Vaidehi Vaidya

Football Industries MBA, 2013

Since graduating from the Football Industries MBA, Vaidehi has set up her own organisation, Women in Sport India, which aims to encourage more women to enter the world of sport both on and off the field.

Tell us a bit about ‘Women in Sport, India’ and how it came about

Women in Sport India (WISI) serves a simple purpose – to encourage more women in the field of sport. Our mission is to make the women’s sports ecosystem simpler and sustainable. We are planning to do this by developing resources, sharing knowledge and providing connections.

WISI Started out of my own need. Sport is still a male dominated field as it was when I graduated, although things are rapidly changing now. After graduating from ULMS with my Football Industries MBA, I wanted to connect with likeminded women working in sports for guidance, information and many other reasons. I was searching for a forum or an organisation which would serve that purpose. But, no such organisation existed in India so I decided to start one on my own. This year, just before we all went into lockdown, WISI officially became a company.

Why did you think it was important to create WISI?

I think as a woman, it is encouraging to see female role models. We see many sportswomen today, like PV Sindhu and Serena Williams who are encouraging young girls to choose sport as a career. At the same time, as the number of female athletes rises, we need more women to support them off the field. We need to create female role models who are working hard behind the scenes; for example, administrators, agents, managers, sport psychologists, physios and so on. WISI is working towards creating a community of female role models off the field.

Secondly, there are many organisations in India, which are working towards betterment of women’s sport. But they are all working individually. It is important for all of them to come together and create a collective effort. WISI is trying to be that organisation that brings them all together. 

What are your aims and ambitions for WISI? 

In long term, I want WISI to grow beyond India, because women’s sport is a global movement and we need global players to push it further. Through WISI I want to create a sure pathway to a successful career in sports for women. It will take time but this is my dream, so that no one can say ‘no’, when a girl decides to opt for a career in sport.

How did your experience at ULMS help you in creating WISI? 

My Work Based Project was the origin of WISI. I did a project on women’s football in India with UEFA and AFDP. During which I travelled the length and breadth of my country and gathered data, experienced new things about my own culture and spoke to some outstanding. I don’t think I would have got this opportunity if it wasn’t for ULMS. It is the network, the contacts, the opportunities and the guidance that I received from the programme that enabled me to be where I am today.

What advice would you give to other ULMS graduates who are thinking of starting their own organisation? 

The one piece of advice I would give is to start today and explore the geographical boundaries that you have not explored before. It is not compulsory to start something in your own country. See where the growth is in long term. For example, India is beacon of growth in sports field right now. The rate at which we are growing, makes for a fantastic environment to start something on your own. But don't wait, if you have an idea, start now!


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