One of our three incoming directors, Willa Bailey, has spoken for the first time since winning the elections in October.
Willa is just 23-years-old and is excited to bring more diversity into the board, believing her young and fresh energy will help remove the barriers of not having enough women in the decision-making rooms.
Speaking on the night she found out Willa said: “I pretty much just burst out laughing! I was so happy, and it was a really good moment for me.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t believe I would get it, but I just knew that everyone going for it was seriously impressive.
“My family were really happy for me. I called them up and basically rushed them home from a dog walk to tell them!
Willa shared about where her passion and enthusiasm comes from and how her cousin’s football success inspired her.
“My whole family is football obsessed but one moment that resonates with me was in 2018, my cousin captained her University of Cambridge college football team to winning the league.
“Up until that point I had kind of thought the space of football was reserved for men, but for her to not only be able to play but play in a league and succeed was so powerful and that encouraged me to get into football.
“I had contacted Karen [Dobres] previously, who is just an amazing woman, and she mentioned at the time about the board of directors.
“The opportunity arose for me to apply, and I thought I would give it a go. The experience in itself was amazing, it encouraged me to be more involved with the club regardless.
Willa first discovered Lewes FC in 2021, a moment that inspired her beyond just getting involved with the club.
“I initially found out about the club a year-and-a-half ago in 2021, around the time of International Women’s Day.
“There was a piece in The Guardian by Suzy Wrack about the equal pay initiative, and there was a quote from Maggie Murphy basically saying if we want to create change in this country, we can do it but if we don’t utilise football as a tool we’ll just get there slower!
“It just made so much sense in my head and at the time I was planning what to write my dissertation on. I studied Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh focusing on social sustainability.
“So, when it came to my dissertation, being inspired by my cousin and combined with the work I saw Lewes doing, brought me to my title which was ‘Women’s Football – A Game of Resistance.’
“It was basically how the history of oppression for women in football has emboldened us with power when we play, power that transcends the football pitch”
Lastly, Willa spoke to us about what she would bring to the role and her future ambitions for the club.
“I am leading on Impact on the World, and with that, it’s so hard to quantify what can be done. Football has such a big reach and Lewes as a club has a big voice as well.
“The diversity on the board is a really big thing and one of the barriers to change in football is definitely not having enough women in those decision-making rooms.
“I’m excited to bring that to the board in that sense and also my age as well. Me and Maggie spoke about potentially starting a Youth Council, I think it would be great for us to bring the next generation in to help us with our goals.
“For us to become the most fan-owned club in the country would be incredible and really important in helping us achieve our goals. Increasing ownerships is crucial to my side of what I want to do as well. More exposure means more ability for us to make change.
“It would be great to see both the women and men get promoted. Especially if the women got to the WSL competing with huge football clubs, we have something they don’t, and it would be amazing to showcase that.”