New Miracle, a unique project of women’s leadership in sport initiated by the LNOC, closes

The international women’s leadership project New Miracle ended on a high note in Vilnius (Lithuania). 37 female sports managers from 4 countries attended the final training session, which took place for two days in the capital of Lithuania, where Annamarie Phelps, Vice Chair of the British Olympic Association, and Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, President of the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania (LNOC), Olympic champion, and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), shared their experience with the participants. Gabriela Muller, a renowned coach, conducted the training.

The 2.5-year New Miracle project was dedicated to promoting women’s leadership in sport, developing skills necessary for working in sports organisations, and building useful contacts. 

“When I was elected President of the LNOC in 2012, I was only the second female President in Europe. Currently we have 6 female leaders of National Olympic Committees on the continent. The number has grown, but it is still not enough. That is why I want to encourage, inspire and support women to aspire to be head coaches, secretaries-general, directors and presidents. 

This project has not only provided the participants with knowledge, but also the opportunity to meet like-minded people, share their stories and support each other. I am glad that such an initiative was born in Lithuania,” said LNOC President Ms Gudzinevičiūtė. 

In preparation for the project, a free training programme and an exclusive mentoring platform for female sports managers were developed, where the participants had the opportunity to get advice from experienced colleagues and improve their collaboration skills. The Italian, Latvian, Estonian and Slovak National Olympic Committees joined the LNOC initiated project.

Making aware of the international situation

A total of 100 female managers from 5 countries participated in the project. The initiative consisted of 4 national and 3 international sessions, during which the participants learned about project and change management, internal and external communication, branding, good governance, and leadership. 

Annamarie Phelps, Chair of the EOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission and Vice Chair of the British Olympic Association, also attended the final international training session in Vilnius.

In addition to her active participation in task solving, she also presented the IOC’s objectives and the steps it is taking towards gender equality. She pointed out that the current situation in sports organisations has been improving around the globe, but has not yet reached the targets. For example, the number of women on the Executive Committees of the European Olympic Committees is 27 per cent, compared to the IOC’s target of 30 per cent.  

“This project is an amazing opportunity for female participants to not only get to know themselves better, but also to gain inspiration, self-confidence and the skills to run for local and senior positions in sports federations. If we want Olympic sport to grow, we need female professionals.  With 50 per cent of the participants at the Paris Olympics being women, we need strong women in sports organisations to represent them well and to make the best decisions. In addition, it is known that organisations with a balance of male and female decision-makers perform better and are more successful,” commented Ms Phelps.

Training by a renowned coach

37 female managers from 4 countries took part in a two-day leadership training conducted by renowned coach Gabriela Muller. She works with organisations such as the IOC, FIFA, UEFA and others. 

On the first day of the training, the participants worked on teamwork, communication, personal branding and personal development through a series of practical tasks.

The second day explored the potential of artificial intelligence in sport and communication. Ms Muller talked about platforms that could help in everyday work. The second part of the training focused on social networks and their importance in building a personal brand.

The lead coach shared practical tips on how to present yourself in order to establish useful contacts and how to bring out your strengths.  “As a coach for this training, I wanted the participants to learn three things. To be prepared to become the leaders of the future, because the world is changing very fast and we need to keep up. I want them to step out of their comfort zone and realise that learning and growth only happen outside it. I also want them to find the content not only interesting but also inspiring,” said Ms Muller.