Women’s sport has, up until now, been very much an afterthought when it comes to corporate support, and Head of Sponsorship at Momentum, Carel Bosman, is playing his part to change the narrative.

The profile of women’s sport is improving but funding continues to be a challenge for women in sport.

Bosman believes that female athletes need to take matters into their own hands as he shares three key elements for athletes to attract personal corporate support.

Bosman’s extensive experience and knowledge in the sponsorships space has seen him to work closely with leading female athletes as Momentum leads gender conversation through action.

He played a leading role in Momentum backing the Proteas Women’s national team and the gsport Awards as the company stands tall in the corporate space.

Speaking to gsport as we wrap up Men’s Month, Bosman talks about the influence of his mother and sister on his life and backs the blooding of male role models.

Carel, thanks for making time for gsport. How are you negotiating life during Covid-19 times?

To be honest, I have learnt to live my life day by day and Covid-19 amplifies that. So, I am doing well, day by day. I choose to focus on the positives and ways to make a difference amidst challenging times for all.

 Where does your passion for women’s sport come from?

I started working with professional sports women in 2007, through sponsorships, and very quickly became aware of the massive inequalities that exist globally. As these women would tell their stories, one after the other I was often left speechless. But, not for long. I had first class insight of the challenges that they face and simply loved the idea that I can help, even if it is in the smallest of ways. I decided to join their battle wholeheartedly.

Throughout your career, you have worked with progressive brands that have put women first as you have mentioned. What are some of the highlights?

I have been extremely fortunate! From 2001 until 2007, I headed up marketing at USN where we assisted over 75 professional women in sport at any given time. To see them achieving their goals and realizing that our contribution played a part is extremely rewarding professionally and personally.

From 2007 to date, I’ve been with Momentum Metropolitan as sponsorship head and some of the highlights have been our involvement with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, who has gone on to become multiple SA champion and a top five road cyclist internationally.

Robyn de Groot who represented South Africa at the World Road Race Championships, then successfully transitioned to mountain biking and achieved 3rd place at the Marathon World Champs last year.

Saray Khumalo who became the first black African women to summit Mount Everest, after failing twice before. She is everything that illustrates the incredible dimensions and character that lives within every woman. And then off course, our involvement with the Momentum Proteas Women’s Team. But let me share more about them later.

Your role at Momentum allows you similar opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the empowerment of women. What are you enjoying most about your current journey?

It’s almost impossible to achieve these milestones if your business doesn’t share the same sentiment. Again, I have been extremely fortunate in that Momentum Metropolitan is passionate about gender equality and these are not only words, it’s visible through multiple actions and campaigns.” – Momentum Metropolitan Head of Sponsorship, Carel Bosman.

We really are making a difference and putting our money where our mouth is. Let me explain. It’s almost impossible to achieve these milestones if your business doesn’t share the same sentiment. Again, I have been extremely fortunate in that Momentum Metropolitan is passionate about gender equality and these are not only words, it’s visible through multiple actions and campaigns. The #SheOwnsHerSuccess events, our involvement in the gsport Awards, we even change Momentum to “Womentum” during women’s month.

Considering all the achievements you have had in the women’s sport sponsorship space, what made Momentum partner with gsport and how do you see the impact of gsport on women’s sport?

In a way it was unavoidable. It’s a perfect match. The gsport Awards reflect on humble beginnings when Kass Naidoo brought this dream to life. It wasn’t plain sailing! Her endurance and passion infused energy and growth and today the product is simply the premium sporting awards event for women in South Africa.

The vision and passion overlap between Momentum and the gsport Awards is an exact fit. We feel very privileged to be partners to this event. To answer you on the impact of gsport on women…Well, in the words of the women themselves, “it’s immeasurable”. Words that describe the event are equality, passion, power, beauty, integrity, community and success.

How proud are you of the Momentum Proteas and the journey Momentum has walked with the team?

This team speaks of hope, of never giving up, of not apologising for their success, of a journey from nowhere to centre stage. When we first got involved, they only had one contracted player. Yes, that is correct, only one! So, they were effectively an amateur team having to deliver like professionals. Today they are a full squad with contracted players. They are fully professional in every way. To see them climb up the world rankings. To see them grow in self believe and now, as we sit here today, at the brink of winning a Word Cup, there are simply no words.

It wasn’t easy, still isn’t, but a lot has changed for the good and to be part of this journey has been so rewarding. Dané van Niekerk and the team still deserve so much more. One has to also mention the incredible team behind them; the coach and his team and the family members who always believed in them.

There are some exciting milestones to look forward to in women’s sport including the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup…

Isn’t it amazing? A World Cup right here in South Africa! We as South African’s have something to look forward to and something to be proud of. South Africa has always been known as a favourite touring venue due to our friendly people, stunning facilities and good weather. What excites me is the global focus that women in sport will receive during this time and in specific the respective women’s cricket teams from all the top cricketing nations. This will once again lift their profile and up their commercial value which is still lacking compared to their male counterparts.

What can be done to raise the profile of women’s sport in South Africa and how can corporates play a bigger role?

One has to be ignorant to still not see and acknowledge the inequality that exists locally and abroad. To not be involved in women’s sport in some way or another is an oversight. The women need and deserve commercial support. They need corporates to back them. It’s as simple as that! Speak to any corporate who is involved and supporting women in sport and you’ll find just how happy and rewarding the journey is. It’s not only the correct head decision, it also connects ones heart in the correct way. There are so many amazing stories that need to be told. The gsport awards is one platform that is also assisting to get these stories out.

