Women’s Raise Your Game helps inspire the next generation to join the football industry
It was a day to remember at Wembley Stadium as Kick It Out hosted its Women’s Raise Your Game conference, in partnership with UCFB, and supported by the Premier League on Monday 12 March.
Over 100 women gathered at UCFB’s Campus inside the home of football to develop their pathways into the football industry through the advice and guidance offered throughout the day.
The event began with host Jeanette Kwakye welcoming Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, and Sharona Friedman, Chief Marketing Officer of UCFB, detailing their experiences in the football industry before announcing the initial details of the #Next25 Scholarship Programme to those in attendance.
This was swiftly followed by the first panel discussion of the day featuring Marieanne Spacey, Dr. Leanne Norman, Manisha Tailor and Hannah Dingley as they debated their roles as coaches across differing levels of the game.
Marieanne Spacey explained her current role within the National Women’s setup with England, whilst Manisha and Hannah gave insight to their positions at Queens Park Rangers and Burton Albion respectively.
A number of engaging workshops were next on the agenda for the women in attendance as Toby French, of Careers In Football hosted a ‘Careers Tactics’ workshop, whilst Shelley Alexander from BBC Sport hosted a media-specialised session alongside Jeanette, and broadcaster Anne-Marie Batson delivering a masterclass on the business side of the industry with Chris Paouros.
The workshops were also repeated in the afternoon to give mentees the opportunity to gain as much insight as possible for a future career in the sport.
The afternoon saw a number of engaging discussions take place with a Women In Football Leadership Panel featuring Rupinder Bains Board member at The FA, Chris Paouros, Co-Chair Proud Lilywhites and Jo Tongue, from Tongue Tied Media, starting proceedings after the lunch break.
Jo detailed her pathway into the football industry detailing the hard work she put in to work as a sports journalist for free and having to combine that with her paid job. Chris explained the formation of the Proud Lilywhites and how that developed her career into her latest role on The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Group.
Finally, Rupinder gave insight into her legal background and how she faced family and societal issues in her pursuit of becoming a Lawyer and her new role at The FA.
It was then the turn of current and former UCFB students to detail their pathways into the industry, with Amy O’Connor, Jennifer Lace and Sarah Makki explaining how they managed to turn their qualifications from the education institution into employment within football. They were joined by Rhia Chohan, who explained her pathway into BBC Sport.
The event provided greater insight and knowledge for the UCFB students and other mentees who participated throughout the mentoring conference, with many signing up to attend the National Raise Your Game conference, set for next month at Emirates Stadium.
Speaking after the event, Sharona Friedman, Chief Marketing Officer of UCFB:
“What a fantastic day for all who attended the Women’s Raise Your Game conference. It was a privilege to be surrounded by so many talented females and to hear incredible stories of leadership and success.
“UCFB is committed to inclusion and opportunity for all in the football industry, and this conference helped to showcase some of the best talent in the industry. With The Next 25 scholarship about to launch too, we can’t wait to help unearth the next generation of brilliant sports professionals.”
Troy Townsend, Education Manager at Kick It Out, was delighted to host another successful Women’s conference:
“It was an amazing day at Wembley and I have to thank UCFB and the Premier League for allowing us to develop and grow this wonderful event.
“It was a day to be truly inspired with the backdrop of Wembley Stadium. I saw so many inspirational women providing the perfect advice and guidance for the mentees here today, who will hopefully start to begin their journeys into the football industry following this event.
“This event proves Kick It Out is empowering and enabling the next generation to create change in the sport by creating fair representation for all across the game.”