UTS Celebrates Women’s History Month With A Partnership for the Special Olympics Webinar Series

Washington, Online – In the spirit of Women’s Month, UTS supported the Special Olympics (SOI) who orchestrated a fantastic webinar series dedicated to fostering discussions around women in sports and inclusion.

The objective was to inspire young women whilst promoting inclusivity in and out of sport. This initiative underscores the shared values and mission between the Special Olympics and United Through Sports to empower everyone through the platform of sport.

On March 15th, the webinar “Pathways to Leadership” was joined by UTS CEO, Julia Govinden who said:

“It is an absolute honor to be invited as a panelist, alongside five-time Olympian and Global Ambassador Alia Atkinson, as well as hosts Sharon Bollenbach, Executive Director, FIFA World Cup Hosting 2026, City of Toronto and Susan Wang, a Canadian Special Olympics athlete and Sargent Shriver Global Messengers (SSGMs). To have so many colleagues, friends, and athletes joining from across the globe showed the magnitude of the Special Olympics impact. Their dedication to opening new doors for everybody is exemplary to us all.”

SSGMs are powerful communicators representing their fellow athletes to the world, with their responsibility to lead the campaign for a more inclusive world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The webinar delved into the personal journeys of female leaders within the sports industry, discussing the importance of authenticity, resilience, mentorship, and solidarity in overcoming barriers and inspiring the next generation of female leaders. The discussion was enriched by personal anecdotes and philosophies from each speaker, emphasizing authenticity, vulnerability, and the importance of staying true to oneself.

Alia Atkinson, Susan Wang, Sharon Bollenbach and Julia Govinden during the panel “Pathways to Leadership on March 15th from the Special Olympics “Women in Sports” webinar series

Embracing Authenticity in Leadership

The webinar emphasized authenticity as an important quality of effective leadership. The consensus amongst the panelists was clear: true leadership flourishes when individuals stay true to their values and passion, embracing their journeys with honesty and openness.

Building Confidence and Resilience Against All Odds

A major theme of the discussion was the challenge women often face in cultivating confidence. Panelists shared personal stories and professional experiences, underscoring the importance of believing in one’s abilities to overcome self-doubt and societal barriers. Julia Govinden shared insights into overcoming skepticism and the challenges she faced on her own path to leadership. This reinforced the idea that confronting difficulties directly and building the confidence to advocate for oneself are essential strategies for anyone, regardless of their gender, looking to ascend in their career.

Mentorship’s Transformative Impact

Another pivotal point of discussion was the role of mentorship in personal and professional development. The speakers highlighted how mentorship could emerge naturally, fostering growth, learning, and leadership skills. The exchange of experiences and wisdom between mentors and mentees was portrayed as a fundamental aspect of building a supportive community within the sports industry.

A Call for Solidarity and Support

The webinar culminated in a powerful appeal for solidarity among women, with Sharon Bollenbach’s memorable closing remark, citing the quote:

Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.

This call to action resonates deeply with the UTS values, highlighting the importance of creating an environment where women support each other in overcoming obstacles and achieving their full potential.

Let us move forward with the lessons learned, striving to create a more inclusive and supportive sports community for everyone! #ChooseToInclude #WomenInSport

To learn more about Special Olympics, visit