Women working in cycling will have a new platform to connect and learn from some of the most influential female leaders in the industry – with the launch of a new initiative to inspire the next generation of talent.
The career mentorship programme aims to give women in the industry access to a network of senior female professionals who have already made an impact in the bike business.
Mentors, who include leaders from a wide range of brands, businesses and organisations including Zwift, Liv, Specialized, Cannondale, SRAM and British Cycling, will provide one-to-one support to the mentees, guiding, inspiring and hopefully building their confidence, enabling them to better navigate their future careers.
Uplift already has a senior female talent pool from across the globe and aims to play a part in creating momentum for positive change within the bike industry.
The ultimate goal of Uplift is to support and accelerate the progress of women working in cycling by fostering stronger networks, increasing the visibility of female role models and bolstering the confidence of the mentees to take on new challenges.
This initiative comes at a timely moment for the industry, following the publishing last month of The Bicycle Association’s ‘Diversity In the Cycling Industry: International Perception Survey Report’.
That identified the predominantly male demographic of the industry, particularly at the most senior levels, and the impact on female staff retention due to the perceived barriers for some.
Each successful applicant will be matched with up to three mentors, with pairing based on their unique professional profile.
They will be allocated up to four hour-long sessions, during which they can talk openly and candidly about career challenges and opportunities, with the mentors sharing experiences and guidance to instil confidence in the next generation of industry leaders.
Uplift was conceived by Rachael Burnside, business director at Shift Active Media.
Having personally benefited from a similar mentoring scheme outside the bike industry, she experienced the benefits that providing direct access to female leadership brings:
Burnside said: “I hope that Uplift can provide advice, direction, and help in situations that sometimes only other women will really understand.
“This initiative will hopefully help aspiring leaders build confidence and make connections with women in leadership positions who have successfully navigated their own careers.
“That’s why I’m taking the lead on this initiative and Shift is fully backing and supporting me in this endeavour”
Female leaders from some of the biggest brands in the cycling industry across sales, marketing, partnerships, strategy, racing, public relations and external affairs have signed up, including:
- Géraldine Bergeron, European partnership marketing manager, SRAM
- Rachael Burnside, business director, Shift Active Media
- Kelly Booth, commercial account director, Rouleur
- Sasha Castling, head of PR, Ribble Cycles
- Nikki Hawes, country leader UK, Cannondale
- Caroline Julian, external affairs director, British Cycling
- Christina Lindquist, global marketing director, Rapha
- Mei Rider, chief marketing officer, BMC
- Cassondra Spring, global brand manager, Liv
- Kate Veronneau, director of women’s strategy, Zwift
- Elizabeth Walker, team manager, Liv Factory Racing & Liv Racing Collective
- Hollie Weatherstone, global head of marketing, Muc-Off
- Kirsty Woodcock, head of marketing, Specialized
Kate Veronneau, director of women’s Strategy at Zwift, and Uplift mentor, said: “What a great time to be working in women’s sports. With the increased visibility and investment in women’s cycling, we’re seeing new opportunities not just for the athletes, but for all the women in and around the sport.
“More women being elevated means more women will be in a position to impact the future of the sport and mentor the next generation of young women trying to build a career in cycling. This is how you institute real change.”
Caroline Julian, external affairs director at British Cycling, and Uplift mentor, added: “The Uplift mentoring programme is something I wish I had in my early career. This is a brilliant opportunity to support and inspire the next generation of women in the cycling industry and I’m excited to be involved.”
Women currently working in cycling, or those looking to join or return to the industry are now invited to apply for the limited number of places in the inaugural year of the Uplift programme.
Applications close on Monday, October 2. For more information, or to apply, visit: shiftactivemedia.com/uplift