FIS Leads In Contributing To International Sport Webinars

This week, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis represented FIS in two international seminars: she joined the IOC’s IF Gender Equality Webinar Series on Monday before speaking on location in Lausanne at the International Federation Seminar on the topic of Crisis Communications to around 50 Communications Directors on Tuesday. 

IF Gender Equality Webinar

Starting this Monday, the IOC, ASOIF and AIOWF is holding six different seminars in an IF Gender Equality Webinar Series aimed at supporting IFs in the work needed to reach gender equality at all levels and in all aspects of the organisation. The webinars will continue on the 14th and 23rd of September under the leadership of Marisol Casado, IOC member and Chair of the ASOIF Diversity and Gender Equality Group.

In Monday’s first session, after presentations from World Athletics and Rowing, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis explained how FIS established the Gender Equity Working Group that introduced gender-balance targets for committees giving women access to the networking opportunities. She also demonstrated how workshops for emerging female technical officials and leaders can build empowerment and create a network for like-minded females within the organisation. 

Lewis noted that, while the FIS is very strong on the field of play with balanced sports and media coverage that is focused on athlete performance, it is unfortunately not reflected “around the tables”, where FIS ranked 31 out of 35 in the Olympic Sports Federations in terms of number of female committee members so there is still room for improvement.

Part of this work for improvement has been moving swiftly forward since the FIS launched its Gender Equity Working Group in 2018 to address gender balance, review FIS policies, regulations and rules, and highlight the areas where gender equality needs to be promoted. The working group has established five goals over the next in five years. Lewis highlighted one of these goals, which is key to moving towards gender equality: “Establish realistic goals and define practical targets.” 

FIS is aiming to become a role model with gender-balance initiatives and activities in the international sports family. Part of the goal consists of working with its national associations, motivating them to be active on gender equality and giving them support when needed such as fast-tracking identified candidates such as former athletes as technical officials, experienced organisers as committee representatives and mentoring. Lewis added that it was the IFs’ role to “give them a tool, encourage them!”

You can find an entertaining video of Monday’s complete webinar here:

Four more virtual sessions are planned to facilitate group discussions on priority topics that were originally planned to be discussed during the 5th IF Gender Equality Forum, namely:  

  • Leadership: Coaches and Technical Officials (September 14th)
  • Portrayal and Safe Sport (September 23rd)

Interested participants for the remaining four seminars are encouraged to register here:

Seminar on IF Crisis Communications in Lausanne

On Tuesday, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis spoke at International Federation Seminar to around 50 Communications Directors with the title: “Crisis Communication: How can IFs best prepare for and manage a crisis? at the Synathlon at Lausanne University which was the main headquarters of the memorable Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

She spoke about the experiences of FIS at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected the first official Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Test Event and historic FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Yanqing (CHN) which had to be cancelled. Following on from that were the consequences of other events around the world as the pandemic spread globally. Finally Lewis concluded the presentation with the FIS Communications policy for Covid-19 which has been established to handle any occurrences during the upcoming season. 

As a complimentary service to International Federations, the Olympic Capital Lausanne organises a series of eight seminars directed at the different departments/activities within an International Federation. 

International federations and their members may be faced with various crises or issues that can damage their reputation and, by ripple effect, their sport. With the world being increasingly connected, the risk of having to handle a crisis – regardless of its nature – is therefore significantly higher today than before.  

Providing expert views from both inside and outside the sports industry, the seminar aimed at including an overview of state-of-the-art techniques of crisis communications as well as relevant case studies to demonstrate real-life implementation. All this should contribute to the ultimate goal of the seminar to provide IF staff with tangible take-aways which they can use in their day-to-day work.

Besides Sarah Lewis, Rolf Olsen, CEO of Communications Agency Leidar gave the theoretical background into crisis communications and shared practical cases, mainly from outside the sports world, while Michael Philipps, Head of Crisis Communications at Philip Morris International gave insights from the industry point of view.

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