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.
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!
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!