etball Queensland and the Queensland Firebirds CEO, Catherine Clark, has announced her departure from the organisation to become the new CEO of Paralympics Australia (PA).
Starting in January 2022, Clark will take the reigns of Paralympics Australia from Lynne Anderson, who will leave the organisation in December after six years.
Clark has served as Netball Queensland’s CEO since January 2015, coming from a background which includes a board member role at Shooting Australia, Australian University Sport director, Gymnastics Australia CEO, and Gym Sports New Zealand CEO.
Announcing Clark’s appointment, Paralympics Australia president, Jock O’Callaghan, said: “From this extraordinary platform that has been set by our Paralympic Teams and our organisation in years past, we are ready to catapult into a multi-faceted push to create lasting change for Australian Para-sport and for the disability community.”
“The PA Board is thrilled that Catherine [Clark] has embraced our vision and is ready to help lead our organisation through what we believe is the most important period in our history.
“It is not hyperbole to suggest that the next five years can determine the success of the Australian Paralympic movement for the following 20 years…
“This was a highly competitive recruitment process.
“The calibre of applicants for this role was outstanding which is another testament to the reputation of our organisation and the momentum of our Paralympic movement.
“Catherine is clearly an exceptional leader and an experienced administrator with the skill set we believe is perfectly suited to lead our outstanding staff at PA, execute our strategic objectives for Para-sport nationally, drive high performance outcomes internationally and safeguard our long-term sustainability.
“Ultimately this role will carve PA’s path towards Brisbane 2032 and it must be a catalyst for ensuring the Games stakeholders deliver their promise to set new standards in every facet of the Paralympic Games experience for athletes, teams, stakeholders, fans and the wider community.
“I know Catherine is ready to meet all of these challenges,” O’Callaghan said.
Discussing her new role, Clark said: “It’s an immense privilege to be appointed as chief executive of Paralympics Australia.”
“I am excited to lead this wonderful organisation and to help grow the important work that it does to create opportunities for Australians to engage in Para-sport.
“Australia has a proud history at the Paralympic Games, but the impact of PA’s work extends well beyond the preparation and management of Australian Paralympic Teams.
“I see a unique opportunity to drive increased participation, fan engagement and innovative commercialisation at a time when inspiring stories, strong role models and meaningful partnerships have arguably never been more important,” she said.
On her departure from Netball Queensland, Clark said the timing was right to transition the organisation’s leadership.
“I have absolutely loved my time with Netball Queensland,” Clark said.
“We have transformed our business over the past seven years, ensuring our game is sustainable and equipped to meet the challenges of the future.
“As difficult as it to leave the Netball Queensland family, I know how strongly we are positioned for the next important phase of growth.
“We’ve achieved some outstanding results as a community these past seven years including record participation growth, a purpose-built $45 million home of netball in Nissan Arena, creating our Diamond Spirit program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and even two Queensland Firebirds Premierships
“However, the sport’s most valuable asset though is its people.
“I have traversed this beautiful state to meet people who embody the sense of belonging and the commitment to contribute to something bigger than yourself that is at the heart of this game.
“I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to work, collaborate and lead with such a wonderful group of values-driven people without whom community sport just wouldn’t happen,” she said.
Netball Queensland revealed they will begin their search for a new CEO in November, with current chief operating officer, Mike Anderson, to act as interim CEO following Clark’s departure in December.