The Footy Lady: The Trailblazing Story of Susan Alberti by Stephanie Asher | Book Review
‘Susan Alberti is a driving force behind women’s football and, more importantly, equality at all levels of our industry. The story is one of passion, generosity and, most of all, care. A story that is captured beautifully in The Footy Lady.’ Gillon McLachlan
‘What an incredible life, what a gutsy woman – Susan Alberti overcame terrible personal tragedy to become a woman who continues to make a difference. Her story is inspiring.’ Ita Buttrose
“No tragedy, no challenge, has proved too hard for Susan Alberti. The woman from the working-class suburbs has battled boardrooms, courts, lymphoma and adult diabetes – and was the one leading the charge behind the AFL’s move into women’s football.”
I read this book during the second season of the AFLW league. I, along with many others, have been full of admiration for the young women who have brought so much pride, commitment, strength and determination to the AFLW. Susan Alberti can also be described in this way. She is undoubtedly a strong role model for many.
This book takes us through Susan Alberti’s many life challenges and achievements. It is open, honest and instructive. The book has many levels. It is about love, family, and legacy. It is also about the importance of a strong moral compass, personal and professional values and bringing them to all contexts, especially the board room.
Susan Alberti’s story is also instructive about how to achieve change, gain and use influence, the power of networking, the importance of ‘walking the talk’ and leadership. This is encapsulated in this quote… “Sue’s willingness to put her own story forward and show her vulnerability is one of her greatest strengths, and the key to unlocking much-needed political support. Danielle [her daughter] was right to encourage her mother to engage in public speaking – delivering speeches and formal presentations is a powerful leadership tool, one that Sue has honed and continues to use to the great advantage of her causes. Many prominent figures rely on speechwriters for such occasions, but Sue prefers to write her own material.”
Philanthropy is also a core element of who Susan Alberti is and again the book is a primer on the why and how of philanthropy. “Sue says she had a philanthropic attitude drummed into her from a young age: When I was very young, we had very little in the way of extras at home. We were happy, but life was pretty basic. The priorities were strict discipline and a good education. We always had food on the table, but I was constantly made aware of the needs of others by both of my parents….
Sue says philanthropy is as much a part of her daily commitments as her business interests and passion for football: I believe that if you want to make a difference, you need to get involved in a cause that you have a personal connection with.”
The book also highlights that there is still so much prejudice against women in all aspects of life and that it takes courage and tenacity to challenge and overcome prejudice and misogyny. It is clear that Susan Alberti has overcome a great deal and done so with determination and grace. What the book also highlights is that she is not someone you can ‘push around’ as she will take you on no matter who you are!!
The book also offers a platform for business leaders, politicians, scientists, and those involved in Australian Rules football to not only reflect on the character, power and influence of Susan Alberti but to highlight what is important/critical in all endeavours.
So, this is a book that ticks a multitude of boxes. It is for those who are passionate about other people’s stories; for students of leadership 101; those interested in the emergence of AFLW, Western Bulldogs supporters; people interested in diabetes research, and critically, for those seeking guidance on how to live a full and rewarding life.