Danielle Smith appointed CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia

Danielle Smith appointed CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia

Danielle Smith

Former chief executive of Sunshine Coast Lightning Danielle Smith has been appointed as the CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia. 

Smith will commence her new role on 22 July and comes to Exercise & Sports Science Australia with more than 25 years of experience across  industries including sport, major events, management consulting, accounting and consumer products. 

Exercise & Sports Science Australia is the national peak body for tertiary-trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Smith said it’s a very exciting time for industry, ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics. 

“Accredited exercise and sports professionals play a crucial role in the development of Paralympians and Olympians and their expertise can help them reach their full potential and achieve incredible results on the world stage,” Smith said.

“These professionals revolutionise how athletes train, compete, and recover while promoting physical health and performance optimisation on a wider scale. It’s a very exciting time for ESSA and our industry. The field of sports science is dynamic, evolving, and invaluable.”

Smith stepped down from her role as CEO of Sunshine Coast Lightning at the end of the 2023 Super Netball Season. Under her leadership, the club won back-to-back premierships in its first two seasons of 2017 and 2018 and achieved a 40 per cent increase in revenue within three seasons. 

Ahead of commencing at Exercise & Sports Science Australia, Smith has emphasised the broader impact of exercise and sports science professionals in boosting physical activity among the general population.

“Accredited exercise and sports professionals are the most qualified to help everyday Australians, kickstart their health journey, fine tune their current training program, or even excel in their chosen sport whether for fun or competition,” she said. 

“As highly trained professionals, they use evidence-based approaches such as ‘Exercise as Medicine’ to guide patients toward better health through tailored exercise programs. 

“Beyond just prescribing activities, they also incorporate behavioural change techniques and motivational interviewing to empower patients to take ownership of their health.”

Dr Brendan Joss, ESSA President and Chair, said the organisation was delighted to welcome Ms Smith as the new CEO. 

“She is a dynamic, values-driven leader, with exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and strong experience in national sporting codes and international sporting events,” he said. 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Acting CEO Carmen Jenkinson for her dedication and leadership of ESSA during this period of transition – her contribution has been immense.”


Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women’s Agenda in your inbox