New report shows promise towards increasing diversity and inclusion in sport

Managing Director of Leaders, Laura McQueen

To better understand whether changes are being made across diversity and inclusion within sport, Meta and Leaders have commissioned a new report with Nielsen, to benchmark industry progress.

The study surveyed leading sports organisations and has been launched as part of Meta and Leader’s ongoing Diversity Series programme, which aims to drive and accelerate the pace of change of diversity and inclusion within the global sports industry.

In a positive step towards change, surveyed organisations said that conscious efforts are being made to drive positive change towards inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, with over 85% of respondents recognizing that their workplace is looking to make changes related to diversity and inclusion. However, organisations still have progress to make when taking tangible action to support this intent. Only 28% of respondents feel their organization displays inclusive leadership, with 36% implementing open and transparent promotion processes.

The impact of the ongoing Leaders Meet: Diversity Series was also assessed within the survey, to understand how the programme educates, inspires and informs attendees in the move to creating a more inclusive sports industry. Results were promising, with over 78% of participants in the Leaders Meet: Diversity saying there was an increased awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion overall. In addition, 80% of the participants believe the series did a good job of educating them around the benefits of diversity, with 71% of participants feel the series helped support them in understanding how to go about actioning their learnings.

A significant focus in the evolution of the Diversity Series has been around how it can do more beyond building communities, facilitating conversations and producing inspirational content. The Leaders Meet: Diversity Series, in partnership with Meta, is focused on actionable insights and tangible results.

Managing Director of Leaders, Laura McQueen, said: “We have a shared ambition with Meta to measure the impact of the Diversity Series, that is why we collaborated with experts Nielson to measure impact and success when it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion. It helps us to understand what’s working well, where we can evolve and develop and sets a benchmark for the future. The goal of the series is to drive tangible change and the survey allows us to hold ourselves and the industry to account to measure the impact of the Diversity Series.”

“Alongside Leaders, we’re pleased that the Diversity Series is delivering impact – from awareness through to action – as we collectively strive towards creating a more inclusive environment across the sports industry. The initial data from the Nielsen study is a promising indication that we’re on the right path, while clearly highlighting areas that require attention. We’ll continue to work alongside the community and our partners to drive further, measurable change within the industry,” said Ronan Joyce the Lead for Sports Team Partnerships, EMEA for Meta.

The C-suite education programme, comprised of four workshops across 2021, was the first to launch, supporting those in leading positions in their efforts to foster inclusive environments within their organisation and champion diversity in an authentic way. The Emerging Talent workshops followed, where three separate workshops were designed and delivered to support young leaders in sport from under-represented communities in the development of key skills as they look to thrive in careers in sport. Both programmes delivered significant impact evidenced by the feedback received from participants throughout the year and will be returning as part of the 2022 Leaders Meet: Diversity Series.

For the future of the Leaders Meet: Diversity Series, there is a focus on driving action through practical advice and insight. For 2022, the Series is building on the success of 2021 by planning even more programmes throughout the year. The Black Excellence, Allyship and Women in Sport communities will continue to grow and connect while in-person events will return to facilitate discussion and share insights. The Leaders Meet: Diversity Series, in partnership with Meta, aims to continually inspire and showcase why diversity and inclusion drives forward-thinking business practices in sport and beyond.

Andrea Marini, CEO of Deltatre, said: “The collaboration with Leaders and Management Futures on this year’s C Suite EDI initiative has been highly beneficial. They produced a safe space to contribute, learn and develop. The experiences and knowledge gained have helped us better define the actions we’re already taking, while also developing and solidifying our understanding of what we can all do to move the industry and our organizations forward collectively.”

To find out more about the Leaders Meet: Diversity Series, please visit the Leaders website. Click here to watch a brief overview of the Leaders Meet: Diversity Series.

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