Tuesday night was epic for a number of reasons. England’s Lionesses were playing in their third straight semi-final, 11.7m tuned in to watch it – the highest TV audience for the year so far – and we at RimJhim Consulting launched our ground breaking Get On Board programme at the Home of Football, Wembley Stadium.
Get On Board is an initiative created by RimJhim Consulting and supported by Sport England together with global executive search firm, Perrett Laver and a consortium of training partners to prepare 13 women for board level positions. The initiative, aimed at high achieving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women lasts 10-months and offers support from a high-level mentor, targeted seminars, a range of professional training and access to insider knowledge on the sports industry.
The event brought together leaders from the worlds of football, badminton, rowing, boxing, equestrian, wrestling and shooting, to name just a few, for an evening of networking for women on their way into sports board roles. It showcased and celebrated these high achieving BAME women on their way up in the sports industry, putting them front and centre, and giving them their first connection with sports leaders.
We heard from our powerful panel of speakers on the topic of ‘The Future Sports Board’, which included former British athlete Donna Fraser, the FA’s Senior Equality and Diversity Manager Funke Awoderu and writer and broadcaster Sarah Joseph OBE. We heard about the development that will be needed to ensure that sports organisations are fit for purpose from a governance perspective and how diverse boards will help ensure that these organisations are best set to meet the needs of their diverse stakeholders. Candidates on the programme also received messages of support around the key themes of resilience, values, curiosity and having the right networks.
The audience were also treated to a unique intersection of arts and sport, as well as gender and race, through performances from Jaspreet Kaur, AKA Behind the Netra, who presented her stunning poem “I Am”, and Eleanor Martin of Khayaal Theatre who energetically and elegantly told us the story from West Africa of Casa The Brave. The event was hosted by another young mover and shaker within the sports broadcasting industry, Miriam Walker-Khan.
This programme has been a long time in the making. We’ve learned much throughout our journeys thus far within the sports leadership landscape. We now aim to help others by creating a sisterhood and support network to the top. This programme is designed for BAME women, crucially, by BAME women. We’re pleased to be working with Sport England to help build a diverse future sports industry. We know that there are plenty of talented BAME women who are ready for board level work right now. With our support and guidance, we want to see them move into their first sports board position.
This special journey has now, finally, begun through our launch. The result on Tuesday night in Lyon may not have been the one we were hoping for, but we’re just as proud of our Lionesses as we are of our Get On Board candidates. Keep an eye out here, where we’ll update you as their journeys progress.
We would like to thank the following individuals who have supported the launch:
Aina J Khan
Cathy Hughes, Sport England
Donna Fraser, UK Athletics
Eleanor Martin (www.khayaal.co.uk)
Fadumo Olow (www.ithinksheisoffside.home.blog)
Funke Awoderu, The FA
Jamal Campbell and Louise Rigg, Channel 5
Jaspreet Kaur (www.behindthenetra.com)
Rachel Brace, The FA
Sajeda Panju, Mint Memories (www.mintmemories.co.uk)
Sarah Joseph OBE, Emel magazine