At the start of 2024, SailGP and its Exclusive Financial Solutions Partner, Apex Group, launched the global sporting league’s first ever Women’s Accelerator Program. Having signed a new three-year sponsorship deal in June 2023, SailGP and Apex Group have worked together to bring the latter’s change-making Women’s Accelerator Program into the world of sport for the first time. 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.

Next up in this spotlight series, we feature Hayley Blum, Head of Commercial Operations USA. Find out more about Hayley below.

Hayley Blum WAP

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

My journey into marketing/advertising started at the University of Texas where I studied in the communications school and fell in love connecting brand stories to the human psyche. I began my professional career at prominent digital advertising agencies and honed my skills in media buying, project management, and brand strategy while working with clients such as Delta Airlines, FitBit, and the Bacardi portfolio brands. I transitioned these skills into playing a pivotal role building the commercial marketing & revenue strategy team at Barstool Sports where I helped propel commercial revenue three-fold in my tenure at the company. My background in high-growth properties, revenue strategy, and innovative commercial partnerships made for a perfect fit for my current role with SailGP!

What does your day to day look like? What are the specific roles and responsibilities you undertake within SailGP?

Everyday I am thinking about how I can bring revenue into the league. From making new industry connections, educating brands on SailGP, and developing bespoke pitches for interested partners, my day to day often is never the same! As I lead business development in the US, my responsibility lies in fostering strategic relationships within the market, uncovering new revenue streams, and monetizing SailGP's local and global assets.

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

Sports most definitely is a male-dominated industry, but commercial sales in sports is even more so male-dominated. The biggest challenge I face is gaining respect from peers and breaking-through when trying to make new relationships with prospective partners. I have found that you often don't need to be the loudest in the room in order to make an impact; quiet creativity and listening before providing an idea or POV has helped me gain trust and respect. Additionally, I have surrounded myself with other women in the industry as a sounding board for challenges I face and this has helped tremendously when navigating new obstacles.

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

I believe the more minds in the room, the better! Different perspectives bring new ideas that may have not been thought of before. Women in sports may have a unique perspective on fandom, what drives loyalty, and how to achieve gender equity in many aspects of business and sport.

Now a few months into the Women's Accelerator Program, what have been some of the successes from the program so far?

It has been such a pleasure meeting other like-minded women who are also participating in the program. Although many of us work in different departments of business, everyone brings a unique view of a situation which has helped me navigate day to day challenges. I have uncovered my working style and how to best work with other working styles, gained more confidence, and even hosted two panels!

What specific goals or aspirations do you hope to achieve through your involvement in the accelerator program?

I hope to continue to develop my communication and interpersonal skills to best excel in leading business development for SailGP.

What are you most looking forward to getting out of this program?

I am most looking forward to continuing to create meaningful relationships with other SailGP Women's Accelerator Program participants and to showcase my leadership skills within the organization through the program.

Starts November

Season 4 Grand Final