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Blog: Daniela Bauch, My race to the top

On Thursday 28th April from 3:30-6:30pm at Portland Hall, University of Westminster, Women in Sport is teaming up with the Sport and Recreation Alliance to host Race to the top: Raising the bar for gender equality on sports boards.

Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss issues of gender equality in sport leadership and hear from our panel, including Women’s Sport Network member Daniela Bauch.

Daniela will share her experience of becoming a board member of the British Wrestling Association, having been inspired by one of our Network events.

Daniela blogs exclusively ahead of the event, which still has tickets available here and is free to members.

As a member of the Women’s Sport Network, I attended the Trophy Women? 2015: No More Board Games event back in November 2015. Women in Sport’s latest research highlighted a number of findings which compelled me to read the report in full afterwards and gain further insights.

Whilst I found it encouraging to read that the average female representation on the boards of sport National Governing Bodies has increased to 30% in 2015, this does not take away from the fact more work is still required.

For me personally, one of the most interesting takeaways from this event was that besides focusing on more gender equality at board level, the sector was opening up more to candidates from other industries and without prior experience or a background in sport.

In my opinion, this is another important aspect to ensure diversity in experience, skills and perspectives and certainly gave me comfort to explore opportunities in this field and ultimately apply for the Non-Executive Director role with the British Wrestling Association.

I am very passionate about sports and exercise and joining the board of a sporting body was very appealing. I wanted the opportunity to get closer to the sector and gain new insights, while contributing my 12+ years corporate skills to provide guidance and help shape the strategy of a smaller organisation.

What I found interesting about the British Wrestling Association was the fact that the sport was going through a period of transformation, benefiting from growing interest and increased participation levels. With a background in finance and risk management, the finance position on the board seemed a good fit.

Thanks to my Women’s Sport Network membership, I had the chance to build and expand my network. It was at the very same Trophy Women? event that I heard Amanda Fone of Original Search Company talk about her experience as a recruiter and the importance of transferable skills when trying to enter the sports industry. Connecting with her after the event and discussing my background and interests has been extremely valuable and it was the Original Search Company that worked with British Wrestling to help them find an INED and she was key to me applying for the role with British Wrestling.

There is a lot of research outlining the benefits of diverse boards and I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with those who come along to the event this month. My firm belief is that when there are individuals with different backgrounds and with a mix of skills, experience and perspectives on a board, decision making and performance improves and views are more balanced.

At the same time, sports are to be enjoyed by people from different backgrounds. Having as many of these groups represented on the boards of sport bodies is critical when it comes to strategic decision making and shaping the future of the sport. This ensures as many perspectives as possible are considered.

The Women’s Sport Network helped me begin this journey onto a sport board and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of further growing my network and to see how the discussion around the topic has accelerated since the event in November 2015.

If you’d like to join the Women’s Sports Network and receive complimentary access to this April’s event, please click here.