Out & About: Peggy O’Neal AO
If decades as a lawyer has taught Peggy O’Neal anything, it’s that success is a process. At this stage in her career, there’s no doubt that this 2021 Melburnian of the Year has truly mastered the art of not only succeeding, but helping others to reach their full potential too.
Now the Chancellor of RMIT, Peggy has built a career as a strong leader and transformative teacher. This superhuman has been constantly fighting against the odds as a woman in male-dominated spaces to hold a huge variety of important roles as a financial lawyer, advisor and leader. It’s no wonder she was named one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence in 2014!
At the top of the list of her achievements, however, is her work with Richmond Football Club. After becoming club president in 2013, Peggy led the team out of a 37-year drought to win a mind-boggling 3 premierships in 4 years. Not only did she turn the stats around for Richmond, she was also the first woman to become an AFL club president.
Peggy has been repeatedly recognised for her wide-reaching contributions to the country, most notably with an Officer of the Order of Australia. This month however we want to extend a warm congratulations to Peggy for being celebrated specifically for her services to sport in Victoria with the 2021 Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award.
This award is truly well-deserved, but not simply for her successes at Richmond. Peggy is also being recognised for all the incredible work she has done to champion and pave the way forward for women in sport as a convenor of the Change Our Game Champions program, advocate for VicHealth’s This Girl Can, and member of Victoria’s Ministerial Council on Women’s Equality (just to name a few!). She even chaired the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation which led to the establishment of the State’s Women in Sport Office. Not only is it the highest honour in Victorian sport, but it’s a particularly special moment for Peggy before she hands over the reins as president at the end of 2022.
With so much experience and wisdom under her belt, it’ll come as no surprise that Peggy O’Neal is also well respected as an educator, speaker, equality advocate and all-round inspiration. She’s a firm believer that culture is always the number one priority, and a huge inspiration to any woman looking to carve their own path (particularly in business and sport!). With many powerful lessons to share on leadership, success and the importance of hiring the right people, Peggy is sure to change the way you think about dynamics in the workplace and what it really means to reach your potential.
Congratulations Peggy for your hard-won and well-deserved award. We are all in awe of what you’ve achieved both in and out of the sporting world, and it’s an honour to share your story!