Natalie Barlow Aims to A Leave Legacy for The Next Generation

Marketing and Commercial Manager at LaLiga South Africa, Natalie Barlow has continued to make groundbreaking moves as she hopes to leave a legacy to inspire more women to venture into the sport industry.

Recently, Barlow attended the LaLiga international week where delegates from across the world gathered to discuss the new season and global projects. On the trip, Barlow says it was a great learning exercise for her in terms of her job in the commercial, marketing and license department.

The former Cape Town City FC Marketing Brand Manager is also passionate about mentoring young girls in football and enhancing the leadership of women in sport.

Her wish is to see more sponsors getting on board and supporting more sport programs that involve young girls and women.

Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Barlow chats more about the importance of LaLiga working together with local brands and clubs.

 

Natalie, thank you for chatting to us! Please tell us about your recent trip to Spain and the experience.

I had the most amazing football match experience at the ElDerbi – the match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid. There were a lot of different activations which allows so many people to come and enjoy not only the game, but the whole experience. I had goosebumps hearing the fans all sing together.

But it was not just pleasure, it was our LaLiga International week which brings all international offices and delegates together to discuss the new season and global projects. It was such a great learning exercise for me, especially taking in from our commercial, marketing and license department. I also had the opportunity to attend the internal Season Kick Off event in which both our President and CEO addressed all staff on different topics.

So yes, it was an unforgettable experience and photos, or videos won’t justify it, it is definitely an event you have to experience to understand. I can go on and on about it, especially the match day vibe. You don’t need to love football to have a great time – now I understand the slogan “it’s not football, its LaLiga “

 

Why is it important for LaLiga to work with local brands and clubs?

Having a physical presence in the country is very important for us, as it allows us to work with local partners and our local fans to create a stronger and lasting relationships.

Not so long ago, it was not possible to watch LaLiga on TV in South Africa and having a local partner such as SuperSport gives our fans opportunities to watch all our games.

At the same time, our fans will always support their local clubs first, so not only is it to create relationships with local partners, clubs and leagues, but it also gives us all an opportunity to work together and share knowledge to build football globally and provide fans different experiences.

 

How important is it for women to take on sponsorship roles, especially in sport?

I don’t think it is important for women to only take on sponsorship roles in spors, but it is important for women to take on more and more leadership roles in any industry. In the sport industry there is countless leadership roles for females to take on. We have been seeing the trend worldwide now and starting to get to see more and more at home in Africa.

 

What are your hopes for women’s sport in South Africa for the future and does LaLiga offer programs for young girls?

My hopes for women in sport in SA is that our female athletes get more media recognition, get more exposure, especially when they are representing their country. It would be great to see more sponsors getting on board and support more sport programs, especially those that involve young girls and women. I would also like to see more female leaders in sports organizations. We need more women in boardrooms and to open doors for the rest out there to be heard. There are so many women in SA who have the power to succeed in sport, if only more opportunities were afforded to them.

Yes, LaLiga does offer programs for girls and boys. We need more brands to get on board, for us to work together and give our youth opportunities. We also have the LaLiga business school for women in sport to gain knowledge on an international level, opportunities to host Camps with UEFA qualified coaches and arrange international tournaments to give our youth the experience and exposure.

Also, in our SA LaLiga office, we have more female than male staff and in general within our global organization we are one of the leaders in terms of number of female workers’ rate. But there is still room for improving and that is something we always are keen to look at.

 

Who are some of the women in football you admire and why?

Fran Hilton-Smith and Natasha Tsichlas have contributed so much to the development of football in our country, and in Africa, and have inspired women like myself. Natasha Tsichlas has been the first female on Executive boards when the industry was still very male dominant.

I cannot not mention Fatma Samoura who has proven to us that as an African female, she has become the first female Secretary General of FIFA and the first non-European to hold the second most powerful position at FIFA. She continues to lead and inspire women like myself and the next generation in Africa. Her excellency is remarkable and makes her a great ambassador for the African continent.

 

What is it that people don’t know about you?

I am passionate about the mentorship of young females in football and enhancing the leadership of women in sport. I have a great passion for sport and upliftment, and I love what I do.

 

What’s your greatest career ambition?

My ambition is to become a leader, leaving behind a legacy that creates opportunities for young females out there who see themselves in leadership roles. Working currently for one of the biggest leagues in the world and still being able to contribute and being part of the growth of football in my country is already an amazing achievement for me.

 

What’s your advice to aspiring women who want to get into the sport industry?

It is important that you always believe in yourself and your abilities. I hope that I can inspire many young females out there to step up and break boundaries in the sport industry. I would like to encourage all women pursuing a career in football to step out of their comfort zones, apply for the opportunities and get the necessary skills that you need for the job that you want. Work hard because without hard work no miracle will fall on your lap. My aim is to inspire even more young females by my actions and work. There’s certainly enough room in the sport industry for all of us females to shine and prosper.

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