Advisory Group

The Pride in Sport advisory group is a body that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management and ongoing direction of our national program. Current members of the advisory group include;

Andrew Purchas

he / him / his

[Chairperson] –  Currently the Vice President of ACON Health, Andrew has over 15 years of experience as a senior executive in the legal, financial services as a senior associate with Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Chief Security Officer for the Westpac Banking Corporation. He has significant commercial experience in business process redesign, change management, risk management , software development and business development. He is currently the Commercial Director for Hivery, a data analytics start up. Andrew has had a long involvement with sports administration and is founder of the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, co-founder of the Pride in Sport Index and was President of the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 and Chairman of International Gay Rugby.


Merrilee Barnes

she / her /  hers

Currently the Director – Inclusive Sport for Sport Australia, Merrilee has more than 20 years experience working across multiple layers of sport including NSOs, clubs, education, sport stadia, athlete management, sponsorship, mega sporting events and government. Merrilee bring considerable experience in the areas of strategy, integrity, commercialisation and inclusion and in her current role at the Sport Australia, she provides support to NSOs and the sport sector to bring about sustainable, organisational change particularly in the areas of safe, fair and inclusive sport. She has led several important sector projects including: the development of a national framework to help sports at all levels improve their approaches to child safety, and collaborating with key stakeholders and the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop national guidelines for transgender participation in sport.


Ricki Coughlan

she / her /  hers

Widely recognised within the sporting industry as the worlds first public transgender athlete, Ricki brings a breadth of knowledge and life experience to this group. Ricki is the founder of Love Fitness. Two of her big passions are running and helping other people become their own champion through performance running, fitness and personal development. For over 35 years, Ricki has managed fitness centres and trained fitness leaders.

In her years of running and training Ricki has won State championships, and even been picked for State teams. She’s stood on the podium at fun runs, and won plenty of medals. However, the real rewards were perhaps less tangible on those days, like the work which went into achieving those things and the way that work moulded her character. The amazing self-esteem which evolved as every day she tore down negative self-belief and fostered a champion’s mindset. It was also the foundation for a life of amazing health and wellbeing.


Cassie Lindsey

she / her /  hers

Cassie is the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Football Federation Australia. Cassie is an energetic and creative manager, who has established a high level of credibility with national sporting organisations, peak sporting and violence prevention bodies, and various levels of government. Recognised as a national prevention expert in the sports environment, working closely with Executives through to individual players to gain organisational change and traction towards equality, respect and the prevention of violence against women. With a diverse career across a broad range of sectors including local government, private business, not for profit, tertiary education, health and mining. Cassie has more than 20 years experience working with various levels of government specifically in community development, capacity building, strategic planning, leadership development, diversity, inclusion and cultural change.


James Selby

he / him / his

James is currently the General Manager – Community Rugby at Rugby Australia. A highly professional and engaged leader with knowledge of working at all levels of the Australian sporting industry and experience in working with various international organisations. James has a driven understanding and working with organisations to develop their capability and capacity to succeed in a consumer driven environment and improving their overall business excellence. Equally, he is motivated by how an organisation goes about its business as much as what the business is trying to achieve. Additionally, James has extensive experience in the development, implementation and review of community programs with a strong emphasis on minority groups and children.


Lisa Laing

she / her /  hers

Lisa is currently the General Manager – Community at St Kilda Football Club. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Duis tristique sollicitudin nibh sit amet commodo. Nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis magna etiam tempor. Gravida cum sociis natoque penatibus. Sit amet est placerat in. Lectus magna fringilla urna porttitor rhoncus dolor. Massa sed elementum tempus egestas sed sed risus. Risus pretium quam vulputate dignissim suspendisse in est ante. Quam viverra orci sagittis eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit. Ultrices sagittis orci a scelerisque purus semper. Mauris commodo quis imperdiet massa. Semper risus in hendrerit gravida rutrum quisque non. Dignissim enim sit amet venenatis urna. In cursus turpis massa tincidunt dui ut ornare lectus sit. Proin libero nunc consequat interdum varius sit amet mattis vulputate. Enim tortor at auctor urna nunc. Tristique sollicitudin nibh sit amet commodo nulla facilisi nullam vehicula.


Joelie Chisholm

she / her /  hers

CEO of Water Polo Australia, and former CEO of Australian Taekwondo, Joelie was pivotal in the repair and re-invigoration of Taekwondo in Australia. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales and an Honours science graduate from Cambridge University. Joelie has been involved in sport from a young age and has been involved across many roles including athlete, coach, club committee member, board member and spouse of an Olympian. She brings a deep passion for sport and a commitment to making a difference by creating the experience of sport better for everyone who participates. Combined with her commercial expertise, this passion will enable Joelie to bring the focus on excellence in leadership and governance at the national level.