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The Diversity in Digital Mentoring Programme is officially back for 2021! And this time, we've expanded the cohort even more...

15 mentees have been selected for 2021 - growing from 12 in 2020 - from a variety of different skillsets and backgrounds.


The programme, launched in December 2019, focuses on the support and growth of diverse talent from under-represented groups across the sport and digital industries.

As part of the programme, each participant has been partnered with two mentors from the LiveWire Sport team for the year, providing individually tailored support, training and advice. In addition, the group will also meet once a week for workshops, training sessions, chats from guest speakers and group discussions, developing a peer-to-peer network they can build on throughout their careers.

The 2021 cohort includes: 

- Ashwyn Lall, a sport business content creator 

- Cassie Coombes, a final-year student aspiring to tell stories in women’s football

- Ediong Udom, a business and marketing graduate with an eye for commercial opportunities

- Hannah Thompson, a cricket content creator

- Lisa Leroux, a multi-lingual sports journalist

- Louise Cook, a career switcher with a theatre background now aspiring to break into digital

- Maria Verdeille, a Paralympic athlete with ambitions in TV production

- Martin Shittu, a writer and poet

- Mihika Varshnei, a sports management student aiming to become a role model for girls in India

- Natasha Miles, an aspiring women’s football marketeer and coach

- Nic O’Leary, a sports journalist hoping to take on the world of horse racing

- Omari Coates, a sports blogger

- Rachel Steinberg, a sports journalist and storyteller 

- Rhona Lloyd, an international rugby player and podcaster

- Will Stubley, a sports journalist and video editor

The programme is open to anyone who has faced barriers preventing them from fulfilling their potential in the digital sport industry - from age, beliefs, sexuality, race, disability or gender, to socio-economic, geographical, health, family or lifestyle challenges.

Pranav Soneji, Director & Co-Founder of LiveWire Sport, said of the group: “After the success of last year’s programme - which had to be completely rewritten following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic - we’re delighted to expand our cohort for 2021 and underline our commitment to address the representation imbalance in our industry.

“The class of 2020 exceeded our expectations, demonstrating the desire to learn, improve and take every opportunity available to them. We feel incredibly fortunate that four of them have since been able to join LiveWire in full time roles!”

What to expect from the 2021 programme?

The programme will provide individuals with a passion for digital content and sport the opportunities and resources to develop their own skills in the sport industry. It will include the following features:

- A year-round LiveWire Sport mentor
- Skills training from industry specialists
- Opportunities to listen to industry speakers
- Access to events with other industry professionals
- A supportive network of other like-minded peers
- On-site days with selected LiveWire Sport clients (subject to covid-19 restrictions)


Applications for 2021 are open to individuals who have faced challenges in their career development or progression, either visible and invisible. This could be for any number of reasons, be it age, beliefs, sexuality, race, disability, gender, all the way through to people facing financial, geographical, health, family or lifestyle challenges.

The programme is largely remote-based and is designed to be supportive but unintrusive, so participants can continue to work during the programme. 

- Applicants must be legally permitted to work in the UK
- Applicants must be a resident of the UK
- Applicants must be over 18 (there is no maximum age limit)
- Successful applicants must be available to travel within the UK on occasion during 2021 (subject to covid-19 restrictions)
- Applications are welcomed from anyone who meets the criteria set out above
- There is no entry fee necessary to enter this programme
- Only one entry will be accepted per person
- The decision of the Selection Committee is final
- Applicants will be informed if they have been selected or not no later than 22nd January 2021. 

Although all applications will be considered on their individual merits, in order to promote diversity and to increase the participation of those who are currently under-represented in the sport industry, use may be made of the positive action provisions in the Equality Act 2010 when deciding between two equally qualified and talented applicants.

LISTEN - The New Normal
LISTEN - The Diversity Question on the Unofficial Partner Podcast

What happened in 2020?

In 2020, we provided 12 mentees with a year-round LiveWire Sport mentor individually selected based on each mentee’s skillset and aspirations, to provide suitable support and advice. In addition, the small group benefited from regular training sessions and heard from guest speakers from a variety of areas within the industry to aid a wider understanding of career development and opportunities. 

Due to covid-19, the programme pivoted from venue-based, client learning days to a distanced-based learning programme, with regular weekly calls and bespoke training sessions.

Guests included the likes of Ebony Rainford-Brent, Cricket World Cup Winner & Director of Surrey Women's Cricket; Andy Stevenson, Series Producer, Paralympics at Whisper; Karthik Ramulu, Head of Sponsorship, DHL; Manish Bhasin, Presenter; and Radha Balani, Director of Design & Facilitation at thinkBeyond. The cohort have also had access to bespoke training sessions from the likes of Milly Lawrence, Pitch Consultant and David Thomas, Trainer & Consultant. 

Meet the 2020 Cohort here

In July 2020, the cohort were given their first RFP to respond to for a hypothetical new tournament, with two groups required to work together to create an in-depth proposal before a live pitch as a team to a board of experts comprising of Alexandra Willis, Head of Communications, Content & Digital, AELTC; Amar Singh, Head of Content & Strategy, Football, Budweiser Brewing Group; Ed Langford, Digital Communications Manager, British Olympic Association; Radha Balani, Director of Design & Facilitation, thinkBeyond; and Dan Smith, Co-Founder, Summus Sports Group. 

The live pitches were delivered in August, with two 'agencies' created - 20Gen and Unscripted Capture - presenting approaches for a hypothetical seven-a-side football competition.   

Pranav Soneji, Director & Co-Founder at LiveWire Sport, answers some FAQ's here. Alternatively, you can contact the team with any other questions at mentoring@livewiresport.com.