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Become a Coach or Mentor in the USA Fencing Women Coaches Mentoring Program

10/12/2022, 9:00am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Join USA Fencing's mission to help build the next generation of women leaders. Cohort members will experience a five-month development program that will provide women with necessary skills to be successful leaders and coaches.

Photo by Serge Timacheff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As of this writing in 2022, less than a quarter of all coaches registered with USA Fencing are women. 

Challenge accepted.

Introducing the USA Fencing Women Coaches Mentoring Program, a new initiative designed to advance the development of women as future leaders and coaches in the sport of fencing. 

Women make up about 35% of USA Fencing membership, which is significantly below the benchmark set by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. 

Looking at coaches, specifically, just 23% of USA Fencing coaches identify as women. 

“As an organization we acknowledge the lack of representation of women in leadership positions, especially as coaches,” says Shannon Jolly, USA Fencing’s senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. “This mentorship program will help provide women coaches an interactive development experience that can create pathways to coaching opportunities. As we continue efforts to champion women and their contributions to the sport, as a collective, we have to show up for each other to truly shift the culture.”

Here’s how the program works: Over the course of five months, aspiring or new women coaches with three or fewer years of coaching experience will be matched with seasoned coaches who will serve as a mentor and advocate for their mentee(s). Think of it as professional development specifically designed for women fencing coaches.

Fifteen women will be selected to participate as mentees in this initial cohort.

Mentees will be given interactive challenges to help develop their skills as a coach and leader, engage in virtual developmental workshops facilitated by industry leaders, and learn from and network with nationally recognized coaches who will share their experiences and best practices. 

By creating these connections, we hope to grow the number of women coaches in USA Fencing and help these women thrive domestically and internationally.

The program will assist in facilitating the growth and development of women coaches through:

  1. One-on-one coaching and mentoring

  2. Leadership development training sessions

  3. Establishing an ecosystem of support that encourages shared ideas and best practices 

There is no cost to apply for or participate in the program as a mentor or mentee. 

Ready to apply? Applications for our first cohort of mentors and mentees are now open and close Nov. 1, 2022.

For Mentees 

  • Must be a member of USA Fencing

  • Must attend mentorship training session

  • Must have three years or less of experience

  • Must attend all four developmental sessions

  • Must meet with mentor a minimum of once per month 

Apply to be a mentee/participant 

Applications close Nov. 1, and the cohort will be notified by Dec. 5.


For Mentors

  • Must be a member of USA Fencing

  • Must have five or more years of coaching experience

  • Must attend mentorship training session 

  • Must commit to scheduling a minimum of one meeting per month with mentee

Apply to be a mentor 

Applications close Nov. 1, and the cohort will be notified by Dec. 5.

More About the Program

  • Held January 2023 to May 2023
  • Developmental sessions will be held every second Wednesday of the month at noon MT/2 p.m. ET on these dates:
    • Jan. 11 

    • Feb. 8 

    • March 8

    • April 12 

    • May 10 - Focus Group Session

    • An in-person mentee/mentor mixer will take place at the 2023 Summer Nationals in Phoenix, Ariz.

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