How we have turned our coaching organisation in the middle east from a 2 woman bad to a 10 woman band; and the challenges we have faced along the way



From the onset of coaching, as a girl / woman you always feel outnumbered by your male colleagues, you always feel you are the token girl and along the way you are literally sidelined when it comes to playing time both literally and figuratively.


Women coaches have come a long way but there is still a very long way to ahead until we reach true equality within sport both on the field, tour money, funding, impartial media coverage, respect and off the field as administrators, educators, coaches and consultants.


In college, I had an interesting encounter when some of the boys on our course attempted aerobics, they were nearly as good as some of the girls who had been doing it for years and when it came to end of term assessments scored extremely highly.  On the flip side we also did a term of Rugby and when the girls who tried and performed well on the pitch on a par with boys, who had been playing for years, their results for the sport were still below average at the end of term still reflected them as a girl attempting a traditional boys sport and gender bias remained.  It was an attitude of, let them have a go but they are no threat.


In our attempt to succeed in our chosen field it seemed then, that even when we were good enough it still felt we weren’t.  Not only did I want the girls to be a threat I wanted us to beat the boys so badly that they had no choice but to recognize that we were as good as them and deserved the respect.  I find that in the Sports Business I have built today (with my good university friend Helen) we instill these values of hard hustle, top performance and let your results speak for themselves.  We are in the Coaching Field so this means that our athletes improve and they do so at a rate significantly faster that companies with male coaches.  Our chosen sports are Swimming and Football both unisex sports and when played as young children up to about the age of 10 years old (puberty) there are no real physical limitations girls have in ability, aptitude and attitude.


We have grown from a two-woman band to a 10-woman band over the course of 4 years, carefully selecting, mentoring the right sort of women who truly care about their careers in coaching, the advancement of women in the middle east, professionalism, financial return, autonomy and accountability.   Finding such women is hard, we have had instances of some getting married and stopping coaching, some falling pregnant and not continuing the job, family member’s ill health and it falls to the woman / daughter in the family to look after that person as well as some simply burning out or choosing more feminine career alternatives such as teaching, health club management and administration*.



Hiring the right woman, with the potential and the ambition to match as well as the right attitude to succeed independent of family support and social structure, is a hard ask.  Understanding there will be a turnover in the company is crucial and making sure this doesn’t demotivate the organization will enable great growth.


We have found that instead of recruiting at certain times of the year ahead of busy periods we will keep an advertisement online all year round as the other companies in our region (all male run and dominated) also hire from the UK leisure industry at these same peak times and we find that the candidates are swayed by the Up Talk of the man compared to our company which is run by (young) women.  Their gut feeling is so ingrained to trust the Patriarchy rather than who is better at offering them what they need to succeed.  They will overlook a higher rate of pay, less hours, bonus system, mentoring system, fact based results, for a Man’s word.  We are fighting an uphill battle but as we grow organically both our coaches and clients as well as the companies we hold contracts with are sowing the seeds of change, spreading the word and we are chipping away at the mold.


The advantages of working in an organization run by women is that they understand the issues other women face, from relationship strains, family commitments, society’s preferred body image and likewise the fall out you get for being a ‘sports girl’ and the other demeaning misogynistic phrases used to describe those of us who scape back our hair do away with the foundations and blushers and go all out physically and mentally for the profession of coaching.  We are not Dykes, Lesbians, Vikings, HeShes, etc, etc we are following our passion and talents and turning it into a career.  A man will hire a woman because it benefits him or his organization, a woman should and normally does hire another woman because they can help them advance – that is it the difference.


Lastly when building up an organization, you need locations, you need clients you need to get the word out that you can do the job.  The only way to do this is to work, hard, every day, and never give up.  It takes a woman years to achieve the recognition a man gets within a couple weeks or months, it takes 20, 50, 100 more clients per 1 a man has, to get the word spread, and it takes a culmination of this time and the volume of clients to score you an interview for a location.  Once you get an interview to hire / service a location you are still up against the proposals of other (male) companies and an old boy’s network of who gets a contract and who doesn’t.

Now here is where things are changing, we live in a world where 50% of consumers are women and that number rises significantly when it comes to choosing afterschool activities or infant pastimes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they choose the best company or the one run by women, but as word of mouth, social media, results and reputation over time takes over, we are finding that, yes, we are being chosen first. This preferred choice trickles down in an industry based on customer service, if the members want a certain company you are more likely to get a call, if the administrator *(feminine preferred coaching alternate job) is a woman you are more likely to get a call and finally if you keep banging down the doors and never give up it, that resilience is what is going to get you the call.

I look forward to giving more insight into running our Women’s Coaching Company in the next blog.  Further info on both myself and the company Coach Sport LLC can be found at and

Best Dawn Venturas



Bio: Dawn Ventures, born in London to Scottish and Greek parents, grew up in Zimbabwe and playing a variety of sports such as baseball, hockey, football, cricket, athletics, gymnastics and swimming.  Represented Under 18s and Under 21 Zimbabwe Field Hockey before moving to finish studies in the UK.  In Scotland represented the Scottish Midlands U21 team before deciding to go for Olympic Trials for the Greek National Field Hockey Team 2000-2004 (ahead of the Athens Olympic Games)  This was a team made up of International players sourced from countries all over the world including Australia, England, USA, Canada, Austria, Holland, Germany, France, South Africa and Greece.
During this time the Greek National team trained regularly every couple months and entered various European Indoor and Outdoor FIH tournaments gaining in team cohesion and working towards the shared goal of representing their national team at the Olympics Games where by each host nation was facilitated automatic home country entry for team sports.  Unfortunately due to mismanagement of funds and coaching staff the team was set up to play a play off just a couple months short of the Games and lost their place in the Games.  The painful experience of being a young player having your Olympic dream taken away after years of training and sacrifice was a very hard pill to swallow.
This spurred me on to pursue a career in coaching and early talent identification for a new generation who hopefully have the support of the governing bodies around them to fulfill their potentials.