Table Tennis England Chairperson Sandra Deaton is helping to guide the female sports leaders of tomorrow as part of a UK Sport mentoring scheme.

The International Leadership Mentoring Programme, launching today, brings together 10 experienced international sports leaders with 10 future leaders who will receive mentoring support as part of the programme over the next nine months.

Sandra is one of the 10 mentors, by virtue of her position as Vice President of the European Table Tennis Union.

The programme is being delivered initially as a pilot programme by Goal 17 Ltd, an award-winning company that specialises in mentor training and programme design for equality and diversity.

Each of the mentors will work with their mentee to help them define and pursue their own leadership ambitions and build a strong professional network with other leaders at international sports federations. A specialist mentoring app, Wowment, will be used to pair each programme participant with a mentee who can best support her with the specific challenges she is facing on her leadership pathway.

The programme has been launched as part of UK Sport’s commitment to growing a thriving and more diverse sporting system and increasing the diversity of leadership on national and international sports bodies.

UK Sport and Goal 17 have designed the programme to address the barriers that are faced by women working in international sport. Research published by UK Sport in November 2022  found that British men in leadership roles at international federations were more likely than their female peers to have received encouragement from their international federation when first considering standing for election.

On average, these men had stronger international professional networks, and the research also found that once women made it into international leadership roles they had to fight harder than their male colleagues to make their voices heard and earn their colleagues’ respect.

Sandra said: “I’m honoured to be one of the first mentors and to share my experience to help the next generation of female sports leaders. This is an exciting programme which can only help to strengthen the delivery of elite sport in the UK.”

The mentors are:
Dame Louise Martin, President, Commonwealth Games Federation
Annamarie Phelps, President, European Rowing
Zena Wooldridge, President, World Squash
Cherry Alexander, Vice President, European Athletics
Sandra Deaton, Vice President, European Table Tennis Union
Janice Shardlow, Board member, FEI
Hilda Gibson, Executive Board Member, World Archery Europe
Jenny Shute, Vice Chair, FIS Medical Committee
Emma Zwiebler, Council Member, Badminton World Federation
Hilary Philbin, Executive Committee Member, European Fencing Confederation

The mentees are:
Lucy Adams, Skateboarding
Elena Allen, Shooting
Pat Aiyenuro, Fencing
Pippa Britton, Para Archery
Saskia Clark, Sailing
Hannah England, Athletics
Shaherah Jordan, Wrestling
Ellie Simmonds, Para Swimming
Zoe Spriggins, Climbing
Non Stanford, Triathlon