IBU Mentorship Programme: Empowering Future Female Leaders in Biathlon

The International Biathlon Union proudly continues its commitment to gender equality and professional development with the 2023/2024 IBU Mentorship Programme. Held from June 8th to 10th, 2024, in Lenzerheide (SUI), this initiative, developed in collaboration with SheSkillzGlobal, aims to empower former female athletes and prepare them for leadership and other essential roles within the biathlon community.

The IBU Mentorship Programme targets former World Cup and IBU Cup level female athletes who have retired from the sport within the past five seasons. The goal is to support these athletes transition into new roles within their National Federations (NFs) or other biathlon-related organizations. Each mentee is seen as a potential leader and is supported through a comprehensive program that includes individual mentoring, group tasks, webinars, and workshops focused on leadership skills development.

Key Features of the Second Edition of the Programme

  • Individual Mentoring: Each mentee was paired with both an IBU mentor with extensive biathlon knowledge and a SheSkillzGlobal mentor from business. This dual mentorship ensures that the mentees received well-rounded guidance and support.

  • Webinars and Workshops: The programm included a series of webinars and workshops that covered various topics such as leadership skills, communication, storytelling, and understanding the international sport movement. These sessions are designed to equip mentees with the skills they need to excel in their new roles.

  • In-Person Meetings: An in-person meeting in Lenzerheide provided an opportunity for mentees to interact with the IBU Executive Board members and the MGM team, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the organization.

Participants and Their Journey

This year’s mentees were diverse group of former biathletes who are eager to develop their skills and contribute to the biathlon community. The 2023/2024 mentees included Anaïs Bescond from France, Karin Oberhofer from Italy, Anna Kitzbichler from Austria, Mihaela Visinski from Croatia, Sanja Kusmuk from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Susan Dunklee from the United States, Karolina Dusilová from the Czech Republic, Monika Hojnisz-Starega from Poland, Kristina Skjevdal from Norway, Nika Blaženić from Slovenia, Mina Ilić from Serbia, and Kaisa Mäkäräinen from Finland. These highly motivated women bring diverse experiences in biathlon and aspire to develop professionally within the biathlon community or become even more involved in the organization.

Quotes from Key Figures

IBU President Olle Dahlin shared his enthusiasm for the programme, stating:

The IBU Mentorship Programme is significant in our ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality. Our goal is clear: to empower women in biathlon and break down barriers.

Guro A. Johnsen, CEO of SheSkillzGlobal, added:

To grow, we must continually challenge ourselves and be challenged by others. Building self-esteem and confidence is crucial for navigating new situations. This mentorship programme is about fostering resilience, building confidence, cultivating leadership, and expanding networks.

Dagmara Gerasimuk, IBU Development Director, emphasized the programme's broader impact:

This mentorship programme isn’t just about transferring your sports skills to business; it’s about empowering you to become influential community role models and leaders. Each of you brings a wealth of experience, wisdom, and passion from your remarkable athletic careers.

Looking Ahead

The IBU Mentorship Programme continues to be a powerful catalyst for women's career advancement in biathlon, playing a critical role in promoting gender equality in the sport. As the 2023/2024 programme unfolds, we look forward to seeing the positive impact these talented women will have on the biathlon community and beyond.

For more updates on the IBU Mentorship Programme and other initiatives, visit our website and follow our social media channels. Together, we are shaping a better future for the biathlon community and working towards a world where talent has no gender.

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Photo credits: IBU

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