Photo Credit, University of Tennessee, Knoxville The Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) continues to pair emerging women leaders from around the world with women sports executives as the flagship component of State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sports initiative.
This year the program brought women from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, Haiti, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Ukraine, Pakistan, Singapore, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. Beginning in Washington, D.C. with orientation and training, they forged strong connections with each other. Participants then spent three weeks with their mentors – senior executive women in the sports industry – receiving one-on-one consultations, developing action plans, and meeting other leaders working in sports. Through these mentorship experiences, the women cultivated management and business skills in an American sports environment.
“You aren’t born a leader. You develop skills to become a leader. You are given experiences and opportunities to refine those skills and develop a sense of confidence,” said Naira Abramyan of Armenia. “This program is a great opportunity to learn these skills and make change for my country.”
Every year, espnW works with the State Department to secure a premium roster of leaders and host organizations such as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Alicia McConnell who served as a mentor to Deniz Cengiz, a grassroots development officer of soccer programs in Turkey. “Sport gives people hope. It has amazing, life-changing power. And yes, I have reached a lot of people,” said Deniz. She serves more than sixty thousand people every year through soccer events, but says this is just the beginning of her work.
To read more on the participants and mentors matched in this year’s GSMP initiative, please visit the new Empowering Women & Girls through Sports website.