EY and IWF announce 2016 list of elite female athletes to participate in their Women Athletes Business Network Mentoring Program

Feb 18, 2016, 08:00 ET from EY

LONDON, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- EY's Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) has announced the 2016 roster of elite female athletes selected for a year-long mentoring program providing them with tailored support as they transition from sports into other professional careers. Now in its second year, the program pairs 25 mentees with carefully selected top female executives from the International Women's Forum ® (IWF®), a global network of more than 6,000 women business leaders across 33 nations and six continents.

The 2016 mentee class includes women across 13 countries who have competed in a variety of sports such as water polo, freestyle mogul skiing and field hockey. This year's group also features 15 competitors of the Olympic Games – eight of whom are Olympic medalists, including Brazil's first female Olympic medalist in sailing, Australia's first female paratriathlon medalist and a player on the gold medal-winning US women's soccer team. The full list of 2016 WABN mentees and their mentors can be found here.

Twenty-five mentees are selected each year based on their potential to become strong leaders after their retirement from sport. Elite athletes are defined as having currently or previously competed professionally or semi-professionally, or at the national or international level.

According to research published by EY and espnW, Making the connection: women, sport and leadership, a background in sports can help accelerate a woman's career: 94% of women surveyed in the C-suite played sports with more than half at the collegiate level.

Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY's Global Vice Chair – Public Policy, says:

"Success in sports is very much correlated with success in other pursuits. Our research has shown that female athletes exhibit greater confidence, resilience, work ethic and determination, as well as build strong teams and motivate and inspire others – all qualities that make excellent leaders. It was because we recognize the unique strengths of elite female athletes that we created the Women Athletes Business Network Mentoring Program. We want to help them transition to leadership in the business world after retirement from sport.  

"Our inaugural class of mentees was truly an extraordinary and inspiring group of women. I'm confident that this year's participants will benefit immensely from their mentors and make a great impact in today's working world."

EY's Women Athletes Business Network is dedicated to building a bridge between women in the business and sports worlds in an effort to open doors and create new career and leadership opportunities for elite female athletes, while at the same time adding to the numbers of women in corporate leadership. In addition to the mentoring program, EY also provides an online community where women athletes can build connections among current and retired athletes around the world.

The 2016 mentors include a diverse group of C-suite executives, consultants, entrepreneurs and other influential leaders across the membership of the IWF – all women who can teach and inspire the athlete mentees just as their coaches have. In addition to the mentoring relationships, the female athletes will receive an EY liaison who will help connect them with EY's internal and external global business networks.

Marilyn Johnson, CEO, International Women's Forum (IWF), says: "This special collaboration is built upon the impressive dedication of EY as a corporate associate and community leader. IWF is proud of the work we accomplished with EY to make the first year of this unique program possible. It is an honor to witness the growth of our athlete mentees as they achieve higher levels of leadership. We are committed to mentoring, challenging and inspiring these talented rising professionals and are confident that they will impact the world in incredible ways."

Donna de Varona, Olympic champion and lead advisor to the EY's Women Athletes Business Network, says: "Last year, EY's Women Athletes Business Network helped 25 talented athletes, with the support of their IWF mentor, experience a journey of professional and personal growth and support toward achieving their goals. Elite female athletes already have the fine-tuned qualities to respond to coaching. This program is helping our mentees understand how to utilize those sought-after skills like hard work, team work and collaboration in their professional pursuits after competitive sport."

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About EY's Women Athletes Business Network

EY's Women's Athletes Business Network (WABN) aims to inform, empower and create an environment that supports elite female athletes who seek to develop their leadership potential beyond their sporting careers. The network does this through the WABN Mentoring Program and by sharing advice from some of the world's top female athletes and business leaders and commissioning research on the connection between sport and leadership.

About the International Women's Forum

The International Women's Forum builds better global leadership across careers, cultures and continents by uniting the world's most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement through training, mentoring, and connectivity. The IWF brings together its unprecedented global membership of more than 6,200 women leaders in 33 nations to exchange ideas, to learn and to inspire women to lead bigger lives. Unlike any other organization in the world IWF, convenes an extraordinary network of women leaders, provides exposure and access to a diverse audience of key female decision-makers, and delivers cutting-edge programs exploring the topics impacting international progress, business, economics, ecology and enterprise. IWF prepares women for the many ways in which they as leaders must adapt to navigate 21st century transitions.

Naomi Pickens
EY Global Media Relations
+1 212 360 9263