Taylor Green, 27 y.o., SIGA Youth Council Chair, and SIGA Council Board member saw her life change after joining SIGA’s Global Mentorship Programme. She had no job, now she works as the Director of Communications and Board Member for Black Girl Hockey Club (BGHC). During the programme duration, she had the chance of working in the Inclusion and Diversity department at the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America, and to learn from top leaders in the industry.
In an interview with SIGA, Taylor Green advocates #SIGAWomen Global Mentorship Programme, and advises other women to join in, securing a place in the 2022 edition.
Why did you decide to participate in SIGA’s mentorship programme?
I found out about the Mentorship Programme thanks to Dr. Iain Lindsay [Senior Director of Research, Knowledge and Innovation, SIGA]. He added me on LinkedIn, and I happened to see his post discussing the programme. He also posted about the Youth Council, so I decided to apply to both, assuming that if I was selected to both, they would complement my experience with SIGA, which has proven true. I also appreciated that SIGA was specifically recognizing the gender disparity in leadership in sport and wanted to remedy that. I have come across many mentorship programmes that seek to improve the gender balance within entry-level positions in sport, which is fine. However, I found that SIGA recognizes that leadership positions often set the tone for policies regarding gender parity and hiring throughout an organization, and thus tailoring a mentorship programme designed for women to ascend, excel, and lead was truly getting to the root of the problem.
What is your assessment of participation?
The mentorship programme far exceeded my expectations! I give much credit to Katie Simmonds [Global COO & Managing Director of #SIGAWomen Programme SIGA,] and all of the mentors who brought this programme to fruition throughout the pandemic. In spite of everything going on in the world, it was refreshing to meet with nearly 100 women from around the globe, collaborating and sharing wisdom, rooting for each others’ successes. As an introvert, I appreciated the intimate atmosphere throughout our meetings. I always felt safe to share my experiences and most importantly that my voice was listened to and valued. While I am deeply appreciative of my mentor, the beauty of the mentorship programme is that I feel as though I have 50 mentors that I can lean on and reach out to. Although the programme provided wonderful opportunities to connect with mentors already excelling in the sport industry, the mentorship programme also encouraged me to network laterally with my fellow mentees, emerging leaders who are impressive in their own right. I have truly enjoyed collaborating with mentors and mentees alike outside of the mentorship programme in other capacities within SIGA, including the Youth Forum, Sport Integrity Week, Web Summit on Female Leadership in Sport, and the Standing Committee on Gender, Race, Inclusion, and Diversity. Building friendships beyond my time as a mentee has made this experience worthwhile.
Who was your mentor, and how was the connection between the two?
My mentor is Alison Giordano, who is Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing and Sponsorships at Mastercard, the host of the 2022 Web Summit on Female Leadership in Sport and a proud supporter of #SIGAWomen. Alison has been such a wonderful mentor. The aspect of our relationship that I treasure most is her ability to offer advice that is actionable and practical. Whether I am preparing for a speech or applying for positions, Alison is always there for me with empowering words paired with tangible things I can do to feel confident and prepared. Given her busy schedule, witnessing her commitment to her mentees, improving gender parity, and to SIGA is a constant motivation. As a testament to the power of this mentorship programme, our relationship has blossomed beyond the programme to serving on the SIGA Council together.
What was the best thing the mentorship brought you? What skills did you learn?
The best thing the mentorship programme brought me was a community of like-minded women who truly want to help each other succeed. Unfortunately, I think sometimes there are negative stereotypes associated with a large group of women meeting based on misogyny, a lack of women mentors and leaders, and a void of a female community rooted in friendship. As a mentee, I have benefitted from the collaborative and supportive nature of the mentorship programme, the spirit of growth and transparency, and the belief that her success is my success. I feel better equipped to not settle, to know my worth, and to pay it forward. Throughout the year, we did not shy away from issues that affect women in sport and the importance of addressing problems to solve them. This programme has reframed the mindset from viewing traditionally feminine leadership traits as liabilities to mask, to understanding the power of female leadership with traits to be leveraged and embraced.
Do you advise other girls to enter the programme? Why?
Absolutely! I highly recommend this programme to any woman who aspires to not only work in sport, but lead in sport! The mentorship programme is a remarkable opportunity to foster meaningful relationships with amazing women leaders in sport and to create your own network of emerging leaders in sport. You can help shape the global impact of #SIGAWomen and contribute to the urgent change needed in sport. If anyone is seeking a community in which they are supported, listened to, valued, and affirmed, the SIGA Global Female Mentorship Programme is for them.
Do you believe this programme will help create more opportunities for women in the sports industry? Why?
Without a doubt, yes! The wonderful thing about great mentors is that they create more great mentors! Mentorship is a key accelerator to success. Having nearly 100 fellow women in sport in your corner is sure to create more opportunities for women to serve in leadership positions, with the agency to affect change and create opportunities. A key takeaway I have from the programme is the dismissal of the notion that there are only so many positions for women in sport and therefore we must compete against each other for them. #SIGAWomen reject that! We recognize that there is room for all of us and that we must collaborate to combat sexism in sport.
Did the programme change your professional life in any way? If so, how?
Yes, the mentorship programme greatly improved my professional life. It extended my network of like-minded women aiming to change sport for the better. It reaffirmed my desire for a more inclusive future and compelled me to seek opportunities to help others in any way possible. The programme also enhanced my relationship with SIGA and to ensure that gender parity is synonymous with sport integrity.
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