Businesswoman, philanthropist and women’s football pioneer Susan Alberti has been crowned the 2018 Victorian of the Year.
Dr Alberti has helped raise millions of dollars for research into a cure for type one diabetes after her daughter Danielle, a diabetes sufferer, died in her arms on a flight home from New York.
She tackled the male-dominated building industry to become one of the first women to obtain a commercial builders’ licence in Victoria.
The doyenne of women’s football was vice-president of her beloved Western Bulldogs when they won the 2016 premiership.
She was a driving force behind the successful push to establish the AFLW women’s competition, leading to her appointment as the competition’s inaugural ambassador in 2017.
Dr Alberti was announced the 2018 Victorian of the Year at a ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall on Monday.
She was selected by the Trustees of the Victorian Day Council, made up of previous Victorian of the Year Award recipients.
Council chairman Tony Cree said he was delighted to introduce Ms Alberti as one of this year’s winners.
“The Victoria Day Council recognises people in the community that have gone above and beyond their contribution to the community within Victoria,” he said.
Dr Alberti is the past president of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Through the Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation, she has helped to raise more than $6 million towards finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
After joining the board of the Western Bulldogs Football in 2004, she became the founding co-chair of its Forever Foundation and was awarded life membership of the club in 2015.
No stranger to civic honours, she has also been inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Dr Alberti received an AM (Member of the Order) in 1997 and an AO (Officer of the Order) in 2007, before being appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2016.
Victoria University awarded her an honorary doctorate in the same year for her outstanding philanthropic service and advocacy.
As the chair of the Victoria University Foundation, Dr Alberti helped to introduce ‘Achievement Scholarships’ to VU.
She is also a strong supporter of the Western Chances Scholarship program.
Victoria University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said Dr Alberti has played a crucial role at VU.
“Many of her personal attributes – unwavering tenacity, commitment and ability to overcome significant issues – are traits we admire in our students.”