Megan Chapman, a BA (Hons) Sports Business and Coaching student, looks back on the Women in Sport Networking Breakfast at our Manchester Campus.

On March 6, the distinguished Old Trafford stadium played host to a gathering of over 120 trailblazers, visionaries, and changemakers at the UCFB Women in Sport Networking Breakfast. 

With the theme of ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ commanding every conversation, the event provided a platform for industry leaders and aspiring professionals to delve into the importance of diversity, accessibility and empowerment in the world of sports.

The morning began with a thought-provoking panel discussion hosted by UCFB graduate Mya Graham and featured esteemed guests Sam Mackenzie, Millie Chandarana, and Ella Williams.

Each panellist shared their unique insights on inclusion, offering perspectives on its implementation and the strides yet to be made.

Sam emphasized the significance of equal access to networking events, matchday experiences and business opportunities for women in sports, highlighting the importance of levelling the playing field.

Millie spoke about her non-linear journey to success, emphasizing that the path to the top is not always straight forward and requires continuous effort and commitment.

Ella shed light on the positive impact of her business ‘Our Goals CIC’ has had on increase the participation of girls in sports.

She highlighted that it is important to foster positive relationships with sports and physical activity in order to address the alarming 42 per cent dropout rate of teenage girls in PE, further emphasizing the need for inclusivity from grassroots to the professional level.

The discussion extended beyond border, with insights into inclusion practices in other countries. From the inclusive community of Dubai to the challenges faced in Italy, the conversation underscored the global nature of the movement towards diversity and representation in sports.

The event also featured time for participants to network and meet new people within the industry. Many positive relationships were formed during this time.

During this time, I was able to speak to several of the attendees, hearing about their experiences in sports as well as their thoughts on the day. 

Mya Graham, the panel host, spoke about how the event made her "extremely proud that things like this are happening for women to get involved with,” because when she was getting into the industry, she never really had the opportunity to speak to other women who all want the same thing.

I also heard from the girls at the Andy Griffin Football Academy from NSCG (Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group) who spoke about how the event was inspirational, significantly informative, eye-opening and helped inspire them and other girls to conquer barriers.

As participants engaged in networking and exchanged ides, the room buzzed with excitement and camaraderie. All attendees, both male and female, expressed feelings of empowerment and belonging, highlighting the transformative impact of connecting with like-mined individuals in the industry.

Many of the male attendees spoke to me about how the event was very “insightful into the issues and stigmas of women in sport.”

Following a successful networking period, attendees took part in answering different questions on inclusivity such as the changes we have seen in sports.

One table spoke about how women want to include men in their sports (such as the work that Ian Wright has done for women in sports) while men are a little more conservative and want to keep their sports more exclusive. They spoke about how events like this helped to celebrate the inclusivity of women’s sports and how we want to promote this across the national and the world.

Reflecting on the day’s events, it became evident that the UCFB Women in Sport Networking Breakfast had set a new standard for inclusivity and empowerment in the sports industry.

By fostering meaningful conversations, forging valuable connections, and championing diversity, the event not only celebrates the achievements of women but also paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. 

Manisha Aggarwal said: “Today has allowed women to be in a safe space that hasn’t always been possible in the past, to connect, share and listen.”

As we continue to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes, let us remember the insightful words of Ella Williams: “If you don’t do it, it will remain undone for the rest of eternity.”

Together, let us strive to create a world where every individual, regardless of gender, background, or ability, has the opportunity to thrive in the world of sports.

To find out more about the opportunities at UCFB for women, such as female-focused scholarships available, click here.

You can also kick off your career in the sports industry by viewing a UCFB prospectus here.