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Saturday , July , 21 2018

Network, talk, share and support – keep up the good words

The Women in Racing Annual General Meeting report 2017

By WiR Member Elizabeth Peel, The Lion Associates

Julie Deadman, Women in Racing Chair, opened the AGM and took the opportunity to confirm that during a busy year the committee has remained dedicated to adding value to WiR members and consolidating the group’s position within the racing industry. It is very encouraging that the committee is regularly being invited by the media to comment and share opinions on racing and diversity topics.

The ongoing partnership with Jockey Club Racecourses North West and the continued support of Nolan Partners has been further enhanced through collaboration with Oxford Brookes University and demonstrates a key WiR value – the desire to harness the power of teamwork.

Committee reports

Clare Bethall, membership

  • 23% increase in the total number of members since 2016
  • 54% of new subscriptions are through recommendations
  • Networking and events are key drivers to member acquisition – the Grand Womens’ Summit at Aintree’s Grand National fixture saw a healthy number of new applications
  • Industry bodies, key organisations and racecourse staff still form the majority of the membership
  • Trainers, jockeys and breeding/bloodstock staff remain under-represented

Naomi Mellor, treasurer

  • Finances are in a healthy state with £3,485 income over the year from subscriptions and proceeds from events
  • Total income in the account is £8k with some sponsorship money still expected, which makes up significant income
  • Plans are being boosted to increase the funds available for the Bursary Fund in order to build on that support for members (see below)

Susannah Gill, policy

  • 2016/17 has been a breakthrough year
  • The diversity report (launched on the conclusion of the AGM) provides tangible evidence and research to back up perceptions and highlight opportunities and challenges

Elizabeth Özkaya, events

  • Every WiR event offers members an opportunity to network and share insight
  • Feedback on events is welcome so that WiR can continue to offer new and exciting venues and discussion topics

Tallulah Lewis, website and marketing

  • As a shop window to the group the WiR website has been refreshed and updated
  • There will always be room for improvement and the next focus is on the Members’ area and Resources section so that it can a useful tool for members
  • The website can be used to connect online and share knowledge
  • Traffic to the website peaks and troughs as expected but it’s encouraging that session duration is increasing and this should be improved upon further through the development of relevant content

Harriet Rochester, communications

  • The key PR message is to continue to grow as a powerful voice, the key focus in 2016/17 has been to capitalise on the Oxford Brookes University research
  • A huge amount of coverage has been achieved ahead of the diversity report’s publication (following the AGM substantial further coverage was also achieved across multiple media and social media outlets)
  • Continued coverage builds confidence to take messages out to a wider media beyond racing
  • Media relations is a two-way relationship and WiR wants to be on the front foot

Fiona Hinds, bursary

  • The bursary allows up to £2k to any eligible WiR member to enhance career opportunities
  • The target for 2017/18 is to raise £3k for the fund through raffles and proceeds from events
  • Targets will be more ambitious in 2018/19
  • Internal systems and processes will be improved with better guidance for members made available on the website

Lauren Dobson, mentoring

  • The WiR bursary is the first programme to be established within racing itself and offers huge benefits
  • Fifteen partnerships have been created and are active
  • Three new partnerships were established at the 2016 AGM
  • Mentors and mentees attend an annual mentoring workshop

Committee and elections

  • Standing down in 2017: Harriet Rochester, Eileen Harte and Eleanor Boden
  • Elected to the committee in 2017: Lynn Tomkins
  • Reappointed to the committee in 2017: Lauren Dobson and Julie Deadman

Presentation by Jason Fildes, General Manager at Haydock Park

  • Jockey Club Racecourses North West is passionate about supporting women in racing, and women in sport in general
  • The Haydock Park Development Award (a £20k award to support personal development) was won by Emma Sayer in 2016, who has become an ambassador for the award
  • As well as the development fund the feature race of the Haydock Park fixture, the Betfred Ladies Trophy Handicap Stakes, is one of the richest female-only races in Europe at £20k
  • For 2017 the Award is linking the Carlisle Ladies Race Day on August 7 with Haydock Park’s fixture on August 12 with the award going to the winning female jockey at both Carlisle and Haydock
  • Continue to work alongside WiR and also Arena Racing Company’s (ARC) Silk Series and working with local communities
  • Haydock Park will be profiling a shortlist of contenders and highlighting their career successes to help make the wider public aware of their achievements

In summary…

The main call to action for WiR members in the coming months is to keep sharing the work of WiR in your networks. Word of mouth is powerful, as important within personal networks as it is within professional groups – so keep up the good words.


WiR Bursary awards

Find out how to apply...

Elizabeth Armstrong (right) receives her £2,000 bursary award, to support a solo London exhibition, from WiR committee member Naomi Mellor.

Vanessa Ryle (left) receives her £650 bursary award, to cover costs of a TV presentation course to develop her role with At The Races, from WiR committee member Fiona Hind.