Monique Choudhuri about Diversity and Inclusion in Football
Monique Choudhuri is Non-Executive Director at the new Premier League club Brentford FC. She is a leading personality in promoting diversity and inclusion in football and beyond. For the issue 23 of the FBIN Magazine Shrey Upadhyay talked to her about her role at Brentford, her work as Inclusive Leadership Consultant and the topic of “Women in Football”.
Monique Choudhuri about the biggest challenges in implementing diversity and inclusion in a football club:
The problem is if a club is doing very well, making money, able to pay millions to footballers, and getting sponsorships, what is the imperative for them to change their thinking about it? I think the only way that it could change is to understand your brand as a club and what your CSR is.
So, a lot of it is not only based on recruitment and pathways available but also looking outside of football to drive competencies and new hires. Otherwise, we are all fishing around in the same pool. We are never going to grow.
About the status of women’s involvement in football:
There are still not enough women in senior leadership positions in football. We are still far away from that at present, but I think we are going to be much closer in three years’ time. The progress is slow because there are still some outdated attitudes and a very much of an old-boys network running. What people do not understand is that when they go into a career in football, it is not all about football. It is about making a sustainable business behind football. You can play good football but if you do not get promoted, you still have to be a sustainable business. You need to focus on sponsors, partners, accounting, marketing, PR, HR, EDI, safety, stadium operations, etc. And there is no reason why women cannot take senior positions in all these departments.
About the importance of diversity and inclusion in boardrooms and robust governance:
I think we need diverse boards because if you have people with different backgrounds around the table, you will get multiple perspectives and thinking. Therefore, you will come to different decisions and think differently.
Also, when the people within the team and staff see that that the board is diverse, they believe “I can do that too”. They think the board represents me as an individual within the business. It creates a sense of engagement. Then there is a sense of belonging, fairness, justice, and transparency. Therefore, they turn up to work more motivated and engaged, perform better, which ultimately increases the bottom-line result.
To understand the impact of having diverse boards, you would need to study it over two to three years. So, look at your profits and outputs for a certain period, and then compare it 12, 18, 24 months later. It has been proven in corporations. It is not yet been proven in sport, but I think we are on the cusp of starting that mechanism now.
Read the full 8-page interview in the new issue of the FBIN Magazine.