International Women’s Day: Choose To Challenge

The following blog was written by Rimla Akhtar for The Good Board for IWD 2021. The original piece can be viewed here –
International Women’s Day: Choose To Challenge with Rimla Akhtar MBE — The Good Board

Time, perhaps, is our most in-demand resource. Our pace of life continues to increase, as we’re being kept more and more busy. As my mother says, we’re human doings right now, not human beings.

So, what about time? Time to be, to stop and think through, to reflect, to understand where we stand and, most importantly, to really know why we do so. 

The fact is that if I hadn’t taken time 10 years ago to really think about my intentions in life, to define my purpose and what brings me joy, and to align that with my work life as well, I wouldn’t find myself in the position I’m in today, working in some fantastic roles. I’m in roles with which I have a heart connection and through which I feel I’m making a positive difference in the world. 

Not everyone has to take a detour in their career like me – your impact is within your sphere of influence and using the resources you have. And your impact matters. 

So, I’m choosing to challenge you. The one person reading this. Take the personal responsibility to challenge yourself first and foremost. Don’t just look at the actions, or inaction, of others. Start with you. Look at where you can make a positive difference within you. Give yourself the time and space to really reflect and be(come) self-aware, make the changes within yourself first, because that creates the ripple effect in everyone who comes across you.

We seem to find a sense of safety in only believing what we always have, only behaving in the way we always have, and in expecting others to think and be in the way we do.  Our world is becoming increasingly polarised, with little acceptance (not tolerance, as some choose to describe it) in society of diversity of thought, opinion and experience. At the same time (and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence), there are so many historical and more recently developed social and environmental injustices that require firm and swift action. It’s up to us to take responsibility to make that positive difference in our own small or big way.

What are your biases? Do you just believe what you read or hear about others? Are you in an echo chamber where everything and everyone reinforces what you believe? Do you seek alternative views and opinions?  Where could you be better and more open? Is it about being more compassionate, understanding, vocal or supportive? Is it about listening and accepting more?

This might sound like a lot, but it’s actually the simplest thing.

The word “jihad” has been so misused when speaking of my faith: Islam. It actually means to “struggle” and we’re taught that the greatest struggle is with oneself. It is most simple, yet most difficult, to look within. But, the beauty is that, when you do, you have the potential to achieve the most stunning growth. And, if we each do just that for ourselves, one person at a time, we’ll be building the more just, better world we so desperately want to see. 

Get on Board Participant Khilna Shah appointed to Wembley National Stadium Trust Board and Finance and Audit Committee Sported

RimJhim Consulting are delighted to announce that Get on Board participant, Khilna Shah has been appointed to the Board of the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST) as well as the Finance and Audit Committee of Sported.

Khilna has over ten years’ financial advisory experience, having led high profile transactions in the Energy and Private Equity sectors for KPMG and then going on to be part of the Senior Management Team at one of the largest private companies in the UK.  As a keen sportswoman, Khilna joined the Get on Board programme to share her professional skills and breadth of global experience with sports organisations that aim to use the power of sport for good.

Commenting, she said, “Sport has played a key role throughout my life and I am passionate about its power to improve lives and transform communities. I am absolutely delighted to be joining two organisations who share the same passion – WNST with its focus on delivering transformational impact in Brent, my local area, and Sported who support young people to thrive. I am really looking forward to working with the strong, diverse leadership at both organisations to help ensure that sport continues to be accessible for all.”

RimJhim Consulting’s Get on Board Programme was funded by Sport England. Working with Perrett Laver and a consortium of training partners, RimJhim Consulting prepared BAME  women for board level positions. The initiative lasted ten months and offered support from a high-level mentor, targeted seminars, a range of professional training and access to insider knowledge from within the sports industry.

“Whilst the programme has concluded for this cohort, our support to them and to the sports industry continues, as does our success in helping to diversify sports leadership.  Khilna is clearly a strong candidate for any organisation, but she chose WNST and Sported for their strong community focus that aligned directly with her desire to give back using the power of sport.  She has the knowledge, passion and skills that will ensure that she is able to support the growth and success of both WNST and Sported.  We at RimJhim Consulting are extremely proud to have supported her as a Get on Board programme participant and congratulate her on her appointment,” Rimla Akhtar MBE, founder of RimJhim Consulting.

