Female Olympians grasp WABN mentoring opportunity

8 | 3 | 2017

As people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, 12 female Olympians are preparing to embark on a year-long journey to develop their leadership potential with the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) mentoring programme.

EY and the International Women’s Forum recently announced the 2017 intake for the WABN mentoring programme, which saw a dozen female Olympians selected for the prestigious mentoring experience that offers elite female athletes tailored support as they transition to careers in business and other professional fields.

The 2017 mentee class hails from 11 countries and over 20 sports including rowing, weightlifting, football, hockey, swimming and rugby. Now in its third year, the programme pairs athletes with top executives from the International Women’s Forum’s global network of more than 6,500 women business leaders across 35 nations and six continents.

Olympic skier Ana Jelušic Black, who was instrumental in bringing to life the IOC’s Olympic Athletes’ Hub in 2016 as IOC Athlete Relations Project Manager in Lausanne, will join the programme as one of this year’s successful Olympian applicants. Ana said she jumped at the chance to broaden her knowledge and experience through the programme.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected to participate in this amazing programme alongside such an inspirational group of women”, said Olympian Ana Jelušic Black. “I am aware of how unique this opportunity is and am therefore looking forward to taking advantage of it as much as possible. I have no doubt that the upcoming year will be filled with inspiring moments, new friendships and obviously important learnings.”

EY, which is an official partner of this years’ International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign, has worked to increase opportunities for female athletes through the Women Athletes Business Network since it was launched in 2013.

Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY’s Global Vice-Chair – Public Policy, added:

 “Our research has shown that a background in sport can help accelerate a woman’s professional career. The drive, discipline and dedication of elite female athletes, in particular, make them a unique leadership talent pool. By pairing these inspiring women with top female executives, we want to nurture their leadership skills for extraordinary success not only in sport but also in the business world.”

Last year, WOA partnered with EY on the highly successful Rio 2016 Olympians Reunion Centre, which went on to win a prestigious award from the Rio Chamber of Commerce as one of the top hospitality houses at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In the lead up to and during the Games, WOA was an active supporter of EY’s Women Athletes Business Network, its mentoring programme and Olympian internship initiative, which saw eight female Olympians offered internships at EY locations around the world. A number of the Olympians who were successful in securing a place on the 2017 WABN mentoring programme also visited the Olympians Reunion Centre in Rio.

The full list of Olympians selected for the 2017 WABN mentoring programme is:

  • Ana Jelusic Black (Alpine Skiing, Croatia) – three-time Olympian who competed at Salt Lake City 2002, Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010
  • Victoria Brown (Water Polo, Australia) - bronze medal winning Olympian from London 2012
  • Manami Hino (Bobsleigh, Japan) – two-time Olympian who competed at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010
  • Sally Kehoe (Rowing, Australia) – triple Olympian who competed at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016
  • Nadine Khouzam (Field Hockey, Belgium) – member of the Belgian Olympic hockey team at London 2012
  • Mariya Koroleva (Synchronised Swimming, United States) - two-time Olympian who competed at London 2012 and Rio 2016
  • Jeane Lassen (Weightlifting, Canada) – represented Canada at Beijing 2008
  • Élise Marcotte (Synchronised Swimming, Canada) - double Olympian at Beijing 2008 and London 2012
  • Sarah Cowley Ross (Athletics, New Zealand) – competed in heptathlon at London 2012
  • Kim Vandenberg (Swimming, United States) – bronze medal winning swimmer at Beijing 2008
  • Rhian Wilkinson (Football, Canada) - three-time Olympian and double bronze medal winner with the Canadian women’s football team (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) 
  • Jamie Wan Yiu Wong (Cycling, Hong Kong) – represented Hong Kong in the road cycling event at London 2012

You can find out more about International Women’s Day and the campaign #BeBoldForChange at: