By: Emi FitzGerald
Saatchi LA and Dallas members are celebrating ten years of participating in the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), mentoring women from around the world to improve their communities for women and girls through sports.
Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of State launched GSMP to advance gender equity and disability rights. Approximately 150 women worldwide have been mentored through this program and are empowering women and girls in their countries to gain confidence, a sense of self, and build community through participation in sports. Some of these women have represented their countries in the Olympic Games, become elected officials, and founded organizations to pay it forward. The stories are incredibly inspiring and filled with determination, grit and resilience.
John Lisko, executive communications director for Saatchi LA/Dallas has championed this mentorship since it began and brought the opportunity to the agency. As a result, many Saatchi employees have participated, by mentoring one or two delegates each year, nearly twenty women in total, working alongside the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace and Society led by Dr. Sarah Hillyer. John continues to be the executive sponsor – and arguably biggest supporter of the program. He and Emi FitzGerald, senior director core team, are featured in an upcoming book on GSMP along with Cynthia Coredo, a delegate from Kenya who was mentored at Saatchi in 2015.
The program takes the principles of Title IX, which recently reached 50 years since its signing and spreads it around the world. This federal civil rights law barred gender discrimination in higher education opening access to women in programs of study, athletics, and historically male-dominated professions and was primarily authored and sponsored by the first Asian-American woman in the House of Representatives, Hawaii’s Patsy Mink.
John, Emi and nearly 70 past participants and mentors attended a celebration of the 10-year GSMP anniversary and 50th anniversary of the Title IX passage in Washington, D.C. hosted by the State Department.
John participated in an on-stage panel discussion with two alums of the program. Additionally, First Lady, Jill Biden and the great Billie Jean King gave remarks acknowledging that while so much progress has been made, there is still so much more to do. Saatchi plans to host a delegate from Hong Kong this fall. If you would like to become a mentor for or learn more about the GSMP, visit globalsportsmentoring.org.