Dinah Cox OBE, Chair of Trustees at WNST welcomed Khilna’s appointment to the Board.  She told us, “As a charitable foundation working extensively in the London Borough of Brent, one of the most ethnically diverse and culturally rich areas of the country, we understand the importance of the inclusion and diversity agenda in ensuring we have the relevant skills to serve our communities well. Our Board now comprises a majority of female members, a Paralympian who brings wide-ranging lived experience of disability issues, as well as several people who are local to Brent.  As one of the few Black Chairs of Trustees across the trusts and foundations movement, I can see the difference it makes to have a broader range of voices around the Board table as it brings a variety of skills, understanding and knowledge to our decision making. I also know that Khilna’s business experience, her love of sport and knowledge of the local area around Wembley will be significant assets as we take the Trust forward in years to come.  Welcome!”

Chair of Sported, Simon Cummins, said, “Sported are delighted to welcome Khilna Shah onto our Finance and Audit Committee. Khilna has superb finance and strategy experience and a passionate belief in the aims of Sported to empower communities to tackle inequalities. The introduction to Khilna, as a direct result of networking events organised by RimJhim Consulting, was one that might otherwise not have happened. Sported have gratefully benefitted from access to great talent as well as a broader level of board diversity by working in partnership with them.”

Build Bridges Not Walls

In our latest blog post, Get on Board participant, Khilna Shah, reflects on her career to date and her experiences of getting onto a sports board.

You’ve heard the saying….‘it’s all about who you know’

Surrounding yourself with the right people can change everything. As I reflect upon my professional career and where I am today, the realisation has dawned that my network and relationships have been essential to my success. There are plenty of intelligent, hard-working individuals in the world. However, what I have come to realise is that it isn’t always about what you know, but about who you know and even more importantly who knows you. A strong network can open the door to new opportunities and success.

The early years

As I started working in the City, I was naive enough to think that a successful career, and even life, could purely be driven by meritocracy. I had excellent credentials; straight ‘A’ student, first-class degree from a top university, a professional qualification… surely, I was bound to succeed with this alone? I sort of did. I enjoyed a fantastic professional career in Financial Advisory, spanning over 10 years! However, it was my network which really enabled me to progress, differentiating myself from my peers and opening up doors for success.

I’ve always seen the value in building and maintaining relationships, and I was fortunate enough to be supported and trusted by leaders who created opportunities for me to do so. I know from first-hand experience, not everyone had the same chances, and whether I was lucky, in the right place at the right time, I was grateful for each.

Achieving my dream role  

It was who I knew, that created an opportunity to make my first job move after 10 years – a dream senior management role at one of the UK’s largest private companies. The role wasn’t advertised or even offered to a recruitment agency. If it had been, I may well have been overlooked. It was during this moment that I realised that the roles you most want are rarely advertised – people are recommended!

The life changing moment

In 2018, I almost died after having severe eclampsia, whilst pregnant with my first child. Out of nowhere my blood pressure sky rocketed resulting in two back-to-back life-threatening seizures – my husband found me fighting for survival and I was rushed to hospital. Luckily all ended well with baby and I – the NHS saved our lives for which it will always have the most special place in my heart.  The event made me realise that life is too short and we just don’t know what is around the corner. Therefore, it’s important to enjoy life to its fullest and make the most of each day.

Whilst I had thoroughly enjoyed my professional career, it was important not to forget to give back and do something fulfilling. I wanted to share what I had learnt throughout my professional career and help others.

Getting out of my comfort zone

I had no idea where to start. My husband, a fellow finance professional, works in the sport industry and speaking to him made me quickly think that many organisations in this industry could potentially benefit from financial knowledge and a breadth of ‘outside’ professional experience.

Growing up, I was passionate about sport – a regular participant in badminton, tennis and squash. However, ever since starting my career, this took often took a back seat due to the long and unsociable hours, travelling and general demands of the job. I strongly believe in the transformational impact that sport can have on communities, mental health and personal development and therefore extremely keen to ensure sport is, and remains, accessible for all.

