26/03/2024- Governance


Last week, UK Sport celebrated the end of its first International Leadership Mentoring Programme. BF Board Director Pat Aiyenuro took part in the programme, mentored by Jenny Shute MBE.

Pat Aiyenuro was one of the mentees on the UK Sport International Leadership Mentoring Programme. (Photo: UK Sport via LinkedIn)


The UK Sport International Leadership Mentoring Programme, led by Goal17, is a pilot launched in June 2023. Ten female future leaders took part in a nine-month support scheme, during which they were mentored by ten experienced female international sports leaders.

The programme’s aim is to increase the diversity of leadership in international sports bodies. This objective is informed by UK Sport’s research into leaders in senior international bodies, and the roads they have taken to reach these positions. The findings were that the inequality in international sports bodies, was, on average, due to men having stronger international professional networks than women.

The closing celebration event, which took place last Thursday, provided an opportunity to reflect on how mentorship can help to promote gender equality in international sports bodies and leadership.

Joining the BF Board in 2020, Pat Aiyenuro is the International Relations Director and Anti-Doping Lead. This follows seventeen years of volunteering experience at all levels of the sport, including serving as the Chair of Camden Fencing Club and International Team Manager for several GBR teams.

Pat has been active in community projects to make fencing more accessible, and was awarded a BEM for services to sport in 2017. After taking part in the programme as a mentee, she commented:

“I’d personally just like to say thank you to UK Sport for allowing me to be part of the programme, but also to Jenny. Mentor programmes I feel, do they have to come to an end? I don’t think so. I think you’re a mentor, you’re a life mentor. So I think that is going to be a continuous journey for both of us.”

Pat’s mentor, Jenny Shute MBE, Vice-Chair FIS Medical Committee, International Ski & Snowboard Federation, added,

“I agree 100%. Thanks all round, but it’s been an absolute pleasure and honour to work with Pat, who will go a very long way.”

Read UK Sport’s full summary of the event and mentoring programme on LinkedIn (may require signup): Increasing Diversity In International Sport Through Mentorship


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