Cricket NSW’s Female, Diversity & Inclusion Manager Julie Stafford took the honours as the Champion of the year among the incredible array of winners celebrated at the Her Sport Her Way Awards.
Stafford shared the ceremony’s pinnacle award with Basketball NSW’s CEO Maria Nordstrom.
The awards, convened by the NSW Government’s Office of Sport, recognise the people, clubs and organisations that are giving women and girls more opportunities to participate in sport and aim to highlight the important work they are doing in this space.
Stafford has been a key figure in driving the growth of female participation in cricket across NSW since 2014, developing the Cricket NSW Female Strategy and Action Plan in 2022, which has seen Junior Girls Cricket grow by 20% last year. She is also focusing her efforts off the pitch, setting up WiCKETS Women in Cricket Communities, an online community that hosts forums and networking events connecting local volunteers and encouraging more women to join committees.
Cricket NSW has hit the highest number of 5-12-year-old girls playing cricket with over 8000 registrations in the 2022/23 season. There has also been an increase in the number of Junior Girls playing cricket. This is testament to female cricket being embraced in all of Australia – over 20,000 5-12-year-old girls played cricket nationwide in the last season, with 40% of that number from NSW alone.
NSW continues to lead the way in creating a brighter future for women in sport and never has this been more evident than this year. From champion administrators who are paving the way for future generations, through to a trailblazing Paralympian, and a 13-year-old who has created her own platform to showcase female athletes, this year’s winners are a diverse and exciting group.
Says Stafford: “Winning this Award means a lot. It represents the hard work of all my colleagues, both at Cricket and across all other sports, to champion opportunities and deliver sporting programs for women and girls.”
NSW Minister for Sport Steve Kamper said: “There are countless wonderful people that work and volunteer across NSW sports organisations and it was an honour today to recognise the work being done to make sure no girl or women faces barriers to participation.”
“The five categories show that you can have an impact on every single level, from grassroots to the elite level, regardless of your age. I congratulate all the winners and nominees and look forward to seeing the amazing things that they continue to achieve and the positive legacy they leave.”
Martin Gleeson, General Manager, Community Cricket Experience, Cricket NSW said: “Cricket NSW are very proud of Julie and her work in driving female participation across the State. She is a well-respected leader in the organisation as well as the community.
Julie has worked tirelessly to lift women’s and girls’ cricket in NSW and the continued growth in female cricket is a testament to Julie’s ability to inspire and work with staff and community volunteers to grow the game.”
The full list of winners can be seen below:
- Champion - Julie Stafford, Female, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Cricket NSW
- Champion - Maria Nordstrom, CEO, Basketball NSW
- Local Champion - Anu Beid, Owner and Operator, Swimz Guildford.
- Local Champion - Pam Abel, Senior Activities Officer, PCYC.
- Outstanding Organisation - John Tsatsimas, CEO, Football NSW.
- Trailblazers - Ellie Cole OAM. Paralympic Champion, Swimming NSW
- Trailblazers - Suzy Ellis, Tennis Administrator and Coach, Suzy Ellis School of Tennis
- Trailblazers - Hayley Todd, Head of Women’s and Schools Football, Football NSW
- Young Achiever - Abbie, Sports Journalist, Her Way