I was introduced to Rimla by my husband, again highlighting the importance of networks! It was fascinating to understand from her that Sport England had an objective to increase diversity on boards. However, the sceptic in me think that whilst being female and BAME could make me a potential candidate, I certainly didn’t want to join an organisation to simply be part of a ‘tick box’ exercise.

Get on Board!

Rimla was working directly with Sport England with the key objective to optimally prepare female BAME candidates for boards of sport organisations. The ‘Get on Board’ programme was born!

As part of the process each applicant was interviewed. It was a strange feeling as, having not had an interview in over 10 years, I didn’t quite know what to expect. From the outside looking in, sport has always appeared to be a bit of a ‘closed sector’, whereby you only get in by knowing the right people. I experienced this first-hand when my husband and I were invited to watch a football game from the Directors Box at Wembley. It was a fantastic experience, but there was a part of it that left me feeling self-conscious as we stuck out a bit like sore thumbs for what I put down to two reasons – our youth and ethnicity.

Recruitment process

An external recruitment agency was assisting Rimla with the interview and shortlisting process. I have to say that this made me sceptical, as in my professional experience I have found that HR and recruitment consultants can often misunderstand or not fully appreciate the experience and skills candidates have to offer.

For example, when I applied for an internship at the company where I began my career, HR initially informed me that there were limited places, that I was unlikely to get a place due the number of applicants and that I should probably apply to another department. Fortunately, I was not put off by this and persevered. I then went on to work for the firm for over a decade!

Perfectly suitable candidates can be overlooked – they do not have the right buzzwords on their CV, they didn’t have the best interview or their experiences are just misunderstood.

Making a difference

I was excited to be part of the Get on Board programme, as it enabled me to interact with an amazing group of empowered, talented and inspiring women. I was confident in my own skillset and abilities, and quickly established a key focus for me would be to build relationships and a network in the sports industry. I needed to start making contact.

Once I could get in front of people in the sports industry, I found many were welcoming and very much appreciated and recognised the skills and experience I had to offer. Sport is always a great conversation starter so easy to avoid any awkward silences. I have always been very selective about what I apply for, only applying for roles and positions which interest me. Through this programme, given the networking events and being able to leverage Rimla’s professional network, I was successful in becoming a Board member and a Finance Committee member of two sport organisations within the year.

Reflection and final thoughts – build bridges not walls

Going through the process and programme highlighted that it was very much about who you know and the right people can be key to your success. People can often be protective of relationships and be drawn to work with the same people they have worked with before. I was fortunate enough that Rimla was willing to share and use her relationships to help others, which was admirable. Professionally, I had seen this (and benefitted from it), but how are you able to get your foot in the door and show what you are capable of if this mindset doesn’t change?

From what I have seen, much of the sports industry is cliquey – it lacks diversity, perhaps due to the way it has grown historically. Whilst I feel that sports organisations could hugely benefit from balanced, diversified boards, I feel there is still a real barrier for ‘outsiders’ with limited or no direct sport industry experience or contacts, to get in. I was lucky that my husband works in sport, but had he not, I may well have been another statistic overlooked and left out of the industry.

It is time for the industry to build bridges, and extend invitations to let people in…the historic closed walls need to be opened. Aside from just increasing outside participation, we should also proactively reach out and meet diverse candidates where there are, so that organisations reflect the communities they serve, particularly at leadership level. I hope we are at a turning point of change – it is programmes like Get on Board that should be celebrated and championed as it provides real hope that positive change can be delivered.

My final thought is that of six degrees of separation – even if you do not have a direct connection to where you want to go or work, I’m certain that if you build your network and persist you will get there.

Work hard, never give up on exploring new opportunities and have fun whilst doing so – we only live once 😊

Personal Leadership – Reflections from Lockdown

“We know what to do to bring our economy back to life.  What we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life.”

So said the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.  He was bringing some much-needed perspective to the recovery from this Covid-19 pandemic that has brought the mighty to their knees (even though the ego of some would refuse to admit it). I’d like to go a little further and consider our roles as leaders as we rebuild and create visions for the future.  When I use the term “leaders”, I mean each and every one of us because we are all leaders in our own lives – leaders of ourselves and of people.

In my mid-20s, I began to realise that I had been going along the conveyor belt of life without really thinking about what I was doing or what I wanted to do.  Reflecting on small life events, ones that would have been forgotten if I hadn’t chosen to reflect, made me step back and question what I wanted to do.  They made me step back in order to step forward and to begin my journey of personal leadership.

