Fran Boorman

Ready to Board: mentors from football industry to guide women

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Fran Boorman
FIFPRO’s Ready to Board program is moving into its second phase.

The program, in collaboration with Women in Football, is helping 14 women develop towards leadership roles in the football industry.

FIFPRO has featured some of their stories, including Ciara McCormack, a Canadian player helping athletes to combat sexual abuse; Khadija Timera, a Senegalese business school graduate supporting African footballers and Graciana Ravello, a Uruguayan lawyer representing women footballers on a pro-bono basis.

In the first part of the program, they focused on their personal development. In the next phase, they will choose a mentor who can help them reach their objective in the industry. This part of the program is being overseen by Fran Boorman, whose company focuses on mentoring in sports.

We spoke to Boorman about Ready to Board and her work in the football industry.

What happens next for the Ready to Board participants?
We are teaching the participants how to find a mentor. We have asked them to draw up an avatar of the perfect person.

When selecting their perfect mentor, they must focus on their objective and decide who is the right person to help them get there?

If they know that person, that’s great. If they do not, maybe they know someone who does who can put them in contact.

Fran Boorman2
Top: Fran Boorman at Premier League club West Ham, and above receiving an award for her work

What kind of mentors do you expect they will pick?

We are hoping to find 14 mentors from across the industry to put together an elite group of mentors.
I would expect a complete mix of male, female and completely different ethnicities.

We will tell the Ready to Board participants how to make sure that the mentor will say: hell yes, I’m going to mentor you.

What will the experience be like for the mentors?
One of the things that potential mentors worry about is it taking up too much of their time.

Therefore we make sure it will be structured into 30 minute meetings. There won’t be coffee chats that go on for a long time.

There is so much in it for the mentors, as well. It gives people confidence when they realize how valuable their lived experience is, and it improves their own leadership skills.

“We have worked with West Ham, Southampton and Leicester on projects in which their staff mentor young people in their community”

How did you begin your company?
The key to the success of my previous company, an online retailer, was our mentoring scheme. So I set up Goal 17 to advise other organizations how to do this. The name comes from the 17th and final United Nations sustainable development goal: Partnerships.

A meeting I had with the CEO of the Manchester United foundation and that set off projects with other Premier League clubs West Ham, Southampton and Leicester. Staff mentor young people in their club’s community who don’t have much chance in their lives.

For the last year I have been working with Women in Football. They brought us in to structure the mentoring that they have already been doing to help get more women into leadership positions in football.

How long will the Ready to Board mentoring last?
The mentors and mentees will meet in June for the first time, and then every month until the graduation at the end of November.

It should be a very positive experience with a ripple effect – sharing your story as a mentor on social media can inspire others.

It will be so powerful to get women and people from different ethnic backgrounds in the boardroom.