An original total of 25 candidates had been targeted for acceptance into the programme. But with a flood of applications coming in from countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, France, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Austria and Norway, it has now been doubled to 50.

“We’re delighted with the response which is proof that the URC WLA is meeting a growing passion amongst aspiring women to be a part of the sports industry,” said Martin Anayi, CEO of the URC.

“The candidates have identified very clear outcomes for themselves from these workshops, namely skills transfer from already successful women in the industry, the building of a global network of women in sport, and increasing their confidence to enter the industry with a belief in the value they will add. It aligns perfectly with our high-profile list of speakers and the subject matter they will address. The workshops will be able to meet every one of these objectives.”

The first of the eight workshops took place on Monday 27 March and will run until 18 May. The workshops will feature highly qualified speakers who will share their journey and expertise as leading women in the sports industry as part of the Vodacom URC WLA’s drive to help foster greater female representation in the industry under the #empowHER campaign.

The successful candidates all range between the ages of 18 and 26, with the largest percentage coming from the United Kingdom followed by South Africa. Over half the candidates are also still students which bodes well for the future of the industry and the longevity of this transformation drive.

The first workshop on Monday 27 March featured Gemma Wright, the Senior Managing Director of Sports Media and Entertainment at CVC which has invested heavily into sports such as Rugby, Volleyball, Tennis, Football and Cricket. She will share her career in sport.

Dr Anna Semens will speak about the growth of data and technology in sport. Julia Pallé, the Sustainability Director of Formula E, will address social purpose and sustainability in sport. Whisper TV presenter and producer Elma Smit will speak to the candidates about specialist content creation in sport. Sue Storey, the CEO of Badminton England, will share leaderships skills and principles from her career in sport. Joanna Deagle, the Senior Manager at the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), will address the candidates about successfully presenting themselves in the industry.

Motshidisi Mohono (SuperSport), Lauren Jenkins (S4C and BBC Sport), Jacqui Hurley (RTE Sport) and Maire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill (TG4) will all share their experiences as female faces in sport and broadcast stars working with and alongside the biggest personalities in international sport.

The Sponsorship Workshop will include presentations by Kelly Cooke (Head of Sponsorship at the United Rugby Championship), Susie Weymen (Business Development Manager, World Rugby), Maeve McMahon (CEO and Executive Director of OFX Ireland), and Lucy Basden-Smith (Managing Partner, Cake).

Michaella Snoeck will bring her expertise as Head of Media Rights in the highly competitive and fast-paced world of Formula 1 to the Media Rights workshop. And Amy Monaghan, Head of Operations at the United Rugby Championship, will present the Graduation Speech on Thursday 18 May.

To learn more about the WLA please visit or follow #empowHER on social channels.