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Women in rugby

Leadership program scholar

Reflections from Rowena’s coach, Janani D’Silva, Head of Culture, Engagement and Early Careers

On tackling the big topics with a co-coaching approach

Janani: Rowena and I took a co-coaching approach in our catchups, which I found really beneficial. It was intriguing to speak to someone from a completely different walk of life, and great to see that I could learn just as much from her as she could from me, and that there are common themes across the business and sporting worlds. I really enjoyed being able to share our learnings and talk about things from our different points of view.

We united over common goals – which were all about having equality, recognition and leadership opportunities in women’s sport and in business – and then drew parallels and discussed the things we need to tackle.

Representation matters

Janani: We shared our experiences as women in positions of leadership, and what this means for us. A really interesting learning for me was that Rowena got into governance roles because she is interested in strategy and business; she didn’t do it because she wanted to be a woman on a rugby board. But when she took on these roles, she saw what was needed and said, “I am here, and this is what I need to do. What can I do to make sure that I’m not the only woman, and to help get more women in these roles?”

As women leaders, we’re all on the same path, at different stages of it, all pioneering in our own lives and on our own patches of grass, joined by a common purpose, which is to create change for an equal and fair society.

We talked about what we can do in both the tech and sports worlds to shift the dialogue and create visibility and pathways to these roles for women. Whether it’s women leading the way in tech or in sport, how do we help to create an environment where women can have a great game of rugby – or deliver a project – and their ‘delivery excellence’ will be celebrated and enjoyed, irrespective of their gender?

One of the biggest themes that came through for both of us, I think, is that representation matters. It’s important for us to be able to use our positions to open doors and, through our own examples, show women what’s possible – and to make sure that they know that there is plenty of room for them.

We talked a lot about how we do this. Profile building can feel pretty uncomfortable. How do we ‘represent’ and show our value and stop worrying about being a ‘tall poppy’ and being cut down to size, or being seen as self-promoting? It’s an interesting balance, but it can be done with finesse and class!

More information about the Capgemini Women in Leadership program:

Women in Rugby International Summit and Events connect Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme participants

World Rugby interview with Rowena Davenport: Rowena Davenport keen to use seat at the table to advocate for change

Capgemini’s passion for women’s rugby

Rowena’s Capgemini transformation story

Capgemini scholar Ada Milby’s transformation storyCapgemini scholar Becky Davies’ transformation story