The United Rugby Championship Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) has confirmed a high-powered list of inspirational women who have all excelled in various fields across the sports industry as the speakers at the inaugural WLA Workshops for the first intake of 25 candidates in this ground-breaking new programme.
The speakers have been drawn from a range of sectors within the sports industry including technology, broadcast, digital, sponsorship and more. They will share their skills and experiences as they seek to inspire a new generation of women in the business of sport as part of the WLA’s drive to #empowHER and help to bring about effective change in the sports industry with greater female representation.
The eight workshops will run from 27 March through to 15 May and will cover a variety of topics from Technology and Data in Sport to Social Purpose and Sustainability, Content Creation, Digital and the Future of Sport, Media Rights, as well as personal CV-boosting workshops around Leadership Skills and Presenting Yourself. There will also be presentations by recognised female broadcast personalities as they share their experiences and journeys in the industry.
The workshops will also focus on the diversity of working in different hemispheres and different sports cultures – using practical examples of experts in BKT United Rugby Championship
The speakers who have already confirmed their participation include:
1. Amy Monaghan, Head of Operations at the United Rugby Championship, which is played across hemispheres and continents. Amy has worked in Rugby since 2003, at World Rugby, European Rugby and Celtic Rugby. Amy became the first ever female team liaison officer for an International Cricket Council (ICC) event in 2015 whilst volunteering at the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Ireland.
2. Dr. Anna Semens, a specialist in the field of data and insight and its impact in sport who has worked with some of the biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Barclays, Formula E, the Rugby World Cup, the Premier League, Kia, Liverpool Football Club and Chelsea Football Club.
3. Elma Smit, an expert in the field of sports content creation and a presenter and producer who currently works with Whisper. Since becoming the first woman ever to report on a Rugby World Cup for African broadcaster SuperSport back in 2011, Elma Smit has spent over a decade building a varied catalogue of both producing and presenting work for top-tier sports clients in her native South Africa and the UK.
4. Julia Pallé, the Sustainability Director of Formula E and who has been described as “a true powerhouse of Formula E” as she seeks to help make racing “better, safer and cleaner”.
5. Kelly Cooke is the Head of Sponsorship at United Rugby Championship, overseeing new business development through sponsorship and partnership management. Her career began in national TV & radio media sales and moved into sports, first with NHL team Vancouver Canucks. A move to the UK saw her join Formula E where she was involved in the commercial programmes for the Gen 3 tender bids through the FIA.
6. Lauren Jenkins is a presenter for BBC Scrum V and S4C on their BKT URC coverage. Lauren has reported on major global sporting events including the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, multiple Commonwealth Games & more recently Wales’ summer tour to South Africa. Lauren has also worked as a pitch side reporter for Prime Video’s Autumn Nations Series.
7. Motshidisi Mohono is an award-winning Sport Broadcaster – currently playing her trade at SuperSport. The 2018 SA Sport Awards Journalist of the Year’s work includes anchoring the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour to SA, being part of SuperSport’s production team for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final, England’s 2018 tour to SA, as well as anchoring Test matches, Vodacom United Rugby Championship, the Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup matches.
8. Sue Story, CEO of Badminton England and previously CEO for Volleyball England. Sue is passionate about working collaboratively with stakeholders to deliver improvements across international sport.
The quality of the panel speaks volumes as to the desire of some of the most influential women in sport to help transform the industry, and the workshops will also be the first step in creating a global network of women in sport who can learn from each other and share valuable skills.
To learn more about the WLA or to register for the workshops, please visit wla.unitedrugby.com – Registrations close 12h00 on 9 March.
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