SailGP taps Apex for women’s accelerator programme
SailGP has launched a women’s accelerator programme based on the blueprint of a successful initiative launched two years ago by the competition’s financial solutions provider, Apex Group.
The primary aim will be to increase female representation in senior management positions at SailGP. Currently, 36% of the organisation’s head of department roles and 42% of the directors are women.
However, the initiative is part of a wider drive by SailGP to enhance equality and inclusivity throughout the competition and the sport, with Chief Purpose Officer Fiona Morgan outlining to Global Sustainable Sport hopes of ultimately having a female-led team on the water.
The international championship is aiming to have a female driver by season six, which will take place in 2025 and 2026.
“I certainly hope we have more inclusive boats, a female driver and female led team in the league,” said Morgan.
“We have made progress on this front with our Women’s Pathway – since October 2021, 26 females have raced on F50s and have been racing onboard for all teams – and we have had the first ever all-female training sessions hosted this season by Switzerland SailGP Team in Dubai and Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team Abu Dhabi.
“Our Women’s Pathway – forging the way in sailing for equal opportunities – has attracted investors such as Assia Grazioli-Venier and Issa Rae to invest in the most recent team sale of the US SailGP Team.
“I am committed to… seeing how I can drive more change and getting more strategic partners to accelerate inclusion.”
“We are proud of the Women’s Pathway but we are fully aware that we can do more and need to do more."
SailGP and Apex Group have been working on developing a tailored women’s accelerator framework since striking an exclusive three-year partnership last June. The financial solutions provider’s own programme, which launched in January 2022, led to more than 50% of participants securing promotion, progression or new roles.
“It’s easy to get lost in the challenges and barriers faced when driving inclusivity in sport and business,” Morgan added.
“It is vitally important that we keep pushing and showing the value of change. SailGP has an ambition to be the most inclusive league in sailing and change the face of the sport.
“We are proud of the Women’s Pathway but we are fully aware that we can do more and need to do more. This first-ever Women’s Accelerator Programme, with thanks to the Apex Group, has the potential to make a real difference both on and off the water and I am so proud of the programme to drive more inclusive leadership.”
The programme will see participants join a global peer group that will feature four SailGP athletes and eight members of staff from its various business departments.
A range of roundtable, small group and mentoring sessions will be organised with the aim of giving participants the knowhow to overcome common obstacles in both the sporting and business worlds.
According to SailGP, participants will also be able to create and implement their own development plans.
“This programme is a real testament to the importance that SailGP holds in pushing change and achieving our ambition to be the most inclusive league in sailing and shaping the future of the sport,” said SailGP Chief People Officer Jon Massie.
“It’s been excellent to work with Apex Group to help curate this programme and take this next step towards further closing the gender gap in leadership.”
The fourth season of the SailGP Championship began on June 16 last year in Chicago. Sydney is set to stage the next leg of the series on February 24-25 before the league finishes on July 14 in San Francisco.