An opening, an opportunity, has been created by this pandemic and we need to be thoughtful about what our leadership in life means in the post Covid-19 21st century. In life and societies, we can be fixated on binary, short term measures whilst life is actually about seeing that success depends on other things that are just as important. In business, it may be about planning for the right talent to help your business grow or about ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of your people.  For society to be vibrant, growing and prosperous, such considerations must extend beyond what is for our own personal benefit, to what we want our impact to be on everyone and everything around us. 

Even though each of us has a relative level of privilege, the assumptions we make about what it takes to succeed and thrive from that relative level aren’t necessarily true.  For example, the idea that you can only personally prosper if you work increasingly greater hours of the day or that your success must come at the cost of another’s or that you need to be out networking every night to succeed.  The opposites of this have now been enforced upon us and so, it goes to show, that often the biggest barriers are the ones in our own minds.

Have we ever challenged the assumptions that we hold in our minds of what is true, or are we on that conveyor belt of life, continuing as if only to affirm the status quo? We always look for growth economically, but what does that even mean? “Growing” is seen as the only sign of success or progress and we never question it or the side effects of growing at all costs. The costs are ones we see plainly, if only we reflect.

If we want to talk about growing, let’s talk about growing inequalities, the growing wealth divide, the growing level of mental ill health across global communities. GDP may rise, but contentment and human progress recedes and we need to take this opportunity to address these fundamental elements of being human.

If we needed any indication of the impossible being possible, just think about whether anyone could have predicted that this UK Government would fund the wages of so many at such a significant cost! Or that so many millions of us would be working from home almost overnight.  Yes, societies, communities and industries will be significantly altered, but the impossible will become inescapable and so we must ensure that we invest, as individuals, businesses and governments, with purpose, and support the areas that are most likely to drive us towards societal gains, with the equality of opportunity that we’re desperate to see.

The future will involve existential change.  It isn’t just about risk management but about flourishing, thriving and maximising impact – renewing whilst growing, together.  And living life with purpose, with intentions beyond ourselves and thoughts beyond our own personal gains, doesn’t just come at a cost. In Islam, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is noted to have said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.”  For the sake of long-term sustainability, individuals, organisations, businesses, everyone must add back those moral and ethical values to continuously sustain our society, especially those experiencing the greatest difficulty. It is here that leadership and culture is truly tested.

Being able to trust ourselves, to direct ourselves and to be prepared for the unexpected and the expected are three distinct areas that we as leaders must develop if we want to create a sense of stability with sustainability. We must give ourselves and others the freedom to unleash those pursuits of passion and to explore with a genuine purpose that is for the greater good. Yes, we need to rebound and reset but we also need to build momentum that will come from being flexible, anticipating the unexpected and seeing the opportunities, especially those that may currently be blind spots.

Underpinning all of that, our relationships, our culture and teamwork is more important now than ever. The difficulties that the vast majority of the world’s population are facing are undeniable. It is in such crises that already established inequalities are further increased. Yet, many of my friends and colleagues speak of wanting to return to normality, even though that normality involved so many inequalities and wrongs, so many divides. Who wants to go back to that?

Look at the goodness that has emerged. We’re reconnecting and feeling what it means to have real human connections.  We’re re-learning to be flexible, understanding and compassionate.  We’re seeing businesses support societal needs, seemingly without gain (other than positive brand image).  We’re slowing down as the world has been brought to a halt and re-learning what it means, in the words of my mother, to be human beings rather than human doings.  We have permission to think differently, about what’s possible in a new world we get to create without the usual restrictions.  We can rethink bigger and more compassionately than ever before if we think for ourselves and focus our minds.

Aren’t we, then, already truly being brought back to life?

Get on Board – Reflections

3rd December 2014: an evening which set the agenda to come and proved the need for Get on Board. A significant group of Black and Asian women from across various areas of the sports industry came together to share, learn and strategise. From concerns of racist and sexist language and cultural stereotyping to the distinct lack of role models and feelings of exclusion, the need for action became clear as we all heard the experience of each woman. To be honest, we all knew this well before coming together, but here we found the support system to each do our bit.

As we discussed good practice as well as some possible solutions, what became clear was the need for a support network and mentoring to work through, to learn and to thrive.

The wonderful spread provided by the team at the London Tea Exchange

Fast forward to 2019 and we were now provided the opportunity to do just that. Sport England recognised that an investment injection was needed to create an immediate shift in representation on our sports boards. And so, RimJhim Consulting joined a consortium of partners, led by Perrett Laver, to produce board ready candidates from diverse backgrounds. Our commitment to this campaign was 20 women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, out of which 12 joined our Get on Board programme.

The initiative, aimed at high achieving BAME women lasted ten months and offered assistance from a high-level mentor, targeted seminars, a range of professional training, and access to insider knowledge on how to navigate the sports industry.

30th April 2020 saw the Get on Board programme come to an end with half the cohort having joined sports organisations and a further three in the process of being recruited prior to the impact of Covid-19. We had planned a fantastic celebration for our fabulous women at a unique venue, but clearly this wasn’t possible given the global pandemic. So, for now, we are saying our thank yous and congratulations here!

Executive Coaching with Katy Tuncer of Horizon Sport

Our board ready women are: Joy Aboim, Dana Abdulkarim, Vivenne Aiyela, Lorraine Bedwell, Safia Boot, Reshmin Choudhary, Donna Fraser, Kamel Hothi, Anika Leslie-Walker, Harpreet Robertson, Haseena Lokhat, Lungi Macebo, Rosalee Mason, Mehmuda Mian, Natasha Preville, Priya Samuel, Kalpana Shah, Khilna Shah, Sayeeda Warsi, Yasmin Waljee.

We want to say thank you to a huge number of people who have helped us along the way and supported our programme:

  • Jaspreet Kaur – Behind the Netra – for her powerful poetry
  • Sajeda Panju of Mint Memories for her photography wonders
  • Miriam Walker-Khan for hosting our launch
  • Jamal Campbell for being our videographer and editor
  • Aliur Rahman of London Tea Exchange for hosting our networking event with such generosity
  • Katy Tuncer of Horizon Sport for her impactful executive coaching
  • Rupen Shah for his finance masterclass
  • Paul Evans for his international sporting landscape masterclass
  • Fadumo Olow and Lipa Nessa of I Think She’s Offside podcast for partnering with us to create a 3 part podcast series
  • Aina J Khan for her written words
  • Rachel Brace of the FA for hosting our launch at Wembley Stadium

A massive thank you to Sarah Mehrali who ran this programme for us and to Cathy Hughes of Sport England and Imogen Sanders of Perrett Laver for their continued support.

Last, but by no means least, this programme’s success is so much down to our mentors – individuals to whom I reached out and they responded so positively straight away. They have successfully guided our women to their growth and success: Annamarie Phelps, Brendon Batson, Chris Grant, Donna Fraser, Ebru Koksal, Funke Awoderu, Geoff Thompson, Mehmuda Mian, Roisin Wood, Rupinder Bains, Ruth Shaw and Vivienne Aiyela

What a team, what a family! THANK YOU!

Driving Good Governance for the Future – if not now, when?

As the world of sport comes to terms with the new reality posed by Covid-19, we’ve been discussing the impact of strong governance on sporting bodies when faced with adversity. Good governance, alongside solid leadership and representative stakeholder engagement, is increasingly seen as a valuable way to mitigate risk. So why is there such a disparity in the weight given to the topic when we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has brought the world to its knees?

Recently, we organised a lively online discussion entitled Sports Governance for the Future – are we ready? with panellists Colin Bridgford, CEO of  Manchester FA,  Lungi Macebo COO at Birmingham City Football Club and Director at Women In Football and Get On Board candidate Dana Abdulkarim. The debate was chaired by RimJhim Consulting Managing Director, Rimla Akhtar MBE

When we asked the panellists what good governance looked like to them at this very moment, Colin said, “It’s a challenge to understand what good governance looks like. Some institutions are really struggling so we have to look at what individual governance structures look like. Previously at Manchester FA, there were no real governance infrastructures in place as a business. We had to look at the role of board directors and analyse what they are actually required to do.” It’s through these simple measures that Colin has been widely credited for driving institutional governance change and reform in Manchester and in doing so, connecting the grassroots game to the professional sport. 

