World Sailing appoints new Head of International Development

World Sailing has appointed experienced sports administration professional Fiona Kidd as its new Head of International Development.  

As World Sailing continues its commitment to developing the sport globally, Fiona’s appointment adds valuable experience in delivering impactful programs to enhance the support available to Member National Authorities and the international sailing community. 

In the role of Head of International Development, Fiona will be responsible for the strategic development, implementation and delivery of World Sailing’s mission to grow the sport and make sailing more accessible by securing funding for key projects, supporting and delivering training and development for sailors, coaches, race officials and regional development coordinators around the world.   

Kidd brings over 30 years of experience in sailing developing youth and senior classes, coaching development and sustainability programs, as well as organising major events. Her most recent role was as Secretary General of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), a position she held for over seven years. In this position, she led the IODA Executive Committee, managing a multi-stakeholder environment with global members in more than 110 countries and planning the daily operation of the world’s largest youth sailing class.  

She initiated the Recycled Optimist Parts and Equipment (ROPE), a peer-to-peer program to increase sustainability and social responsibility within the class with sailors donating Optimist equipment to sailors across the globe. Under Fiona’s guidance IODA is introducing the Optimus Coach Development Program to create more opportunities and provide a pathway for coaches within the class.  

Fiona has also served as Executive Secretary of ILCA North America and at World Sailing, was chair of the World Youth Sailing Championship Commitee from 2000-2012 and chair of the Women’s Forum from 2004-2012, and was the Sailing Sports Manager at the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para Pan American Games organising committee.  

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said, “This is a very important appointment for World Sailing and her experience in delivering programs so closely aligned to our priorities will help to strengthen the sport in terms of sustainability and create more opportunities for people around the world at all levels.” 

“Fiona adds valuable insight that will help World Sailing build on our work in sustainability, Para Sailing and our ongoing objective to encourage more women and girls into sailing. Her experience in leadership roles brings a unique perspective from within the sport and will assist in engaging stakeholders and inspiring teams to achieve our shared strategic goals. She is a valuable asset to the international sailing community and we are all delighted to welcome her to the team at World Sailing.” 

Kidd, who starts in the role immediately, said, “Almost my entire professional career has been devoted to the development of the sport and to be joining World Sailing at such a pivotal time is an incredibly proud moment for me. I am looking forward to bringing my passion for youth development, equality, accessibility and sustainability to the federation to make a meaningful impact on sailing worldwide and for sailors around the world. 

“I have seen first hand how the sport can change people’s lives and have a positive impact on the community. It is my goal to work with the classes, clubs, our Members and committees to continue this mission and promote these core values for the benefit of the entire sport.”

JPK August 2023
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