Not waiting but taking responsibility, identifying women’s football as an opportunity to shape its future and embracing failure as a chance for growth. Ebru Koksal exemplifies the nature of a true leader made from self-awareness and vulnerability. Priceless insights ahead.

Ebru started her career in football in 2000, working for Galatasaray Istanbul Sports Club in the fields of marketing, finance, stadium and general management. Her contribution led her to be named as Executive of the Year by Stadium Business Awards in 2011. Later on, she became the first woman to be elected to the Executive Board of the European Club Association and also the first and only female General Secretary of the Turkish Football Federation.

Following her passion about leadership and gender equality, Ebru worked with FIFA and UEFA as a consultant and, afterwards, she was appointed the chair of Women in Football, a network of professional women working in and around the football industry. Currently, besides her role in Women in Football, she is also a senior advisor for J. Stern & Co, a non-executive director at Doublepass BV and MNT Healthcare, a member of the Scottish FA Equality and Diversity Advisory Board and a founding member of the 30% Club Turkey.

Here you have the main takeaways from the interview:

  • It’s about us. Leading, making an impact or starting a movement is all up to us, regardless of our job position. Don’t let boundaries inhibit you from speaking up or raising your hand.
  • Mindset and resources. These are some of the main challenges which faces the network she leads, Women in Football, in order to encourage and empower women in sports organisations.
  • A clean sheet for brands. Women’s football offers sponsors a priceless opportunity to reach an engaged audience, stand out in a less crowded landscape, be an active part of the development of the sport and support social causes as gender equality.
  • The World Cup of first-timers. Awareness and quality took a step further in 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, reaching new audiences and challenging the momentum from tournament to tournament.
  • Self-awareness and curiosity. Daring to lead means seeking honest feedback and working on discovering oneself’s strengths and weaknesses to reflect an effective leadership on other people. Failures and disappointments are the way we learn.

From her experience at Galatasaray, Ebru also remarked the potential of co-branded products for sports properties as clubs, providing them an opportunity to create a new source of revenue built from value and community. From a fan perspective, they are connected to new brands who can offer even more benefits at the same price.

Vulnerability and resilience shaped her impressive journey, values from which we can choose to take responsibility and dare to lead. You can enjoy the full interview and her TEDx Talk “Being Bold for Change” here:

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