March 10, 2021

One hundred women from twenty-four National Governing Bodies and four Local Sports Partnerships have now completed a Women in Sport Leadership Programme with consultants Lisa Clancy and Sarah O’Shea.

Initiated and facilitated by Swim Ireland, and funded through Sport Ireland Women in Sport Funding, the course was designed by Lisa and Sarah to be delivered face to face.

When COVID-19 hit, the programme was pivoted to online with the first course taking place for eight weeks in September and October 2020. The programme has proven extremely popular and already delivered results, with four courses now complete and two more underway.

Representatives from clubs, National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships, volunteers, coaches, athletes and staff, joined from all over Ireland and tuned in from England, South Africa, Canada and France also.

Modules were developed with the specific aim of enabling and supporting women to step into positions of authority in sport and included: Leadership and Values, Networking and Collaboration, Handling Challenging Situations, Crisis Management, Governance Developing Resilience, Communications and Developing your Personal Brand, amongst others. All necessary elements for today’s leadership journey.

40 speakers from the coaching, sporting, media, commercial world and beyond provided invaluable leadership insights to the group.

As well as the online element, participants also complete group work and a personal development plan with one-to-one sessions with Lisa or Sarah.

Speaking about the course Lisa Clancy said: "Following on from our work on the Women in Sport Policy I felt action was required to ensure women in Ireland had the confidence, skills and support to step into leadership positions in sport.

"Developing the course and seeing 100 women grow their own potential has been a real privilege and a very proud outcome during a challenging period for us all.”

Sarah O’Shea added: "I am delighted to be in a position to give back to women in sports leadership through running this course. A course of this kind would have been very beneficial to me during my time working in sport.

"The network and talent we have needs to be showcased and supported and I look forward to running more courses and continue to support women at all levels of Irish Sport."

Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead Nora Stapleton said: “Leadership and Governance is a key target area of Sport Ireland’s Policy on Women in Sport.

"We always encourage collaboration in the sports sector and are delighted with the success of this programme coordinated through Swim Ireland but with 28 different sporting organisations involved.

"I’d like to congratulate Lisa and Sarah for designing and delivering this programme to 100 women who I’m in no doubt will have benefited from it.

"We’re extremely grateful to Trish and her colleagues in Swim Ireland for the work they’ve done behind the scenes to facilitate the programme roll out and delighted that the Sport Ireland Women in Sport funding programme can allow these programmes to happen”.

Trish Mayon, Swim Ireland Head of Communications, who has facilitated the course said: "We were delighted to be able to bring so many NGB’s and LSP’s together for this programme. It has been extremely popular, and we have taken great pleasure in seeing the development plans and goals that participants finishing have come out with. We even had two Swim Ireland participants appointed to our Board since completing the course."

Further courses will be delivered later in 2021. To register your interest please e-mail

Course Facts & Figures:

100 Candidates

24 National Governing Bodies and 4 LSPs

6 Courses

40 Speakers

Candidates aged 19 to 60+

32 county programme with candidates from 22 counties so far…