The third episode in the ‘Official business’ podcast series features Lisa Ferdinand, an international starter based in Canada who has started some of the sport’s biggest races.
This podcast series is presented by athlete and Athletics Ireland Women in Sport manager Lilly-Ann O'Hora and Vicky Huyton, coach and founder of the Female Coaching Network, as they interview some of the women involved in officiating.
In this episode, Ferdinand shares her experiences of being a starter and explains how her journey began, and why.
Ferdinand admits that on retirement from her high jump career, she hadn't even thought about officiating until she was asked to help out. "I am glad someone suggested it to me,” she says. “It was a great way to stay connected with my former teammates and my coaches, and it was a great way not only to give back, but also to stay involved in the athletics family."
Throughout her career, Ferdinand has been a starter at the World Athletics Championships, World Indoor Championships, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games. In 2015, she became the first woman to be nominated to the World Athletics Starters Panel.
Empowering women in athletics
The Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook is an extension of the work of the Gender Leadership Taskforce, offering a community for women in athletics and a place where they can share stories and experiences as well as ideas and projects.
"In officiating, we do have a pretty good representation of men and women, the stats are roughly 60/40, although I would like to see that higher as we move closer to 50/50,” Ferdinand says.
While she has had her own challenges and barriers during her career, Ferdinand hopes to support more women in taking to the track along the officiating pathway.