International Women's Day 2024 // Philippa Bushell, Digital Tech Lead

SailGP celebrates Inspiring Women driving SailGP forward for International Women's Day 2024 - proudly recognizing and honoring the invaluable contributions of the incredible women within our organization, particularly those driving innovation and excellence in technology.

In the lead up to #IWD2024 this Friday, we shine a spotlight on the remarkable females in tech at SailGP whose passion, expertize, and leadership continue to propel us forward. From technology products to data analytics, from software development to broadcast operations, these trailblazers embody the spirit of innovation and empower our organization to reach new heights.

Philippa is SailGP's Digital Tech Lead and assists with the management of the global sporting league's website, applications and more. Her most recent project included working with her team on the coding for the re-launch of SailGP's Simulator in Sydney two weeks ago. Read more about Philippa's interesting journey into tech and SailGP below.

Philippa IWD

Can you share with us your journey into the world of tech and how you became involved with SailGP?

I was a primary school teacher for 5 years before deciding I was ready for a career change. I wanted to do something completely different and both my dad and brother were software developers so thought I would give it a try. I did a 12 week coding bootcamp at Northcoders and after finishing I got a job there teaching others how to code (a perfect mix of my new and previous skills). I came to SailGP because my now manager had also done Northcoders several years before me, and had advertised a role in Northcoders Slack. What attracted me to SailGP was its Purpose - its commitment to the environment and the climate crisis and its initiatives to make the sport more inclusive, diverse and accessible.

What are the specific roles and responsibilities you undertake within SailGP?

Our team is responsible for maintaining and improving all the SailGP websites and applications. I work on new features and fix bugs before a race weekend to maximize fan engagement. Our most recent project was the SailGP Hospitality Simulator application which debuted at the Sydney event. This project is an application that lets fans have a go at racing a virtual F50 on a SailGP event race course. My role involves writing code for front end and back end applications, as well as supporting other team members and making technical decisions throughout a project.

As a woman working in a predominantly male-dominated industry, what challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?

Imposter syndrome is a constant challenge that I think many women in tech can relate to. A top tip I was once told is that we're always comparing our inner selves to everyone else's outer selves/representations and that it's not a fair comparison. It's more likely than not that everyone else is just as insecure - they're just good at hiding it!

boat IWD

In your opinion, what unique perspectives or strengths do women bring to the world of sport and to SailGP in particular?

I think making space for any underrepresented group within an organisation (at senior levels particularly) is always going to result in positive change. SailGP has a mission to diversify sailing's fanbase. It is more likely to succeed and understand those target groups if it has staff members who represent them.

How do you envision the future of women's involvement and leadership roles within SailGP and the broader sailing community, and what steps do you believe are necessary to continue promoting gender equity and diversity in the sport?

I think the future of female leadership at SailGP is very bright thanks to initiatives like the Women's Accelerator Program, Women's Pathway and the Women of SailGP group. I really look forward to seeing the outcome of these programs and celebrating the success of female sailors and members of staff. I've recently joined SailGP's Inclusion Action Group and it's fantastic to be part of a committee where everyone is dedicated to making positive change and wants to do the work to bring that change about. One of the initiatives I'm involved with with the IAG is 'Inclusive Presentation' - making sure that across the organization we are promoting inclusivity and representation, whether that be in branding, images, broadcast and beyond.
To keep promoting gender equity and diversity in sport, allyship is really important. It's not something that women can do alone. Everyone is responsible for promoting inclusivity within the sport.

Who inspires you within your life?

Gina Martin is a big inspiration. She's a gender equity campaigner and is truly intersectional in her activism.