16 February 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa. When gsport founder and seasoned cricket commentator Kass Naidoo approached Henley Africa about supporting women in SA sport, she believed the school would offer some scholarships.
“Dean Jon Foster-Pedley immediately suggested we lift it to a higher level, take immediate action and start formulating a meaningful learning-based strategy to build a support movement,” says Naidoo. “He booked me into a session with systems thinking and strategy expert and Systemic Stairway author, Dr Julian Day and my learning journey began.”
The result is a first for stakeholders in the business of women’s sport. Twenty decision-makers, including leading sports federations, will gather on 16 Feb in a formal strategy session to map out priorities and actions to move women’s sport forward in capability, impact and commercially.
“Henley is committed to providing dynamic, grounded education for current and future business leaders that helps them succeed. We don’t just provide qualifications – we build the people who build the businesses that build Africa,” says Foster-Pedley, “earning a qualification is a wonderful achievement, but knowing how to use it to contribute to the continent is even better. We need leaders who are smart, ethical and knowledgeable This is why we decided to give Kass and her organization learning support immediately and help her apply it to the business challenge she faces.”
Naidoo embraced the opportunity and opened the process up to stakeholders from government to leaders of sporting bodies and their support teams.
“The idea was to create a divergent, inclusive container for role-players to contribute early to what we hope will become policy and practice guidelines, formalising channels and networks that have been less structured until now. Henley is well-known for applying learning to real business environments, and to creating new insights and research that help policy, and I felt that this was a good way to move from concept to action.”
The aim of the gsport/Henley collaboration is to create a practical framework to educate and grow international -level managers working to advance women in sport and build an industry commanding international respect.
“At Henley, we encourage all our partners to leverage the education we can provide to make things happen – to drive positive change and growth while contributing to society as they thrive, and Kass is going to do just that – we’re thrilled to be involved,” says Foster-Pedley.
Henley Business School Africa is a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. It holds elite triple international accreditation; has the number 1 business school alumni network in the world for potential to network (Economist 2017); and is the number 1 African-accredited and -campused business school in the world for executive education (FT 2018, 2020), as well as the number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR.Africa 2018, 2019, 2020)