What is your advice to women in sport about attracting personal corporate support?

“There are many key elements, let me name three. Firstly, determine your own brand values as an athlete. What do you stand for and what do you not stand for. This is important as corporates will look for a brand and values that match.” – Bosman shares advice to female athletes to attract personal corporate support.

Hmmm, great question! There are many key elements, let me name three. Firstly, determine your own brand values as an athlete. What do you stand for and what do you not stand for. This is important as corporates will look for a brand and values that match. There are unfortunately not enough female athletes that have given this proper consideration.

Then, identify and list the “added” value that you offer a corporate outside of just your performance. For an example, creating a personal, money-can’t-buy experience, for the business executives and also their staff. Write blogs for them, etc. There is so much in this space.

Lastly, ensure that you have researched and studied the corporate that is being approached. Understand their history, proposition and values. Corporates do ask questions to see if the athlete is informed. This will also provide the athlete with clarity on whether the prospective sponsor is a personal/business brand match. A willing sponsor is not necessarily the correct sponsor for the athlete.

What makes a good brand ambassador?

The athlete has to think beyond just pure performance. This alone is too one dimensional. A good brand ambassador learns and speaks the sponsor’s language, uses their hashtags and creates authentic content proactively. She is fully immersed in the sponsors brand narratives. Whether she’s doing a public speech or making a social media post, her sponsor is weaved in authentically. Logically she supports her sponsor with/at their key moments and events. Brand campaigns, launches, team build’s and awards functions are just some examples. She becomes an extension of her sponsor’s brand. But probably most importantly, she builds an extraordinarily strong relationship with her sponsor. Without a strong relationship success is impossible.

Your sincerity to uplift women comes through strongly. What is your advice to men about the role they can play in this vital conversation of women empowerment?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the men too, but they have enjoyed commercial preference for many, many years. It’s time that we rectify the imbalance. And, there is no reason to feel insecure, in fact, the opposite. Together we are stronger. My advice to any guy out there is, go and sit with a professional woman in sport, listen to her story, listen to her challenges. That’s it! You won’t need me to explain to you what to go and do next.

Away from sport sponsorship, you are also a Transformational Life Coach. Tell us more about this journey and how you use it to support women in sport.

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. The foundation reason being to serve others. The science and psychology around transformational life coaching is remarkably interesting and powerful. The aim wasn’t to open my own practice, although this is in the pipeline, but rather to use this knowledge to firstly improve myself and by doing so I am then in a position to better serve and assist others. One needs to be a student of and for life. Being in the sponsorship world for 13 years now combined with the added knowledge I gained as a transformational life coach places me in an extremely fortunate position to really assist women in sport in chasing and achieving their goals. Whether it is about how to approach a prospective sponsor to mentally preparing for a big event, it’s all rewarding and humbling. We have phenomenal women in sport in this country and the sky is the limit for them. They just need more support.

Tell us about the women who shaped Carel Bosman. We know you share such a close bond with your mom and siblings.

“Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was still fairly young. This is when I was given the opportunity to witness the true picture faced by women in this world from a closer perspective. It was part of my everyday life and still is. To be honest, I have never seen more strength, patience, diligence, integrity, inner power, determination, beauty and love than what I witnessed in my mother and sister.” – Bosman opens up about his personal experiences which made him appreciate women.

I’m blessed with incredible parents. We, my sister and I, were brought up in a loving home and were taught strong values. Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was still fairly young. This is when I was given the opportunity to witness the true picture faced by women in this world from a closer perspective. It was part of my everyday life and still is. To be honest, I have never seen more strength, patience, diligence, integrity, inner power, determination, beauty and love than what I witnessed in my mother and sister and quickly realised that all women hold this truth. This while facing inequality daily. Yes, much has changed but this challenge is still very real to this day. A real man shows respect to women. A real man understands the incredible importance of women in every aspect of society and does what is needed to break down any barrier of inequality that exist.

Who are some of your male role models and what have you learnt from them?

Modelling, as we call it in coaching terms, is such a powerful tool and I wish more people will tap into this free resource. I’ve been blessed with many male role models from an incredibly young age. Ones that people will recognise and who I got to know are John Smith, Breyton Paulse, Francois Pienaar, Graeme Smith, A.B de Villiers and Dan Moyane. But I have many role models and always will and they don’t have to be famous J They have, and still teach me many lessons. To name a few; stay humble, believe in yourself, dream big, stay playful, live in the moment, focus on positivity, your mind creates your reality, embrace diversity and serve others.

From your experience, how can we blood strong male role models?

Look at the rate of gender base violence, misuse of alcohol, adultery, crime, corruption, dishonesty, theft and depth, fuelled by greed and lust, we have failed ourselves and others. The world needs real men. Of male role models who still stand for what is right but more importantly, do what is right, respectfully and honourably. It comes back to identity. We have lost our identity and purpose. The men of this world need to fall on their knees and turn back to God. We have to start at the beginning and not simply treat the symptoms. From this foundation one can build.

What else is on your list of ambitions?

So, this is where I say all these amazing things right? Well, sorry to disappoint. My life ambition is to serve, day by day. Sometimes in big ways but most often in small ways. As simple as that!