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University welcomes future leaders of sporting world for WSLA 2018

WSLA 2018

TRAILBLAZERS from the world of sport have joined the University of Chichester’s annual Women in Sport Leadership Academy which has been established to develop the next generation of leaders.

Delegates from global sport federations are engaging in the week-long residential, now in its fifth year, to improve their leadership competencies and to challenge the issues facing women in the industry. Nearly 150 participants from 34 countries have graduated from the Academy to join a worldwide network.

Dr Jordan Matthews, chair of the organising committee and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sport Development and Management at the University, said: “Skills, values, strategies, and networking opportunities are at the heart of WSLA. It is facilitated by women who have found success in sport and the programme combines essential elements of self-critical learning and development, personal development planning, national and international support groups, and physical activities.”

The Women’s Sport Leadership Academy (WSLA) was developed by the Anita White Foundation (AWF), based at the University, and Females Achieving Brilliance (FAB), an international network of sport leaders which helps women gain employment in influential positions. WSLA’s primary focus is a residential programme, hosted at the University’s Bognor Regis campus, designed to increase the competence and confidence of female leaders and support them to become part of the international women and sport movement.

WSLA 2018

Among the influential delegates speaking at this year’s event include Baroness Sue Campbell CBE, chair of UK Sport who has sat in the House of Lords since 2008. She will be talking about her exceptional career from representing her country as a player, coach, and manager, to presiding over Team GB and Paralympic GB’s successes in London 2012, and being appointed as Head of Women’s at The Football Association in January this year.

WLSA co-organiser Pauline Harrison, co-founder of FAB and previous chief executive of England Netball, said: “A unique feature of the WSLA residential are the intercultural experiences shared between participants. Women from all around the world share ideas, values, and policy understandings to enhance their own leadership strategies in sport.”

This year the University of Chichester, in partnership with the AWF and FAB, has extended the concept of WSLA to Botswana, which followed a successful programme with retiring Olympians being undertaken in New Zealand since 2017. The bespoke programme, which was held in Africa in May, was developed to enable women leaders - from countries where they face particular challenges - to access education and development opportunities.

WSLA 2018

Speaking on the Botswana programme, participant Regina Hellen from Ugandan Rugby Union said: “I have met amazing women who are looking to get into the boardroom in a way like never before. It has been an empowering experience just being with all of these women in one room; we are sharing a vision with women and sport”.

To find out more about the Women‘s Sport Leadership Academy at the University of Chichester go to www.chi.ac.uk/wsla. Alternatively to find out more about the Anita White Foundation visit www.chi.ac.uk/awf or Females Achieving Brilliance at www.femalesachievingbrilliance.org.uk.