- Mentoring program will support women as they transition from sport to business
- Call for applications opens June 30, 2015 for mentoring program pairing elite female athletes with top women in business
IWF EY WABN logo 3
EY’s Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) and the International Women’s Forum®(IWF) have opened applications for their 2016 mentoring program, designed to harness the often untapped leadership potential of female elite athletes after their retirement from sport. Applications for the class of 2016 mentoring program are now available on the International Women’s Forum website and close on 2 August 2015. Current and retired elite women athletes will be matched with prominent female leaders from the IWF membership, who come from a variety of sectors and industries. In this second year of the program, 25 elite athletes – defined as having currently or previously competed professionally or semi-professionally at the national or international level – will be selected.
The partnership gives the Women Athletes Business Network access to IWF’s membership of 6,000 senior women executives in 33 nations on six continents. Their mentor members – women who have reached the pinnacle of leadership in their respective field – will share their insights, lessons and leadership expertise with athlete mentees.
Launched in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013, EY’s Women Athletes Business Network has been building a bridge between women in the business world and female athletes, guiding them through their transition and helping create and visualize new opportunities for highly successful and ambitious women athletes from around the world.
According to EY research: Making the connection: women, sport and leadership, a background in sport can help accelerate a woman’s career. Close to three-quarters of women (74%) believe that a background in sport can help a woman’s leadership and career potential. The report also notes that ninety-four per cent of women executives surveyed had a background in sport. More than half of women in the C-suite (52%) played at the collegial level. Nearly seven in ten women (70%)had participated in sports as a working adult and 70% are more likely to hire a candidate with a background in sport. These figures confirm that participation in sport helps with career advancement.
Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY’s Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, says:
“Elite female athletes develop tremendous leadership skills through their sport. Because of this, EY created a forum for elite female athletes to develop and expand their unique skills and translate them into their full business potential. As the Women Athletes Business Networks inaugural class is underway, we look forward to receiving the new round of applications and in turn helping more future women leaders reach their goals.”
Marilyn Johnson, CEO International Women’s Forum, says:
“The International Women’s Forum is proud to once again partner with EY to advance our shared commitment in building strong women leaders. Through this partnership, IWF and its 6,000 global members will be able to guide and nurture the next generation of rising women. We have seen determination and exceptional professional growth within the first WABN cohort and the IWF membership is eager to continue the trajectory for these professionals. Together – we are changing the face of global leadership.”
The selection process looks at the individual’s potential to become an impactful leader after having reached a pinnacle in their athletic career. In the 2015 inaugural year of the program, mentees have been connecting with their mentors as well as with an EY liaison that has been providing access and introductions to EY’s internal and external global business networks. This structure will also apply to those chosen in the 2016 cohort.
By helping athletes understand how they can translate their unique skills gained through sport into impactful positions outside of sport, IWF mentors have been helping pave the way for these inspiring women into influential future leaders. Mentor and mentee pairing include Janice McDonald, President of This Space Works and named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, who has been mentoring entrepreneur Barbara Mervin, founder of Rugby Apparel and World Cup silver medalist in rugby.
Mervin says: “I feel incredibly privileged and honored to have been paired with Janice McDonald. She is a successful business tycoon that has the warmth of a loving sister. Her demeanor allows me to be open and honest about my goals and fears. Janice challenges me to greatness while empowering me with self-belief. Janice has become the little angel on my shoulder that helps me think critically and focus on what’s truly important to reach success.”
McDonald says: “It is an honor and a pleasure to work with Barbara and help her get to the next level, faster. She brings drive, focus and passion to her entrepreneurial pursuit and is keen to learn and develop her skills. It is a rewarding experience for me and I enjoy the shared learning opportunity.”