International Women's Day 2019

“If you can see it, you can be it” - Vivienne Aiyela


“If you can see it, you can be it” - Vivienne Aiyela 

To mark International Women's Day, London FA is celebrating the fantastic contribution our female workforce is making to football in the Capital. Read our Q&A sessions with a small sample of our fabulous females holding a variety of roles in football.

Tell us about your role(s) in football

I am a Non-Executive Director of Football for London FA and also a Chair of Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary Panels for the FA, which covers grassroots football across England.

What does a typical week look like for you?

Gosh, it depends as I do not work full time at London FA, however as London FA is going through a transformation with a new CEO and Chair, I could be in contact with the CEO (Paul Bickerton) and Chair (James Middlehurst). My daytime career is a Diversity and Inclusion Professional with a background in Human Resources. I am a Social Justice Advocate innovating and advancing equality in the workplace and beyond transforming the world of business and society to make it more inclusive and a better place to work and live for everyone!

Who are/were your most important female role models?

Fatma Samoura, the first black female Secretary General at FIFA, also Shelley Alexander, BBC Sport Lead for Diversity and Women’s Sport and Billie Jean King – both of which I have met.

Tell us one thing still on your bucket list

To have an afternoon tea party (location not yet decided but somewhere in the hot and sunny) and invite the following people for a round table talk: Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, Fatma Samoura, Moya Dodd, Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, David Lammy MP, Shelley Alexander, Theresa May (UK Prime Minister), my friend Solange Tyrah Lee de Haas (Security Officer from FIFA and CAF), Gianni Infantino (FIFA President), Khalida Popal (Director of Afghanistan Women's National Football Team) and my boxing coach Kaan (who used play professional football). I am inviting Theresa May, we all need to step out of our bubble and learn from each other!  

Where is your go to place to get away from it all?

I need to mention two favourite places

One is, At home with my sewing machine. I make 95% of my clothes and sewing is my therapy.  I get off the hamster wheel of life, shut the rest of the world out, and immerse myself into my passion which allows me to let my creative juices flow.  The result can be magical because I can say “yep I made this” but also frustrating at times when I have a problem with a garment I am sewing, this doesn’t always happen though!

Second, Boxing training sessions two or three times a week with my boxing trainer. I am good at it, I have a mean right hook (so I have been told) and I love it. Boxing helps me it de-stress, hitting the pads and the boxing bag. But I hate the burpees he makes me do as part as the circuit training, and yes I do them!

What has been your proudest moment in the last 1-5 years?

Being the First Black Female Non-Executive director of Football in history of County Football! Cracking that concrete ceiling, letting other women and girls see that “if you can see it, you can be it”.