Behind The Scenes

Global Sports Mentoring Program grad reflects on her ESPN experience

Grace Chirumanzu (center) is a guest on the set of Press Pass, the soccer analysis show that is one of the most popular ESPN shows in her country. (Credit: Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Editor’s Note: espnW and the U.S. Department of State recently concluded the inaugural Global Sports Mentoring Program. Seventeen women from around the world, identified as emerging leaders in the sports industry, were paired with American female executives in a sports-related field. The program was developed in an effort to create sustainable sports opportunities for underserved women and girls worldwide. ESPN played host to two of the emerging leaders, Grace Chirumanzu of Zimbabwe and Nneka Ikem of Nigeria. Chirumanzu, an avid blogger and currently one of only four female sports journalists in Zimbabwe, wrote about her experience working at ESPN and with her mentor, Senior Coordinating Producer Tina Thornton.

Grace Chirumanzu

It has been a great experience being with ESPN. The determination within the company to grow and move with technology is just fascinating. The passion workers have in contributing to the success of the company is amazing. I have enjoyed the workers’ company; everyone is so sociable and willing to share information and knowledge. It is inspiring to see lots of women in decision-making positions. Their strength, commitment and hard work in balancing work and family life has been an inspiration to me.

Having Tina Thornton as my mentor has been great. She is such a great leader at work and I have so far learned a lot from her on work-life balance. The support women give each other at ESPN is something women in my country need to learn so that we see a lot of women going up the ladder of success. I am greatly impressed above all that women here do not get recognition and respect in this male-dominated profession just because they are women doing what men are doing, but because they know their work and they are very competent and hard working.

I learned about the day-to-day running of business in the media industry and someday I hope run a successful organization of ESPN’s nature. It is my hope that I can lead the way in empowering women through sports reporting the way espnW is set to do and see more women taking up journalism as a profession in Zimbabwe.

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