Lungi, who has worked in professional football for over 8 years commented that “football clubs are very different to national governing bodies (NGBs). They could benefit from learning from NGBs by looking for non-executive directors (NEDs) to help shape their thinking. At Birmingham City Football Club, we’ve learnt that having an honorary president is really helpful for governance. We still have a long way to go in terms of good governance.”

Outside of football, Dana who has represented England in rounders and holds 67 international caps shared her experiences too. “When I was at Rounders England, I’d say they were going through cycles of good governance. I had a good experience. They were open and welcoming about accommodating differences.”

As the discussion developed, we asked if sport could ever be fair on the field if governance is weak behind the scene. “When organisations are closed off, it is much harder to question them. There are many layers to an organisation – that makes it a lot harder. How do you remain integral and above the required standard? It’s harder if you are only accountable to yourself. External scrutiny and strong voices is the way forward. Having the right people on Boards is the way to get voices heard,” voiced Lungi who has served on the Women In Football board since 2018.

“There needs to be more transparency. Helping organisations to develop and move forward is vital and business people can play a part in sport too…the recruitment of people on boards is a big issue. How organisations put opportunities forward is also important. We really need to look at the values people can bring,” added Colin who is also the Independent Chair of Oldham Athletic Community Trust.

RimJhim Consulting runs an initiative called the Get on Board Programme which is a senior-level scheme to help prepare successful BAME women for board-level positions within the sports sector. The programme draws to a close at the end of April 2020. It is funded by Sport England and the team is working in partnership with Perrett Laver and other organisations as part of a consortium for change. The overriding goal is to ensure that sports organisations adhere to the Code for Sports Governance – the ‘gold standard of governance’ for sport in England.

We asked why Sport England’s leadership and recognition of inter-sectionality in leadership was important.  An important point noted by Lungi as she commented that, “The Sports Governance Code and Get On Board is a game changer but we need a number of things. It will be a change of culture that will make the difference. We now have women in football – but it’s not just about their presence, but their progress. Women need more  opportunities. If Joe Bloggs looks at his friend for a promotion because he looks just like him, nothing will change. We need to look in a year’s time to see what difference these initiatives have made… everyone needs to be able to see the change, but they need to open their eyes to see that.”

Colin felt that if “you get a balance of people that can really help. The Code allows you to do that. But candidates have to be board-ready. At Manchester FA, we now have more young people observing in the boardroom. Senior NEDs must be able to challenge all the other members.”

Coronavirus has already massively impacted sporting events around the globe. During the discussion, we asked if our governance structures were ready for such a crisis situation and about what we have learned so far to prevent organisations repeating mistakes. Whilst this specific pandemic may not have been anticipated, good governance involves business continuity and critical incident planning. Colin posed the question, “How many organisations have been set up to last long term? How many have business continuity plans, governance etc? You have to ask what governance looks like in the short term AND medium to long term…about how they can support their executive. In the short term, was your board clinically effective? If your governance doesn’t get you through next few weeks, it’s not going to get you through next few months.”

Dana is a teacher based in Sheffield and has delivered various training and development around EduTech, Literacy and Talk-less-Teaching. She pertinently pointed out, “The bottom line is we have to look after PEOPLE. That’s what sport is about. PEOPLE are the most important.”

Lungi candidly admitted, “We definitely didn’t have a global pandemic on our risk register. We’ve been caught out as an industry. No one could have possibly anticipated the impact that it’s going to have. Specifically in football – from footballers, Sports England, our foundations and community trusts….our reaction as an industry has not been great. We should have had a think about different reactions from different areas – good governance would have helped.”

As the debate drew to a close we asked about their visions for the future and the most pressing issues that need addressing. “We need to be more representative of the community that sport serves. We mustn’t let the pandemic slow down the progress towards more representation and openness. We must not move this priority to one side,” said Dana passionately who is the first ever Muslim Hijaab-wearing athlete to represent England in sport.

“You’ve got to change the right elements within articles and constitutions before you can get the right people,” added Colin who is a former Investment Accountant and has been a key member of the FA’s Governance Code Working Group which has now led to the first ever Code for Governance for County FA’s.

