19th November 2020

UK Athletics and the ECB complete ED&I Advocates mentoring programme

UK Athletics and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have completed a first of its kind 12-month mentoring programme.

This cross-sport collaboration showcases the commitment to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme at the respective organisations. Part of ECB’s commitment included providing a cohort of all female senior leaders to act as mentors to UKA’s ED&I Advocates which was an exciting opportunity to share best practice, learn from each other and continue to develop in this area, and upskill the mentees.

Having commenced in October 2019, ED&I Advocates; Matt Downes, Lorna Dwyer, Paula Gowing and Yannick Phippen participated and completed the programme.

The end of the partnership was marked with a presentation from the mentees to their line managers and peers as part of their public speaking development, demonstrating the skills they have learned from the mentoring process.

Lorna Dwyer, UKA ED&I Advocate, and mentee, said:

“My mentor, Tessa Whieldon brought incredible insight, a balanced perspective and always challenges me to push myself past my limitations to achieve my goals. Sharing her wisdom on her career path I cannot thank her enough for her sincerity and openness. I have learnt to be bold and brave – bold to step out of my comfort zone and brave enough to have difficult conversations. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the UKA ED&I mentoring programme in partnership with ECB and look forward to continuing to develop within my career and as an individual.

Tessa Whieldon, Acting County Partnerships Manager at the ECB, added:

“Lorna and I have developed a strong relationship during the last year, built on trust and honesty. Being able to mentor someone who was willing to share her vulnerabilities and go outside of her comfort zone to seek solutions has been personally very rewarding. True testament to the progress Lorna has made in achieving her goals and the difference her colleagues have witnessed. Most recently in her role as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advocate, leading UK Athletics response to Black Lives Matter ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ seminars, and their celebration of Black History Month a series of webinars titled ‘Noir Voices’.

“I have found mentoring to be a two-way process and I have been rewarded throughout. Working with Lorna has allowed me to share some of my own professional development objectives and I have been inspired by her energy and willingness to embrace new ways of working. I have every confidence in Lorna’s capability to achieve her next goals as she looks towards 2021.”

Paula Gowing, another mentee from UKA, commented: 

“Being part of the UKA and ECB mentoring programme over the last 12 months has been a fantastic experience.  My mentor has continually challenged me and encouraged me to think differently in many areas. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first, however, looking back I can see how much I have developed, and I have really enjoyed the journey.”

Katy Ritchie, former Head of National Programmes at ECB, said:

“Spending time with Paula has been a really enjoyable experience. The mentoring process is all about unlocking the best bits of a mentee and supporting them to be the best versions of themselves, often as much outside of work as in. Seeing Paula’s journey over the last year has been incredibly inspirational and as a mentor, I have equally learnt a lot more about myself during the time we spent together.

“I would highly recommend becoming both mentee and mentor, it’s such a great way to develop and UKA’s commitment to embedding mentoring throughout the organisation demonstrates how much they value their people.”