Meet Beth McGuire, Senior Manager, Research & Insights

To honour Women’s History Month, we took five minutes with Beth, Research and Insights Senior Manager on our UK Strategy and Consulting team. In her interview, she discusses a few of her career highlights as part of the Impact and Inclusion council and Women’s Sports Strategy team, and the big opportunities she believes the growth of women across the sports industry presents.

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You’ve been with CSM for nearly five and a half years now. Tell us a bit about your journey to where you are today. What were the defining moments in your career that stand out?

Interestingly, my career in sports actually began at the age of 18 in my first year at University. I studied Marketing without ever thinking about working in the sports industry but took up an opportunity to do a marketing internship with the Scottish Football Association to support with the rebranding and launch of the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

Initially thinking it would just give me some good marketing experience, my internship taught me so much more about the exciting opportunities that exist across the industry, and inspired me to think about how marketing can be used to create more opportunities for women in sports. I couldn’t believe the disparity between men and women’s sport, but also saw it as an incredible opportunity. Safe to say that this has been a consistent vision of mine throughout my career and what continues to get me up in the morning!

Five and a half years later at CSM and the time truly flies when you are having fun – that’s a highlight within itself! There have been so many amazing moments and great work that I’ve been so lucky to work on over that time.

I do believe that COVID and the lockdowns that came with it were a defining moment for several reasons. It forced us to think differently and innovate with our work given the environment we were working in. Off the back of it, we ended up creating some of our best work in Strategy & Consulting, and it’s been great to see how much our team has grown, from the additions of new people in our team but also the enhanced skillsets we have. It also inspired some great minds in our business to create the Women’s Sport Strategy team.

It would also be rude of me to mention the opportunity to work on more Formula 1 since I have such a strong passion for the sport!

As you said, you do a lot of work within the Formula 1 space, what do you think the future holds for women’s participation in F1 and brand sponsorship for women?

Formula 1 is such an exciting place to be working in at the moment due to the momentum around women’s motorsport. We’ve been witnessing a steep and steady increase in female fandom over recent years, and as a result, there is a great community of women who are fans of the sport but who are also increasingly working within the sport too.

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There is significant momentum around creating opportunities for women to race at the highest level of sport through the creation of F1 Academy as just one of many examples, to the increasing number of women working in STEM, there is a great opportunity for brands to come into F1 and truly change the face of the biggest mixed sport in the world. You can only imagine the economic, social and cultural impact that would take place if we saw women competing at the highest level of F1.

We’ve also been seeing that female fans are engaging with the sport in new ways, whether it be creating their own fan communities on social media, starting a small business, or starting their own podcasts talking about the ins and outs of F1. This creates such an interesting landscape for brands and rights holders to innovate with how they show up in the sport and how they can engage new fans.

At CSM, we have created a dedicated strategy to growing women’s motorsports, utilising our experts across both CSM Motorsports and our Women’s Sports Strategy team. Given our expertise in motorsports, we have a unique role to play in keeping up the momentum and to use our skills to create more opportunity for women in the sport both on and off the track, i.e. using the power of marketing to create opportunities for women in motorsports!

Alongside your day job, you are also a part of our Inclusion & Impact Council and the Women’s Sport Strategy Team in the UK. Can you tell us why you’re passionate about working in these areas and share some key highlights?

I genuinely believe that an inclusive work environment has many benefits for everyone. It creates an environment where everyone can enjoy the work they do, but also can foster incredible creativity and innovation.

Working across both our Inclusion & Impact Council and Women’s Sport Strategy Team is such a unique opportunity due to the natural synergies that exist across both groups. It’s exciting to work with like-minded people across different business areas to create new ideas!

Two recent highlights for me are the work we are doing between our Women’s Sport Strategy team and our Talent team around female athlete representation in rugby ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year, and creating the CSM Fireside Chats through our I&I Council.

The theme for Women’s History Month this year is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”. Thinking a bit about your career to date, and future aspirations, how do you feel about the idea of Investing in Women within the workplace, as well as sports specifically?

This theme resonates with me for a number of reasons! As part of the sports industry, we are starting to see the benefits of investing in women as fans, athletes and as colleagues.

In my opinion, women have been stereotyped in sports for too long. Often, opinions that women aren’t interested in watching or playing sports have been taken as a fact, but the research we have seen and trends around women as fans and athletes show a very different picture.

Women as fans create so many opportunities for us as an industry. By 2028, women across the globe are projected to own 75% of discretionary spending. Rights holders are beginning to realise that investing in understanding women and how they engage with sports, what experiences and products they are looking for, are a great to way to invest in growing your audience (Example A: Formula 1). Brands are also starting to realise that sports are a great way to engage with women.

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The entrepreneur in me also sees the opportunities around women’s sport properties, there is so much scope for innovation and so many incredible athletes out there with untold stories.

I also think that since I started my career, I’ve seen an increasing number of women working across the industry across multiple disciplines and I do believe they are coming into the industry and changing the status quo – it’s just important that it continues to be encouraged and embraced!

When not at work, what would we find you doing?

My favourite things outside of work can be defined as food, yoga, dogs and reality TV. If I hadn’t decided to work in sports and entertainment, I likely would’ve gone into doing something with food. Nothing gives me greater joy than researching new recipes and testing them out or taking the dog for long country walks. If you need any food inspiration or want to walk a Labrador in the countryside then give me a shout!