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NRL general manager of women's elite programs Tiffany Slater.

She's one of the driving forces behind the push for gender equality in rugby league and now women's elite General Manager Tiff Slater wants to lean on her latest achievement to help guide the game's fastest-growing area out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Slater was recognised as one of six recipients of the Australian Financial Review's BOSS Young Executives winners for 2020 last week in another ground-breaking achievement for the influential figure who continues to rise through the leadership ranks.

The BOSS Young Executives program recognises future leaders and offers support to them through leadership development.

Along with nine other finalists, Slater was challenged with a series of CEO simulation scenarios over a 24-hour period by major global human resources consulting firm DDI before a three-person panel judged the standout efforts.

"I am really honoured by the award, it was an incredible process to experience and I met some wonderful people through it," Slater told NRL.com.

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"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity and to have the support and expertise from leading experts in their field through the judging panel.

"The judges spoke to me about my leadership style, strengths and future opportunities around my development.

"To have an extensive 90-minute debrief on everything I worked on over that process was incredible."

Speculation the NRLW was set to become a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic flowed for weeks during the code's hiatus but the NRL and ARL Commission stuck to their word with confirmation a third season would take place this year.

We must intentionally make sure that women are looked after too

NRL general manager of women's elite football Tiff Slater

For Slater, the announcement by the game’s governing body in June was a major step towards building on what the code had already achieved.

"Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect opportunity to reset and to shift the conversation to a focus on the women in the NRLW becoming more equitable," Slater said.

"Women have been hit the hardest during COVID-19 across all industries and women have been hit the hardest coming out of COVID-19 too.

"We can't just revert to the status quo and not pay attention to that. We must intentionally make sure that women are looked after too.

"It's an opportunity to re-establish what equity looks like in this space given that in some respects we're starting again."

Slater's next steps are to finalise details with NRLW clubs and players around contracting, logistics, scheduling and potential rule changes ahead of the September kick-off.

As for future expansion of the NRLW competition, Slater said the rising number of females playing the game suggested the setback would not affect too greatly on and off the field.

Tiffany Slater at the 2019 NRLW launch.
Tiffany Slater at the 2019 NRLW launch. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"We've had to re-jig but I'm not concerned there," she said.

"It's not going to set us back from expanding and growing the game in the near future.

"But it's also important to get the expansion strategy right for the women so we're balancing sustainability with expansion and vision.

"I think [future NRLW clubs] are still working through where they're at and that's understandable. We don't even know the full impact of COVID-19 yet as a society so we've got a little while to go."