WESTERN Bulldogs' chief operating officer Sue Clark has been awarded the 2021 Graeme Samuel Scholarship.
Awarded to a senior manager within the football industry who is working in the areas of business or administration, the Graeme Samuel Scholarship provides the recipient with $20,000 to be put towards a study course to further their career development.
Sue's experience in AFL Administration spans more than 12 years, having worked at the Geelong Cats as the club's chief financial officer before joining the Western Bulldogs in 2018.
Since arriving at the Western Bulldogs, Sue has driven the masterplan and redevelopment for Whitten Oval, successfully negotiated and facilitated the sale of the club's two gaming venues to exit the club from all gaming activities and implemented a new fundraising and philanthropy strategy for the club.
Sue continues to play a pivotal role in guiding the Western Bulldogs through the ongoing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the club remained profitable this year.
AFL Executive General Manager of People Sarah Fair congratulated Sue on receiving the prestigious scholarship.
"On behalf of the AFL, I congratulate Sue on being the well-deserved recipient of the 2021 Graeme Samuel Scholarship," Fair said.
"Sue has long been a highly regarded leader in the AFL industry and her commitment to excellence has seen her consistently deliver first class results across the course of her career.
"A calm and considered leader, Sue has become a go-to person for many in the industry seeking advice and counsel."
Sue was a member of the AFL Gen W Leadership Program in 2019 and has previously been a member of the AFL Female Leaders Program and the AFL Future CEO Program.
Sue said she was honoured to receive the award in the name of Graeme Samuel and thanked those around her who have supported her during her career.
"It is both a privilege and honour to be awarded the 2021 Graeme Samuel Scholarship," Ms. Clark said.
"I am extremely grateful to the AFL for providing this opportunity to further my professional development, which will also be of great benefit to the Western Bulldogs Football Club. I also thank everyone at the Dogs, my team, and the leaders I've had throughout my career who have supported me on my journey to date.
"I pride myself on being a strong leader for the Western Bulldogs Football Club and the broader AFL industry and have a strong ambition to continue to work, lead and inspire others in our industry."
Graeme Samuel was one of the original AFL Commissioners when it was formed in 1984. He resigned from the Commission 2003 to take up the position of Chairman of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission. Over two decades, Mr Samuel played an invaluable role in the strategic direction of the AFL competition and Australian Football more broadly.
The scholarship has been awarded by the AFL Commission since 2004 in recognition of Graeme Samuel's contribution to the game with the recipient provided with $20,000 to be put towards a study course to further their career development.
Previous Graeme Samuel Scholarship winners are:
2019 – Cain Liddle, Carlton
2018 – Cameron McLeod, North Melbourne
2017 – Kelly Ryan, AFL / Western Bulldogs
2016 – Jennifer Watt, Melbourne
2015 – Ameet Bains, St Kilda and Rosie King, Geelong Cats
2014 – Steve Rosich, Fremantle
2013 – Andrew Travis, Gold Coast SUNS and Cam Vale, North Melbourne
2012 – Simon Garlick, Western Bulldogs
2011 – Justin Reeves, Collingwood
2009 – Rob Threlfall, Geelong Cats
2006 – Steven Trigg, Adelaide Crows
2005 – Geoff Walsh, North Melbourne
2004 – Trevor Nisbett, West Coast Eagles
Please note: The Graeme Samuel Scholarship was not presented in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2020 with joint winners awarded in 2013 and 2015.