Women’s Football Development, Leadership in Football
Mayi Cruz Blanco is originally from Cuba and has a passion for sports, that comes from practicing since a young age. She has been working in Europe for most of the past 15 years in international environments and leading multimillion dollar projects cross-continents.
Mayi, has overseen women’s football development at FIFA, since 2008 and has made a mark in football, by creating the FIFA’s women’s football development portfolio with a global outreach of 190 countries and; the increment of the funding allocated for the programmes, amounting to a 22 million dollars’ budget. Under Mayi’s guidance, women’s football development has risen dramatically during the last decade; becoming a core pillar of FIFA 2.0, the new strategy of FIFA.
Highlights on Mayi’s achievements, include the creation of programmes to boost grassroots, youth and leagues’ development, coaching education and football management within the women’s game. A core part her role, has been to lead promotional initiatives, creating content and compelling stories to show-case success of the projects delivered worldwide. Mayi led, the implementation of the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign (present today in 73 countries), including communication and promotional strategy, marketing and branding processes. Under the framework of Live Your Goals, she also organised the first ever Promotional Tour, linked to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, that saw the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy; travelling around the world and visiting the 23 qualified countries.
Mayi created the first ever FIFA leadership programme, with over 70 leaders graduating between 2005-2016. Together with a Team from THNK – School of Creative Leadership, she delivered a cutting-edge programme; enabling emerging female leaders to thrive in football.
During her time working at FIFA, Mayi has overseeing events and conferences across continents, which implied travelling across the globe to over 40 countries addressing multicultural audiences; and developing a strong network leaders, experts and executives across 211 countries.
Graduated in sport sciences, with Class Honours, Mayi has also an International Master Degree in humanities, management and law of sports and has done studies on the field of Leadership Development.
Mayi is an energetic, creative individual and strong advocate towards Equality For All; she will teach the courses focussing on Women’s Football Development and Leadership at The FBA
“I believe that creating opportunities for girls and women in football will have a direct impact in bringing our sport to the next level. Football boosts recognition for girls and women and their potential for bringing positive change and impact to society and the wider world.”
“We need innovative and creative leaders in football, who acknowledge diversity, support good governance, encourage and nurture talent, while ensuring business sustainability”
FIFA, Global Head of Women’s Football Development Department
WORLD ARCHERY, Development Coordinator
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, Athlete’s Section (Olympic Solidarity)
CUBAN SPORT SCIENCES UNIVERSITY, Professor of sport management and history. Tutor for academic dissertations
CUBAN SPORT INSTITUTE, Physical education teacher and community coach