SailGP, a global leader in purpose driven and sustainable sport, and its Exclusive Financial Solutions Partner, Apex Group, have today launched the league’s first ever Women’s Accelerator Program. Having signed a new three-year sponsorship deal in June 2023, SailGP and Apex Group have been working together to bring the latter’s change-making Women’s Accelerator Program into the world of sport for the first time.

The recent 2023 McKinsey Women in the Workplace report, the largest study of women in corporate America, recorded that there are only 28% women at C-Suite/Senior Vice President level, 37% at Senior Manager/Director Level and 40% at Manager level. SailGP’s figures are higher with 36% at Head of Department level and 42% at Director level, however there is still a gap at the top that this program will seek to close.

Season 4 // Apex Women's Accelerator Program announcement // Swiss F50 WPP training in AD

In partnership with Apex Group, the program aims to increase representation of women at senior management levels, working towards driving more inclusive decision making through the league and the wider sport. Breaking boundaries in sailing since October 2021, SailGP’s Women’s Pathway ensures female athletes race on board all ten national teams at every single SailGP event, a milestone for women's sailing. The league has an ambition to have a female driver by Season 6.

The program is based upon Apex Group’s Women’s Accelerator Program, which was designed and launched in January 2022. It has proven to break down gender-related barriers in the 13,000 strong financial services giant, as it operates in another traditionally male dominated industry. Over 50% of Apex Group’s participants secured promotions, progression or new roles in its inaugural program, and the firm doubled the size of its intake the following year.

Season 4 // Apex Women's Accelerator Program announcement // Female athletes with Swiss F50

The program was conceived by Apex Group’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Rosie Guest, who said: “When we were originally discussing a potential partnership with SailGP, one of the most important things to both businesses was how we could be mutually impactful for one another in the areas that matter most. The discussion became really animated when we started talking about our Internal Women’s Accelerator Program within Apex Group, and the tangible and immediate improvements in gender equity we’d seen as a result. We are now extremely proud to be able to share that IP with SailGP and guide them in the construction and delivery of a Women’s Accelerator Program for both their athletes and corporate team members, to ultimately support progression in another equally male dominated industry. I can’t wait to see the results of the program at the end of this year!”

The program is designed to provide all participants with support and tools that enable progression within SailGP and beyond. In addition to being part of an intimate, global peer group consisting of four SailGP athletes and eight workforce members from various business departments, participants will move through the program together and can expect the following opportunities:

  • Sessions with inspirational leaders in key areas that women are known to face during career progression, both in sport and in business.
    Peer learning via round table sessions, small group coaching, and the ‘Accelerator Project’
  • Support through coaching and mentoring and the opportunity to refine their own mentorship skills
  • Reflection to recognize their progress made on their leadership journey
    Support to create and implement their own development plan

Fiona Morgan, Chief Purpose Officer at SailGP, said: “It’s easy to get lost in the challenges and barriers faced when driving inclusivity in sport and business. It is vitally important that we keep pushing and showing the value of change. SailGP has an ambition to be the most inclusive league in sailing and change the face of the sport. We are proud of the Women’s Pathway program but we are fully aware that we can do more and need to do more. This first ever Women’s Accelerator Program, with thanks to the Apex Group, has the potential to make a real difference both on and off the water and I am so proud of the program to drive more inclusive leadership”

SailGP Chief People Officer Jon Massie added: “This program is a real testament to the importance that SailGP holds in pushing change and achieving our ambition to be the most inclusive league in sailing and shaping the future of the sport. It's been excellent to work with Apex Group to help curate this program and take this next step towards further closing the gender gap in leadership. As a male ally, I look forward to supporting the development and progression of this excellent first class of SailGP's Women's Accelerator Program over the course of this year and witnessing change across our league and hopefully the wider sport.”