Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President, Isha Johansen, has travelled to New York to participate in the 2016 Global Women’s Executive Summit. Isha, the only female president of a Football Association in Africa, and one of only two in the world has been at the helm of her country’s sport since 2013. In the last three years, she has had to address numerous challenges – last month, together with her two senior colleagues, she was arrested and detailed in Freetown on allegations that she had misappropriated funds for the Association.
After her arrest and subsequest detention, she was released without any charges. She continues to claim her innocence and that her 14 years in football administration has always been centered on integrity and good governance.
As one of the key speakers at the event Isha will be sharing her personal story as she participates in deliberations focusing on “the role of women in innovation and times of disruption in their organizations”. Isha, an advocate of more transparency and accountability in the way the sport is run, both in her country and globally, has been praised, by some at home, while others have urged her to focus on running football affairs and leave politics to politicians.
Her strong stance on good governance matters seem not to have earned her friends within the corridors of government. She is the first woman to serve on FIFA’s Security and Integrity Committee.
At the two-day event running from 6-7 October 2016 under the theme “The Art of Disruptive Leadership”, Isha will be sharing the same stage with several speakers including Adrienne Harris – Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House National Economic Council; Sandra Leung – Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Su-Mei Thompson – Chief Executive Officer, The Women’s Foundation; Beth A. Rose – Assistant General Counsel, Product Litigation, Ford Motor Company, among others.
Isha founded FC Johansen in 2004 in her attempt at using football in rebuilding her country following a 10+ yearlong civil war. She recently launched Power Play Africa, an initiative aimed at advancing the status of women and girls in Africa through their participation in football. The initiative is supported by both the world football governing body FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.