16 - 18 May, 2016 | Shangri La Hotel Sydney,
New South Wales, Australia

Suzanne Young

Chief Operating Officer
Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, and as part of the Executive team, Suzanne is responsible for managing and directing the organisation’s business systems, processes, corporate governance and infrastructure to ensure the National Rugby League (NRL) is in a position to meet its whole of game strategic objectives. As COO, Suzanne leads the following functions: Integrity and Compliance; General Counsel; People and Culture; Community; Player Welfare and Education; Government Relations; Government Partnerships, Venues and Operation and Strategic Planning. She has also played a significant role in developing the NRL's Stakeholder Engagement strategy and been the Accountable Executive for a number of major events, including State of Origin.
The NRL’s vision is to be the most entertaining, most engaging and most respected sport in Australia; a game which brings people together and enriches their lives.

Suzanne believes in the game's core values of Excellence, Inclusiveness, Courage and Teamwork and is passionate about its Community and player Welfare and Education programs that provide platforms for delivering powerful social change in the community, especially regarding inspiring leadership, social inclusion, indigenous reconciliation, health and wellbeing, and the prevention of violence against women. She has established a Women in League mentoring program which provided formal mentor and mentee training and matched 17 women from across the game with senior executive women inside and outside of the NRL. She has also been involved in facilitating Women in League workshops in rural and regional Australia to support female volunteers involved in the game.

Prior to joining the NRL in November 2014, Suzanne held senior executive and non-executive director roles across a range of industries and regulated sectors. She has broad leadership and operational experience spanning financial services, aviation, technology, not-for-profit/sport and professional services across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the US.
She has successfully led customer focused, strategic change initiatives in large organisations, including Leighton Holdings, The Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Unisys, utilising technology and grass roots engagement of diverse teams to deliver sustainable growth and improvements to the bottom-line.

In 2009 and 2010, Suzanne she was awarded Industry Thought Leader by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network for Asia Pacific and in 2011, she was shortlisted for the FINSIA Pinnacle Awards Most Outstanding Future Leader.

Suzanne currently serves on the St Joseph's College Foundation Board as the chair of the Indigenous Fund. Previously she was an employer appointed Director of the Commonwealth Bank Group Superannuation Fund and chaired the Risk and Audit Committee. She has also served on the boards of Surf Life Saving Australia and Supply Nation.

Suzanne grew up on a farm outside Ungarie in the New South Wales Riverina and attended boarding school in Albury before moving to Sydney to study at university.

After university, she discovered her passion for surf life saving and has held various voluntary surf life saving leadership positions. She is a long service member of surf life saving and was the Sydney Branch, New South Wales and Australian Surf Life Saver of the Year in 1995/96. She is a keynote speaker at SLSA leadership forums including the surf life saving College and Masterclass.
Suzanne has a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters of Taxation from The University of Sydney, a Masters of Accounting from Macquarie University, is a CPA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

09:10 Breaking through in a Boys Own Culture

Working for the National Rugby League (NRL) is not a job for the faint-hearted. Like a lot of football codes it’s been a boys’ club, at times tarnished by alcohol, sex and drugs scandals that have ruined playing careers and sent sponsors investing their money elsewhere.

Suzanne grew up on a farm, striding the paddocks with her father and grandfather, and her sporting pedigree saw her named Australian Surf Lifesaver of the Year in 1996. The resilience demanded by the rigours of that sport has prepared her for tough board meetings, players behaving badly and the ensuing battles with the media.

In this session Suzanne will explore the leadership skills you need to develop to operate and lead in any organisation to ensure you get the best out of all of the stakeholders you work with.

Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Suzanne.

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