In five European countries, over 100 aspiring and experienced sports managers have launched a unique project of women’s leadership in sport called New Miracle.
Project New Miracle is a unique initiative of the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania (the LNOC), with four other European national Olympic committees in Italy, Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia joining it. The University of Rome Foro Italico became the academic partner of the project.
In preparation for this project, a free training programme and an exclusive mentoring platform for novice sports managers will be created where project participants will have the opportunity to get advice from experienced colleagues and improve their collaboration skills.
Agnė Vanagienė, Deputy Director of the LNOC Olympic Sport, who was one of the initiators of the project, said that it was the shortage of women in sport management that inspired the idea of the project.
“I have been working in sports organisations for more than 16 years and I see that the number of women in sports management is growing, though very slowly. Often former female athletes come to work in different sports federations without having any basics in management, therefore it is difficult for them to integrate into the management of the federation. This is a challenge in many countries, which is why, together with our partners, we came up with the idea of providing training specifically for women.
Gender equality in sport is one of the priority areas of the International Olympic Committee, and of the LNOC as well. We want not only to provide women with the necessary competences and tools, but also to inspire them to seek the highest goals in sports management,” said Ms Vanagienė.
The LNOC’s application for 2021 was one of the 315 that won European Union funding for its implementation. A total of 1107 applications were submitted. The project has a three-year duration and 2023 will be the last year in which the organizers will put into practice the content they have been developing for a year.
“While in a business organisation people are responsible for specific functions, in sport however there is usually one mastermind who is responsible for a million areas. A sports manager has to find a balance between all the component parts. This requires competence. By means of the training, we seek to provide the tools necessary to manage activities and time. It is up to the participants how they will be able apply this knowledge,” said Ms. Vanagienė.
The participants included not only novices but also professionals who already had experience in sports management. This allowed them to immediately establish useful contacts, communicate with each other and share experience. Discussions took place both during the breaks and after the training, and the new contacts will be useful in the future.
The first training, which took place on 10-11 January in all five countries, was attended by 100 practitioners. The two-day course for female sports managers was delivered by experienced trainers, with participants sharing their experiences with each other and consulting with mentors.
Leadership was the main topic of the first training. Theoretical material was often combined with practical sessions. Participants had to perform various tasks, do teamwork and solve challenges they had devised. Homework was also given.
“I am very happy to have been selected for this training, as I know that the NOCL training will always be interesting and useful, and that competent lecturers and colleagues from similar fields will help me discover new approaches. You always get something from this kind of training, discover something new, test your knowledge in some fields, establish new contacts and find like-minded people, and new ideas are born, which you want to try out,” said Alisa Česnulevičiūtė, Secretary General of the Lithuanian Volleyball Federation.
The first international session of the New Miracle project will take place at the beginning of February in Bratislava (Slovakia). It will be attended by six representatives from each of the five participating countries. Two more international sessions will follow.
The same methodological material is taught during the national sessions in all participating countries, therefore all participants have to do similar preparation for the international event.
The second New Miracle national session is planned for mid-March.