Jennifer Dodds from Scotland and Fiona Grace Simpson of Portugal will be part of the Women in Sport High Performance Pathway (WISH) beginning this August. WISH is a 21-month leadership programme that equips ambitious women coaches to succeed in obtaining roles at elite coaching levels within their sports.
The objectives of the programme are to further develop sport-specific skills, build leaders and increase confidence in the participants.
Between 2019 and 2021, 26 women from six sports across 23 nations took part in a pilot programme.
In May 2023, the fourth cohort of the programme launched with two curling coaches. The programme consists of a five-day residential stay to be held in August 2023, in the United Kingdom. Following that, the course will be delivered online.
Dodds is an Olympic gold medallist from 2022, representing Great Britain in the women’s competition. She is also a world mixed doubles champion and European women’s champion.
Dodds reflects on being selected for the programme, saying, “I’m really looking forward to starting the WISH course. Being a full-time athlete for ten years, now I’m looking forward to combining my playing experience and the learning and development from this high-quality course, aimed to help women coach at the elite level.
“I’m excited to hear and learn from the coaches from other sports as we can share and discuss experiences. I think this course is important to encourage women to coach at the elite level as in PyeongChang only 9% of the overall coaches were women.
“With the course focusing on self-development, empowering others and driving performance, it can help with my coaching but also can transfer over to my continuing athlete career.”
Fiona Grace Simpson represented Italy in four World Senior Curling Championships, winning a silver medal in 2015. In May 2023, she played for Portugal at the European Curling Championship C-Division where she finished fourth.
After being selected to take part in the programme, she says, “Personal growth for me is an integral part of my life journey, being empowered to communicate and share with others so they can maximise the enjoyment and success of their experiences is of great value to me.
Regarding her expectations towards the programme, she adds, “I expect to discover insights about myself, acquire in-depth communication and leadership competencies. I sincerely believe and promote equity and inclusion. I am extremely grateful to the World Curling Federation for this opportunity.
“I am working my way through the preparatory logistics and personal assessment assignments needed for the residential week in August.”
WISH is supported by the Olympic Solidarity Programme of the International Olympic Committee, the Unitersity of Herthfordshire, United Kingdom and the Females Achieving Brilliance network.