Championing women leaders on and off the field
“Women athletes have the tenacity, courage and drive to achieve their goals,” says Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY’s Global Vice Chair of Public Policy.
She should know. Overcoming a severe hip injury, Beth went on to play intercollegiate basketball for a Big Ten university. Today, she credits her success in business to skills she learned on the court. “Athletes understand pressure, the hard work it takes to train and compete, and the confidence that comes with both winning and losing,” she says. “It’s no surprise that 96% of women in the C-suite have sports in their background.”
A passionate advocate of women’s professional advancement, Beth believes women athletes are a vital — and so far largely untapped — source of leadership talent. “They have what it takes to succeed,” she says. “Yet, they have been so focused on their sport that they often need support in navigating their career path when their playing days are over.”
That’s where EY’s Women Athletes Global Leadership Network comes in. Launched in March 2013, the program connects current and retired women athletes with a network of women business leaders from all sectors. The network helps these extraordinary female athletes make successful transitions after sport by facilitating mentoring relationships and opening doors to new opportunities. It complements other EY initiatives, such as Entrepreneurial Winning Women, a program to help high-potential women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and the Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Network, which connects women public-sector leaders with other women in similar positions at a global level.
“Elite female athletes have leadership qualities that can’t be taught in a classroom and we all know the world needs more women leaders,” says Beth. “These extraordinary women can be just as successful in business as in sport. They just need a bridge.”