The R&A - Working for Golf

Influential women recognised at summit

A leadership summit, aimed at helping women work together to achieve their ambitions, was today held for a second year on the eve of the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The R&A Women’s Leadership Summit, staged in the clubhouse at Royal Lytham & St Annes, built on 2017’s inaugural event when a group of 21 women came together in the clubhouse of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

This year, almost 90 influential women from across business, education, sport, arts and the media met for the larger event, featuring presentations and discussion in a collaborative setting.

The summit was again organised by Sky Sports Golf presenter and businesswoman, Sarah Stirk, who this year founded the Reach platform to help women reach the top of their professions, notably in business and sport.

Keynote sessions at the summit featured: inequality in the workplace and how things are changing; pay equality; and what business can learn from sport and vice versa.

Sarah Stirk said, “I am passionate about equal opportunities and rights for women, particularly in the sporting and business worlds, so it was wonderful to build on last year’s summit by bringing together a larger community of accomplished and successful women at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

“We are building a community of women leaders who share a passion for delivering equality and diversity in the workplace and using the power of major sport to bring people together in an atmosphere that rewards those who strive to be the best.”

Supporters of the summit included The R&A, Ricoh, Sky Sports, Jupiter Asset Management and Lookers plc.

For the first time, an awards dinner was held after the summit in the Champions Club on the course at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, with inaugural recipients across five categories:

  • The R&A Advocate of the Year Award – Emily Cox MBE, Director of Public Affairs at Virgin Money and founder of Women in Finance
  • Sky Sports Outstanding Sporting Achievement Award – Joanna Adams, Chief Executive of England Netball
  • Ricoh Pioneer Award – Kanya King MBE, founder of the MOBO Awards
  • Jupiter Asset Management Difference Maker Award – Gemma Greaves, Chief Executive of The Marketing Society
  • Lookers Leader of Tomorrow Award – Caroline Hazlehurst, Director of Operations at Deliveroo

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, who took part in a Q&A session ahead of the awards, said: “Last year we welcomed Sarah to St Andrews for her first summit for women leaders and we are delighted to see this collaborative leadership event grow.

“We are pleased to support it again, especially at a time when, through initiatives such as The R&A Women in Golf Charter, golf is trying harder to attract more women and girls to play golf and work in our sport.”

The R&A launched the Women in Golf Charter earlier this year with the aim of inspiring an industry-wide commitment to a more inclusive culture, enabling women and girls to flourish and reach their potential at all levels of the sport.

A dedicated Women and Girls’ Week is also being staged by the golfing associations in Great Britain and Ireland this week, building on the excitement created by the Ricoh Women’s British Open.