What an amazing start Antoinette Earl and I had to January 2021, when we began our journey on the Women in Sport Leadership course, following the footsteps of our friends Sylvia O’Flynn, Ellie Dennis and Anne Marie Minogue who had gone before us in November 2020, and what a journey of self realisation it has been for us.
We were invited to take part in this Leadership course by Nora Stapleton the Lead in Women in Sport with Sport Ireland. The course was administered by Swim Ireland and run by Lisa Clancy and Sarah O’Shea, who wanted to present a course to women in leadership roles that they would have appreciated at the start of their own careers.
The aim of the programme was to provide training, guidance and expertise to support women to thrive in leadership positions in sport. The programme was delivered over eight weeks, with one 90 minute session per week via zoom in our big group. We also worked in smaller groups of five where we shared ideas and experiences and deepened our understanding of the topics that we covered that week within the big group. Our little treat was a one to one with either Sarah or Lisa where we got to discuss setting our short and long term goals, and the advice they gave us to help us achieve these goals were invaluable.
The modules we covered within the programme were, leadership and values, networking and collaboration, handling challenging situations and developing resilience, crisis management and influencing in leadership, developing your personal brand, wellbeing and last but not least change management. We also got to complete a personal development programme that covered our short and long term goals.
So as you can see, we got a lot covered in a short period of time and from the feedback I got from Sylvia, Ellie, Anne Marie, Antoinette and from my own takeaways from the course, we are all in agreement that the most valuable part of the course was networking with other women who are doing similar things to us in different environments, and this was explained nicely to me by Antoinette when she said, “the value of networking was in the exposure to people with different values, outlooks and ways of dealing with situations, the mutual support and sharing of ideas might cast light on any challenging situations you yourself face.”
The course has taught us all to focus on achieving our goals and to not be afraid to ask for help along the way. Ellie said that a big takeaway for her was that by collaborating ideas and working together that we can make a difference in our sport. Anne Marie found the challenging behaviour module most beneficial for her, where she feels she has learned a lot. Sylvia found the one to one so inspirational and she got great ideas from her mentor and I must admit I found the crisis management module the most nerve wrecking but worthwhile module.
We would all highly recommend this Women in Sport Leadership programme and even though there is a big time commitment involved it is worth it, we all started looking forward to our meetings and even though we all enjoyed different modules more than others, we found on the whole the programme was very positive and we were amongst a group of achievers, leaders and thinkers and we are enriched by the new friendships that we have made.