18 Clubs, and we remain absolutely committed to strengthening pathways and development opportunities to advance their careers in the industry. We're proud to invest in the future of these women.”

Kirstie said she was honoured to receive the award in the name of Jill Lindsay and thanked those around her who have supported her professional career.
“I am very honoured and grateful to the AFL for making such a significant investment in my career and the careers of other women in our industry, including Kathyrn.
“I’ve been involved in football administration for more than 10 years now, from grassroots right through to the elite level and I have seen firsthand the incredible impact that investments like this can have on women at all levels of the game," she said.  

Similar to Kirstie, Kathryn thanked those that have made her professional journey what it is today.

“I am driven by an acute ambition to help make the world of work engaging, positive and meaningful and have enjoyed every minute of my time at the Richmond Football Club.

“It is such a privilege to receive a scholarship in the name of Jill Lindsay. I believe that sport has immense power as a vehicle to create change and am excited for what the future brings,” she said.

Kirstie and Kathryn will each receive 12 months executive coaching and $20,000 to further their education and career development.

Jill Lindsay

Jill Lindsay served the AFL for 41 years in various roles including VFL Park match day manager and VFL membership manager before being appointed Grounds Operations Manager in 1991. On February 7, 2011, Jill passed away after losing her battle with cancer.

In recognition of her outstanding service to the AFL, the AFL Executive and Commission created the annual Jill Lindsay Scholarship to be awarded to aspiring female administrators in the AFL industry.

As part of our ongoing commitment to gender equity and creating a truly inclusive AFL, the Jill Lindsay Scholarship supports the development and career progression of talented women within our industry.

Previous Jill Lindsay Scholarship winners:

2022      Caitlin Brady                            Adelaide Football Club
2021      Rosie Butler                             National Partnerships Manager         
2019      Trish Squires                            Head of AFL Queensland
2018      Jessica Tedge                           AFL House Licensing Category Manager
2017      Maddy Collier                           AFL NSW/ACT Female Ambassador
2016      Chelsea Randall                        Swan Districts Football Cub
2015      Emily Wastle-Hopkins                AFL Queensland
2014      Emily Buysen                            North Melbourne Football Club
2013      Lauren Byrnes                           AFL SportsReady
2012      Hayley Robinson                        AFL Umpires Association
2011      Nicole Rowlings                         Carlton Football Club