WIF Meets: Vivienne Long, Senior Commercial & Hospitality Executive at Luton Town FC and Barclays bursary recipient
At Women in Football, we are proud to deliver our Leadership Course to help women working in the game develop and enhance the leadership skills they need to thrive in their careers.
The interactive Leadership Course, which is supported by our lead partner Barclays, is especially exciting because it’s specifically curated by and for women working in the industry. All the course leaders and tutors have extensive experience of working in football and understand the challenges faced by football’s female workforce, including barriers to career progression.
We recently caught up with one of this year’s Barclays bursary recipients, Vivienne, to hear how she found the programme.
Vivienne currently works in the Commercial & Hospitality Department for Luton Town Football Club, developing and delivering a commercial strategy for the club by way of sponsorship and other general fundraising activities and events. What’s more, she is a First-Class Honours PR graduate, who was awarded the University of Bedfordshire Dean’s Marketing Student of the Year in 2013.
We sat down with Vivienne recently to hear how she found the course and if she would recommend applying for a Barclays bursary place to others, here’s what she had to say.
What was it that made you register your interest in Women in Football’s Leadership Course?
I applied for the Leadership Course because I wanted some guidance on how to develop myself to move up to the next level in my career. It was also a chance for some reassurance as I knew what I needed to do, but thought the course could help me to edge closer to the goal and also teach me new skills which would be useful and build upon what I knew.
What was your experience like on the course?
My experience on the course was overwhelmingly positive. I wasn’t sure what to expect prior to the course, but it exceeded any expectations I may have had. I have never been in the same space (albeit online due to Covid) with such positive and inspiring women from around the world who all have a passion to work in football. There was a lot of self-reflection and emotional moments, but to speak to and hear from women who think the same as you is invaluable and created a very supportive network. The coaching staff, especially Ebru Köksal, Monique Choudhuri, and Louise Matthews, were so inspiring, and made the course flow so well and gave some invaluable tips along the way.
What were some of the key takeaways?
My key takeaways from the course were to believe in myself more. I have the ability and the skills to do my role, but my self-belief was lacking. After finishing the course I am working more on building my personal brand and showing what I can offer to the world of football. I definitely have more confidence and am more vocal in conversations and the direction I would like my career progression to go in.
How do you plan to put what you’ve learnt into practice in your day job?
As part of the course, we had a module on creating a personal development plan and a group coaching session. The safe space of the group helped me to create a development plan and a timescale and gave me coaching tips and skills to enable me to put this plan forward to my senior within my workplace. Following the course, I have actually presented my plan to my senior and have a clearer structure and time scale on my development within my organisation and am using skills learnt from the course to strengthen my position in my organisation going forward.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying for a Barclays bursary on the Leadership Course?
To anyone who is thinking of applying for a bursary to go on the Leadership Course, I would say do it. I was nervous at the start, but the group was extremely welcoming and it was a pleasure to take part. The course really makes you look within yourself and teaches you ways to develop as a leader, using your own personality and characteristics, not just by using a “one size fits all” approach.
The toolkit I have taken from the course will go a long way to helping me to achieve my career goals, build on my personal brand and confidence. It has also given me connections from the footballing world and created a network of like-minded, confident, driven women.
What are you waiting for?
There’s some insight into how Women in Football’s Leadership Course with Barclays has the ability to shape careers, inspire confidence and kickstart a new approach to professional development, thank you so much to Vivienne for speaking with us. The programme really does benefit women working in football at all levels, from those just starting out through to women in director-level roles, so if you’re considering applying, we say go for it!
We’re a supportive bunch here at Women in Football and welcome Leadership Course applications from any woman committed to cultivating a career in football.
Women in Football and Barclays also recognise there is significant work to be done to advance race equity in the football industry and we are committed to providing greater access to opportunities for women from ethnic backgrounds currently underrepresented in football. In support of this, we’ve teamed up with Barclays to provide a bursary place on each of our Leadership Courses for women from black, Asian, or other minority ethnic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in our industry. The bursary scheme enables Women in Football to connect with women from a range of ethnic backgrounds and support them as they ascend the career ladder.
To find out more information about our Leadership Course, including the Barclays bursary, click here.