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100 SportWorks TALKS

"We need more transparency in the sports industry, and the only way to get it is talking about it."

Christiaan Page

And yes, at SportWorks, we have been talking about it. We reached 100 SportWorks TALKS, and a lot had changed since that first TALK in February 2019. To celebrate this important threshold, Tatiana Ghigonetto and Christiaan Page, founders of SportWorks, tell us about the beginnings of this adventure.

It all started before the pandemic (although at this point, it’s even hard to remember). The TALKS, which now reach a global audience, were born at SportWorks coworking space, during informal conversations with colleagues in the sports industry, over coffee and croissants. 

 

Can you believe it?

 

Tatiana and Christiaan enjoyed those conversations so much that they came up with the idea of opening them up to more people in the community. 

Soon enough, the first TALK was born, with Torin Koos as a speaker. After that, getting together to talk about relevant topics became a tradition. More and more people came to share their expertise and stories, and what started with a network of friends, expanded to having the Nobel Prize Professor Muhammad Yunus as a guest. The event gathered more than 100 people in the MSI – Maison du Sport International, where SportWorks has its headquarters in Lausanne.

 

Suddenly, the pandemic isolated us all, and the live meetings had to be suspended. However, it was clear to Tatiana and Christiaan that they had to reinvent themselves. In face of the disconnection imposed by the pandemic, it was more important than ever to keep the community together. The solution? Making the TALKS a regular online series.

 

 

Christiaan and Tatiana smile at the memory of that first digital leap. “I remember Nadia Bonjour saying to me, ‘oh my God, I’m going to be your guinea pig!'”, shared Tatiana while laughing. And laughter was really needed at the beginning, since producing an online webinar from their own house was not easy during the pandemic and with two kids.

Croissants and coffee timidly returned with time, as long as health measures allowed. But the online format was already a success, so the next step was setting up a professional Studio, that allowed the TALKS to happen in a hybrid way: sometimes with guest and host live from SportWorks, sometimes with only one of them live, or with both connecting online. That created the space to make the TALKS a global conversation, with people connecting from all continents, enriching the discussions.

 

Amplifying the voices of inspiring women has always been one of Tatiana’s priorities. With time, SportWorks TALKS became a platform for that.

"Many women told me before the TALK: 'what a mess you got me into, I'm so nervous, I don't want to do it'. But as soon as it was over, they were overjoyed and said 'thank you for pushing me to do it, I didn't know I was capable of telling my story, it has been a great experience."

Tatiana Ghigonetto

Despite all the transformations, however, the essence remains the same: starting a conversation, raising the voice of the people who work in sports, creating awareness, connections, learning together, and at the end: empowering the sports community and building bridges to evolve as a whole.

 

SportWorks have strived to cover all branches of the sports industry, serving as a loudspeaker and generating spaces for reflection, discussion, and exchange of ideas. Yet, the TALKS are always faithful to their principles, values and respect to an honest narrative. These became the trademarks of SportWorks’ editorial guideline.

The power of community lies in the synergies created between people. Christiaan, with more than 30 years of experience in the sports industry, bears true to that. He always had a vision of facilitating those community synergies, and now, after 100 TALKS, he acknowledges how much he has learned from each episode. It was a gift, after all, not only for those he loves in the sports community, but also for himself.

 

That’s the beauty of listening to stories and participating in conversations on different topics; it always adds value to the community.

“Well, we not only had inspiring moments, but there were also some difficult and funny ones,” Christiaan adds, remembering us that behind all the TALKS achieved, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stories. 

From mics that don’t work to bursting in laughter at unexpected moments, and from witnessing things going wrong in many levels of production to thinking we will eat croissants at the end, to continue the rich conversations in SportWorks cafeteria, it all contributes to make SportWorks TALKS a living project, that grows, tumbles, learns and then grows again.

None of this would have been possible without the passion and talent of the SportWorks team. 


We close 2021 year celebrating the achievement of this milestone in the SportWorks journey. One hundred talks, 100 stories, and enriching conversations.

As Tatiana and Christiaan said, “100 TALKS is just the beginning.” So, SportWorks TALKS 2022, here we come!

Thank you all for being part of this exciting journey!

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