• Twelve inspirational women announced for the 2023 cohort
  • The programme is creating a growing global network of female leaders and role models across the sport
  • Scholars will have access to personalised coaching and training sessions via Capgemini’s internal University to help their professional development
  • Sixty-one scholars have completed the programme since 2018

World Rugby and Capgemini have today unveiled the 12 inspiring women who will join the Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme in 2023, reaffirming their commitment to champion female leaders and drive gender equality across the game. The 12 latest scholars, two from each of World Rugby’s six regional associations, hail from Australia, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, India, Italy, the Philippines, St Lucia, Tonga and Uganda.

The programme, launched in 2018, has proven transformation in identifying and developing the current and next generation of female leaders in rugby. It helps them to fulfil their potential by supporting their personal and professional development, with the overall aim to increase the number of women in key positions within unions and regional associations. Driving global diversity, particularly in leadership, is a core component of World Rugby’s Accelerating the global development of women in rugby 2021-25 strategic plan. By creating a pipeline of female leaders in rugby, the leadership programme is advancing parity and ensuring greater opportunities for women at all levels of the game.

Capgemini, a Global Partner of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby programme and a global leader in business and technology transformation, is playing an active role in World Rugby’s strategic plan to help accelerate the development of the women’s game. The group will bring its expertise to the programme for a second year as part of its transformative partnership with World Rugby, which also includes its role as a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2025 and Global Partner of WXV, the new international women’s competition set to take the game to new heights when it launches later this year.

As well as receiving funding to help with their professional development, this year’s participants will also benefit from upskilling through Capgemini’s internal University where they will experience personalised coaching sessions and access to leadership masterclasses as well as hundreds of online training sessions. With 360,000 employees in 50 countries, and an objective to reach 30 per cent of women at the top of the organisation by 2025, Capgemini is well positioned to offer its well-established expertise in taking top talent to the next level.

Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme: the class of 2023

The 2023 Capgemini Women in Rugby leadership scholars are: Angella Camille “Acee” San Juan (the Philippines), Beatriz Futuro Muhlbauer (Brazil), Faamoana Leilua (Australia), Giuliana Campanella (Italy), Maria Samson (Canada), Marie Stella Gakima (Burundi), Natalie Kurtanidze (Georgia), Nicole Acevedo Tanguerife (Colombia), Sanaya Mehta (India), Dr. ‘Unaloto Sili (Tonga), Zakia Kulabako (Uganda) and Zhenya Allain (St Lucia).

World Rugby Chief of Women’s Rugby Sally Horrox said: “We are delighted to announce the newest scholars for the Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme. We are committed to developing inspirational leadership on and off the field as part of our women’s strategic plan. This programme is a key part of that strategy and continues to play a crucial role in successfully accelerating women leaders in rugby and ensuring women are represented at all levels and in all aspects of the game. Through Capgemini’s enhanced leadership programme, our 2023 scholars will benefit from unrivalled training and coaching opportunities that will develop the skills and knowledge they need to enhance their leadership journeys. This will positively impact future generations of women in rugby and in the game as a whole.”

Capgemini’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Group Executive Board Member Anne Lebels said: “Capgemini is deeply committed to promoting and enabling equal opportunities for women and men both in tech and in rugby, on and off the pitch. We have helped thousands of women in our teams rise to the next level in the business sphere through our internal University, and it’s only logical to offer this opportunity to the 2023 scholars of the Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme to support the development of the women’s game. The feedback from the 2022 scholars and our teams on the coaching and training experiences in 2022 have been very inspiring and only encourages us to do more this year.”

The Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme is creating a growing global network of women leaders and role models across the sport. Sixty-one women have so far benefitted directly from the programme, going on to fill governance roles at a local, national and regional level, and passing on their knowledge and experience to those that follow.

One such past recipient is Rowena Davenport, a scholar in 2022, who has since been appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board and is also chair of the Rugby Athletes Commission. Others include World Rugby Council member, Ada Milby, who was part of the inaugural Scholarship programme in 2018, and Maha Zaoui, who was appointed Women’s Rugby Manager at Rugby Africa two years after completing the programme. Scholar Marjorie Enya’s career has also soared, becoming a Confederação Brasileira de Rugby Board member, representing Sudamérica Rugby on the World Rugby Council and is also current chair of World Rugby’s Regional Committee. In Europe, 2021 recipient Rebecca Davies created history when she was co-opted onto the Rugby Football Union Council, and has also recently returned to the pitch as a referee. Former Canada international and 2018 recipient Dr Araba Chintoh is now chair of the Rugby Athletes’ Commission and chair of World Rugby’s Women’s Player Welfare Steering Group. 

A major supporter of rugby globally, Capgemini has an historic connection with rugby and a deep heritage in rugby sponsorship. Capgemini is the first Worldwide Partner to sponsor both World Rugby and most of its major men’s (Rugby World Cup 2023) and women’s international competitions (Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025), as well as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.