EIS Performance Lifestyle Advisor Emma Mitchell has revelled in her experience as an activator on Women’s Sport Trust’s Unlocked campaign.
Emma, who works with Great Britain Hockey, was hand-picked as one of 40 leading figures from business, sport and media to work with one of 41 elite female athletes.
Launched at the start of this year, the Unlocked campaign brings together 41 female athletes who all want to be leaders within and beyond their sports. The programme provides coaching in a variety of areas from personal branding, social media training and working with sponsors.
Emma was paired with para-badminton’s Rachel Choong, a 10-time world champion, and began working on Rachel’s personal goals with the wider aim of unlocking the potential of women’s sport.
“I was delighted to accept the offer of being an activator,” said Emma, who was worked at the EIS for 13 years.
“Despite being a 10-time world champion, I didn’t know of Rachel’s achievements when we were paired together, which in a way says so much about the aims of the programme.
“She’s a wonderful character and it’s been really great getting to know her and offering some support. It’s been very rewarding for me too, and great to work with an athlete from a different sport and a different background, working on things that interest her. Rachel has been a bright ray of sunshine on some of the calls I’ve had with her, particularly in the past few weeks.
“The programme and the quality of people who the Women’s Sport Trust have engaged as activators is very impressive. I was flattered to be asked.”
Rachel’s three aims are to help para-badminton reach a wider audience, encourage participation in sport among girls and young women, and break down barriers to sport for people of all ethnic backgrounds. Rachel’s ambitions to break into broadcasting have also gathered pace as a result of the partnership and, to provide further insight, Emma connected her with successful broadcaster and former GB Hockey star Sam Quek. The 26-year-old was also on the judging panel for the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.
“Through this programme, I was lucky to be individually-matched with Emma Mitchell — a woman with knowledge in a variety of areas within the sports industry,” said Rachel Choong.
“Since being matched with Emma, she has helped me write a media CV which has been sent off to broadcasting/production company in the hope I’ll be employed to do commentary work at the Tokyo Paralympics. Emma has helped me in many ways to understand this side of the industry which has, until now, been quite alien to me. She has also helped me outline and understand other goals I have to help the progression of women’s sport. But above all, she’s a lovely person!
“As an athlete in this programme, knowing that I have the support of not only my activator but a network of the other athletes as well as all the other activators and their expertise is empowering. I’m so grateful to be a part of this programme and I am excited to see what waves we make in women’s sport.”
The campaign’s momentum hasn’t stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with athletes and activators connecting digitally and coming together for regular webinars.
“When the campaign was launched in January, we had no idea any of this would happen,’ Emma says.
“Most female athletes are not only concerned about their own sporting ambition, but about what impact they can have as role-models and on the future of women’s sport,” said Tammy Parlour MBE, Co-Founder & CEO of Women’s Sport Trust.
“The programme has given them a chance to reflect on what is important to them and to understand how they can use their influence.
“The athletes and activators in the #Unlocked programme are a formidable group, and we’re thrilled to have Emma involved. She is a huge asset to the campaign and has played an important role, opening up her connections and sharing her experiences.”