World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern presented the Lifetime Achiever Award to recipient Shelley Maher of Australia Thursday evening in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada at the World Lacrosse U19 World Championship. It is the highest honor bestowed by World Lacrosse for a life-long commitment to the sport of lacrosse in an entirely voluntary capacity. She is the first woman since 2008 to receive the award.
Shelley has been a Director of the Australian Lacrosse Association, and before that, President of Women’s Lacrosse Australia, as well as holding a range of positions in Women’s Lacrosse Australia, the state of Victoria and for her club for over 20 years.
As the former officers of the International Women’s Federation looked at succession planning, Shelley had been long identified as a potential future women’s officer and it was therefore of no surprise when she stepped forward to become the first Women’s Director in 2008, as the men’s and women’s international organisations merged to form the Federation of international Lacrosse (FIL) which is now World Lacrosse.
Shelley served for 9 years from 2008 – 2017 in a unique position as the first, and as it turned out, only Women’s Director of the Federation of International Lacrosse due to later restructuring. During her 9 years on the FIL Board Shelley led women’s lacrosse into a new era in the newly merged organisation, but also did much more than that, taking on a strategic role in the Federation, and gaining the respect of the Board (not always an easy task in a merger). She initiated many of the debates in FIL and was instrumental in some of the new structures and policies that World Lacrosse has today.
It is an honorary award made by the World Lacrosse Board against a range of criteria, primarily around contribution to the Federation’s activities. Any nominee has to meet at least 2 of the criteria. The recipient today exceeds those requirements.