“A pandemic like this should make you realise why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is a time of retrospection so that we can pay homage to the values of the people and external stakeholders,” said Lungi on a reflective note.

Whilst we may not have anticipated a global pandemic, being clear on your purpose and that purpose being aligned to a fairer society and sports industry is certainly going to be the significant shift which will help define governance going forward.  The future is one we get to shape.

Get on Board Highlights 2020

We couldn’t be more proud to show you a overview of everything our #GetOnBoard candidates have achieved over the past 10 months.

Watch a summary of the Get on Board programme for 2019/20

Nearly half the group are now sitting on Boards with another quarter in the pipeline.

Although we weren’t able to celebrate the way we had hoped, please join us congratulating them on their successes!

Podcast Three: Candidates’ Perspectives

In the last in the series of our collaboration with the team at I Think She’s Offside, Lipa Nessa spoke to our Get On Board candidates Joy Aboim and Natasha Preville about their recent board appointments.

Joy is a Trustee of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and it’s just been officially announced that Natasha is a Trustee of Parkour UK. 

They talk about their careers to date, raising the aspirations of the young and their future plans now that they will be part of the decision-making process at the top of sporting bodies. 

Co-presenters Fadumo Olow and Lipa Nesa describe their productions as “Two girls sharing our love for sport, general discussion and breaking or reinforcing stereotypes.”

You can listen to it here.

Get on Board Candidate Natasha Preville appointed Trustee of Parkour UK

We are delighted to announce the appointment of our Get on Board candidate Natasha Preville as a Trustee of Parkour UK.

Natasha currently runs her own successful consultancy dedicated to increasing the experience, visibility and career pathways for young people to thrive within the culture, media and sports sectors.

She has over 20 years cross-sector experience, with more than a decade in senior management within the screen industries and has worked on numerous award-winning campaigns for the BBC and Red Bee Media.  

Natasha has a deep passion for eradicating barriers to entry for storytellers and young audiences. Natasha was the Industry Panel Expert for Gen Z Engagement at Google FilmFest 2019.  She has worked across the youth sector and will contribute digital expertise and a knowledge of impact measurement to her Trustee role. She has supported a number of committees, including the Cherie Blair Foundation, the London Creative Industries Panel and Lambeth NextGen.

“Parkour UK are committed to the highest standards of governance and have been delighted to support Sport England’s investment into Perrett Laver and RimJim Consulting. Ensuring our boardroom is diverse and inclusive is of paramount importance, and by adding somebody of Natasha’s calibre with her experiences and skills, we’re very lucky to be able to bring her into the Parkour family. On behalf of the parkour community in the UK and Parkour UK we welcome Natasha and look forward to utilising her expertise and passion to drive forward our work through 2020 and beyond,” Stephen Mitchell, Independent Chair, Parkour UK.

In her spare time, Natasha is also part of the TIME’S UP UK movement, securing wide ranging partnerships to amplify the need for greater diversity representation in front of and behind the camera.  

“We couldn’t be prouder of Natasha’s achievements as part of the Get on Board programme, all culminating in her appointment to the Parkour UK Board.  This sport is forward-thinking, agile and innovative – skills and abilities that Natasha has in abundance.  We cannot wait to see her journey continue alongside the growth of parkour across the country”, Rimla Akhtar MBE, founder of RimJhim Consulting.

Natasha is part of RimJhim Consulting’s Get on Board Programme which is funded by Sport England. Working with Perrett Laver and a consortium of training partners, RimJhim Consulting prepares BAME women for board level positions. The initiative lasts 10-months and offers support from a high-level mentor, targeted seminars, a range of professional training and access to insider knowledge from within the sports industry. 

Podcast Episode Two: The Future with Funke

As you may know, we recently partnered up with the team at the ‘I Think She’s Offside’ podcast to produce a series of interviews aimed exploring conversations around BAME women in sport.

Co-presenters Fadumo Olow and Lipa Nesa describe their productions as “Two girls sharing our love for sport, general discussion and breaking or reinforcing stereotypes.”

In the second of three parts, Senior Inclusion & Diversity Manager at the FA, Funke Awoderu, spoke about the importance of having role models and mentors on your journey into a boardroom.

You can listen to this episode here.