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Women in Sport - 15 years and Still Going Strong

As co-owner of Radiator Communications, Gaby Jesson reminisces on 15 years as a woman working in the business of sport & fitness…. & shares a few things she’s learned along the way…

•        Never laugh AT David Beckham!
DB is still my fave sportsman of all time and so it was a dream come true to work with him on his football Academy in Greenwich, London. However after a tiring day of interviews, we were on the last one of the day and this particularly journalist made a cheeky quip about what David ate at the weekends – suggesting this might not always be healthy!. In defence, DB could’ve have been tired too but he didn’t like the insinuation and whilst I was giggling with the journo, DB stayed stone-faced & looked miffed. I quickly composed myself - & even kept a straight face when DB was munching on a Nandos a few hours later…

•        Footballers are really different to skateboarders
Although we’ve never offered athlete management services at Radiator, we spend a lot of time working with a whole variety of athletes at sports events. My business partner, Lorna was an early pioneer in promoting extreme sports & I will never forget when she took me to my first European Skateboard event. I felt honoured to meet  some of Europes’ top extreme sports athletes & then noticed the very same people building the actual ramp themselves – complete with drills and sheets of plywood. I loved this aspect of the sport and wondered whether any of the premier league footballers I worked with would ever help mow the grass at their football club? Not!

•        Female sport has come a long way
Even though as I write this – there is a big debate regarding lack of sponsorship for female athletes & sport events – the evolution of female sport has been fantastic. When we set up Radiator, I created a women in sport networking group and we got behind a campaign to allow football agent, Rachel Anderson – access to the PFA Awards. Can you believe that she was barred because of her gender? Unbelievable. Credit to the awards organizers, they did change the rules the next year. This Girl Can has raised the profile of female sport participation – lets hope that follows through in actual participation figures too. Doing regular sport has definitely helped me cope with the rollercoaster of life!

•        The next generation?
We work with many brands targeting young consumers & we can see that more & more of this is going to be through the window of sport & fitness. Tackling the obesity issue and continuing the post Olympic momentum are the most obvious causes behind this but also schools are becoming more active in ensuring sport is a positive and fun activity for young people. I applaud all of this change but really want the word SPORT to be tackled too. For many young people, it has such a negative connotation – and sport actually comes in many different guises – from dance to archery to wakeboarding…..

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