Leigh Russell


Swimming Australia

Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell is the Chief Executive Officer of Swimming Australia. The first female to take on this role, she is known for her collaborative leadership style and for building high performance culture. Leigh has previously worked as an Organisational Development Specialist, Board Director, Performance Coach and public speaker/facilitator with qualifications in the arts, teaching, counselling, career counselling and business.

She is an accomplished sports leader, having developed a successful career building, growing and leading across challenging high performance environments, with significant understanding of sport at all levels – athletes, coaches, administrators, members and volunteers through working with different AFL teams, AFL Players Association, Melbourne Vixens, and a number of national and state sporting organisations. She was the first woman to hold a senior executive position within an AFL Club (working across football and administration) and the youngest CEO appointed in Netball Victoria’s history.

Leigh has also run a management consultancy and coaching practice – Inspired Heads, working with sport and corporate organisations around leadership, high performance, governance, building positive cultures and executive coaching. With business partner Bianca Chatfield, she founded ‘The Ignition Project’ – an online leadership and personal development program for women. She serves as Chair of Tennis Victoria’s Nominations Committee, a Director of the State Sport Centres Trust, and is a former Chair of Women’s Health West and Director of AFL SportsReady. She was also the ‘Performance Coach’ on Foxtel’s The Recruit. Leigh is a professional member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Human Resources Institute. Leigh is also a Myers Briggs Practitioner and an Extended DISC® Accredited Consultant and Trainer.