Leigh Russell

Chief Executive Officer – Swimming Australia

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. 

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 other national and state sporting organisations. She was the first woman to hold a senior executive position within an AFL Club and the youngest CEO appointed in Netball Victoria’s history.

Leigh serves as a Special Advisor to the Male Champions of Change (Sport) and is a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW). CEW represents more than 560 of Australia’s most senior and distinguished women leaders, whose shared vision is ‘women leaders enabling other women leaders’, which Leigh lives by mentoring and advocating for women in sport.

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. She has previously served 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.