Preeti has an incredible CV and incredible influence in the sports world. As CEO of UpShot and as a Non-Executive Director of Brentford Football club, enjoy this letter its brilliant.
I’ve been asked to write a #500wordletter – why me I don’t know? I’m not a parent, a coach or an athlete, this much is for sure. But I do work in sport and have done for a while so I guess there are some things I can share with a child.
Sport has taught me to be brave and resilient and kind. Whether you win or lose, it’s all in your mind. I am not an athlete but I definitely can lead and I am hoping to share with you how you too can plant that seed. My journey with sport happened by chance but it’s given me the skills to help me advance.
I learnt about teamwork and never giving up, about trying again even when you’ve had enough. Sport has taught me how to make new friends, how to put myself out there against all the trends. To work hard and work smart, always believe in myself – because leadership isn’t something you buy off the shelf.
Leadership is unique and everyone has their own – sometimes you have to learn it and sometimes you are shown. But regardless of how, it exists within us all – no matter how big, no matter how small. And sport has a way of bringing it out and once it’s there, it’s with you forever and throughout. So use this letter and I hope it serves you well – sport changed my world so this is my sell. Don’t force your children to be leaders, this is never going to work. Forcing them to do it will just make them jerks. Instead get them to play or join a sports team, give them a ball and allow them to dream. Tell them they can be whoever they want, a beginner, a pro or even a savant. Tell them that failure is part of the game, that as long as you learn there is no shame. That the goal is always to try again, that sport is for everyone, not just for men. Show them that you will always be there, good days and bad days, you always will care. That sport can be played in sun and in rain, it’s good for the body and good for the brain.
For me as a leader, I have laughed and I’ve cried but at the end of the day, sport gives me so much pride. Pride in myself and all of my team – I know when we do it together we can reign supreme. It makes me humble and it makes me strong, even the times when I get it so wrong. So I hope this #500wordletter will give you some hope, give you some strength when it’s hard to cope. If sport could do what it did for me, it can help you too, I hope you can see.
As I read this #500 Word Letter back, I have realised I quite like a rhyme – might it be because I am no longer in my prime?
Preeti is the CEO of Upshot, a social enterprise that helps non profits manage, monitor and evidence the community work they deliver. Preeti focuses her efforts on proving the difference charities can makes to people’s lives and communities through impact measurement and evaluation. Built in 2012 by the Football Foundation, Upshot is now used by over 1000 organizations across the UK and internationally. Preeti has worked in the social change space for over 10 years, starting off at the BBC and working for various national and international NGOs and brands. A well-respected figure particularly in the sport for development space, Preeti was named one of The Sport Industry Group Next Generation Leaders in Sport, is an Independent Director of London Sport Trading and Brentford Football Club, is the Vice Chair of Street Child United, sits on the Women in Football Board Committee.