The Chelsea and England striker is noted as a natural goalscorer and a leading talent in the women’s game. She’s won Premier League and FA Cups and played over 100 internationals. Off the pitch she’s a lawyer, having qualified in the US and working the City. She also hit the headlines with her stand against the discrimination, outdated behaviour and damaging culture within the England women’s coaching set up. As well as examining the lessons any organisation can learn from the failures within the FA, she also looks at the nature of a winning team and a winning mindset, and what good leadership looks like.
Eniola Aluko is one of England’s leading women footballers, a striker noted for her pace and finishing, as well as a regular in the media. She plays for Chelsea Ladies, England, and played in the London 2012 TeamGB squad. She’s an FA Women’s and Premier League Cup winner and is an established international.
Born in Nigeria, Eni and her family moved to the UK when she was still a baby. She started her football career at Leafield Athletic Ladies before moving to Birmingham City, where she scored on her debut. Soon after she played her first match representing England at the age of 14. She sat her A Levels at the same time as playing in the UEFA Women’s Euro tournament.
There followed a successful spell at Charlton Athletic where she won the Premier League Cup, FA Women’s Cup, and the Community Shield. After a brief time at Chelsea, she played for three clubs in the US before returning to England and Birmingham City. At international level she was a regular goal scorer in World Cup and Euro competitions and has been capped 100 times.
Eni has been dubbed by some in the media as the Wayne Rooney of the women’s game for her natural ability, creativity and eye for goal. Unlike the former Manchester United and England captain, however, Eni is also a qualified lawyer. Having taken her bar exams in New York and in London, she worked in the City specialising in entertainment law.
Despite Eni’s impressive achievements on the pitch, she has had an arguably higher profile and greater role to play off it. She was instrumental in revealing ingrained and often officially denied racism and discrimination by senior figures within the England team coaching set up, and serious problems within the wider FA. Her refusal to be silenced and willingness to stand up against outdated, offensive behaviour revealed a culture of intimidation and wilful blindness.
Eni speaks about the nature of teams, and creating a culture that both supports but also holds to account. She considers the best and worst of leadership and looks at what it takes to instil a winning mindset. She also examines what went wrong in the England set up and the important lessons all organisations can learn.
In the media Eni has appeared on Match of the Day, making her the first woman to appear on the BBC institution as a pundit. She’s also added her voice to ITV, Sky and BBC coverage of the women’s and men’s game. She’s also appeared on the quiz show Pointless Celebrities.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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