Katie Simmonds, SIGA Global COO at Female Leadership in Sport summit: “Be an agent of change”
The SIGA Global COO gave the opening address to the SIGA Summit being held in New York and made an impassioned call for gender equity.
Katie Simmonds, the Global Chief Operating Officer of SIGA, gave the opening address to the SIGA Summit on Female Leadership in Sport this morning in New York and used her speech to call for gender equity saying that the change for good SIGA is seeking “ultimately relates to the composition of the board of sports organizations to ensure gender equity and greater diversity and inclusion.”
After giving thanks to sponsor Mastercard, with the summit taking place at Mastercard’s Technology Hub, Simmonds named a number of “special” people who have “touched and influenced my leadership journey on this topic.”
United around a common cause
“ - Karin Korb, 2 times Paralympian who now sits on our Council and challenged me to get outside my own bias when it comes to disability and to use my voice to educate others.
- Keith Jones, double Emmy award winning crip hop artist who composed the theme tune for my podcast SIGAWoW and taught me to find the humanity in everyone.
- Sally Nnamani, who spoke at last year’s digital version of this Summit, who is now a global mentor on our program and connected me to Caitlin Morris from Nike who is speaking tomorrow
- Jessica Berman, Deputy Commissioner of the NLL, Sandra Lopez, CMO at Microsoft and Renee Brown, pioneer at the WNBA. 3 inspiring female leaders that are on our recently established SIGA AMERICA Board."
For SIGA's COO, all these individuals "illustrate the powerful outcome when people unite around a common cause", while the summit itself "is testament to the changes we can all make in the world by starting with yourself and finding champions and allies to join you."
A need to break down barriers in sport
Importantly, Simmonds sees the topic of the summit, Female Leadership in Sport, as just one aspect of the reform agenda being pushed by SIGA to improve global standards in sport. "The change we are seeking on the topic of gender equity ultimately relates to the composition of the board of sports organizations to ensure gender equity and greater diversity and inclusion."
Simmonds stressed that this is not merely something SIGA is focused on today, International Women's Day, but is "a key component of our mission and is on our agenda 365 days a year" and is something that "underpins the SIGA Universal Standards on Good Governance in Sport."
This is vital, she said, because "there are still barriers to break down in our society and in sport, whether it be race, gender or any other aspect of diversity and inclusion." What is required is to "instigate deep-seated cultural change and, with it, bring about greater accountability to sport... an industry like no other that has the power to unite the world, generate multi-billion dollars and deliver social cohesion."
An inspiration to future women leaders
Talking of the summit itself, Simmonds stressed the over 50 speakers who will be showcasing their expertise at the two day event.
"The themes I have chosen are part of a narrative to ultimately inspire the next generation of female leaders. To show them what is possible and teach them about the challenges and opportunities when embarking on their career journey.
"From women leading the way in sport, sports technology, to sustainability, athletes like Alex Scott and Crystal Dunn mobilizing their status to move women's sport forward, to those women that are instilling confidence in young girls at the grassroots and commercializing the women’s game. This Summit is a celebration of the women that are already in senior leadership positions and an invitation asking them to pave the way," explained Simmonds.
In conclusion, the SIGA COO hoped that every speaker and attendee would have "an impactful SIGA 2022 Summit" and urged everyone to, "join the movement of change makers. Leave your legacy. Be an agent of change."