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HCL celebrates outstanding sport and business trailblazers

HCL celebrates outstanding sport and business trailblazers

 March 16, 2020

Sports is the backbone of many a life lesson such as realizing the true meaning of competition, fair play, teamwork, and developing a sporting spirit. And women's participation in sport - as athletes, spectators, fans, community, industry providers - is key. 

Sport has always been part of technology company HCL's community initiatives, as well as a key element of their business focus. In fact, HCL is the world’s leading provider of digital transformation for major professional sports organizations.

Increasing visibility for women in sport

One exciting partnership sees HCL as the Digital Technology Partner for Cricket Australia. And what better support, than HCL providing an elevated and immersive digital experience to cricket fans, players, partners, employees, and volunteers - as the T20 Women's World Cup Final played out at the Melbourne Cricket ground on International Women's Day 2020 - along with none other than Katy Perry unveiled as the pre and post-match entertainment. 

With 100,024 seating, the MCG is the world's largest cricket ground by capacity. And HCL provides the Australian cricket community with leading-edge digital technologies that support real-time, engaging, personalized and unified experiences.

It is, however, the women athletes worldwide who are also making great strides. From equality in pay, visibility, viewership, sponsorships, and more - women are changing the world of sport for the better.

Championing women who advocate for equality in sport

Honoring goodwill champions from around the world, HCL's Wave Maker Awards celebrated at the HCL Pavilion in Davos at the World Economic Forum applauded one such woman well-recognized for her role in globally promoting disability within sport. Lois Auta (pictured above) is the founder and chief executive officer of Cedar Seed Foundation whose mission is to facilitate an enabling environment and provide services that support disabled people in Nigeria. The Foundation's vision is to create a world where disabled people will actively participate in the society and enjoy equal human rights.

She has collaborated with many world leaders, been a vocal advocate in the media, and was hosted among 30 Nigerians by President Mohammadu Buhari for technology innovation and creativity. She holds many esteemed positions including President of FCT Disabled Sports Club in Abuja; Board Member of Federation of Civil Servants Staff with Disabilities Multipurpose Cooperative Society; Assistant National Coordinator of Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative; Board Member of Potters Gallery Initiative; Member of Joint National Association of Persons with disabilities; Founder of Ability Africa; and President of Women on Wheels Multipurpose Cooperative Society.

Amplifying the voice of sportswomen

A special gathering at the World Economic Forum hosted by HCL saw Karina Hollekim, the first woman to perform a Ski-BASE, and Debra Searle, an adventurer who rowed solo across the Atlantic ocean share their experiences with a highly engaged audience.

For over a decade Karina was a professional athlete for Red Bull performing both as a big mountain skier and base jumper. She is the first woman in the world to perform a ski-BASE. Her life was turned upside down when she had a near fatal skydiving accident in 2006 leaving her in a wheelchair with the prognosis of never being able to walk again. She endured 20 surgeries and has had to relearn how to walk and ski. Her incredible adventures and indomitable spirit were captured by filmmaker Jens Hoffman in a documentary about Karina's life: 20 Seconds of Joy, which has won several awards worldwide.

Debra shot to fame after rowing across the Atlantic solo, completing 111 days at sea after her partner had to retire from the attempt. She had never rowed before signing up to row across the Atlantic. The movie of her solo Atlantic row is currently in development in Hollywood. She has launched five companies, won Gold World Championship medals for GB, presented over 40 programmes for the BBC and has published three books and was recognized twice by Her Majesty the Queen with an MBE and MVO. Debra is an acclaimed motivational speaker who advocates the ability of attitude to transform professional and personal lives.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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