TTOC has held its fourth Advancing Women in Leadership Forum ©TTOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz and Mexican Olympic Committee vice-president Jimena Saldana participated in the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee's (TTOC) Advancing Women in Leadership Forum.

The fourth edition of the Forum was titled "Embracing Change and Transformation during a Pandemic", with the event held using Zoom.

Hoevertsz was the first woman to serve on the Panam Sports Executive Committee and become only the fourth to become part of the IOC Executive Board when elected in 2017.

The former synchronised swimmer said creating more opportunities for women is key, with the aim of equality in decision-making positions.

"It is great to be the first in but I have to make sure I am not the last," Hoevertsz said, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

"So it's about sending down the elevator and creating more opportunities for women.

"The IOC has been pushing for National Federations to have women in leadership positions.

"On the athletes' level, it is almost 50-50 but not in the decision-making positions."

IOC Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz participated in the virtual forum ©Getty Images
IOC Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz participated in the virtual forum ©Getty Images

Aruba's Hoevertsz suggested women should undertake training, mentoring and online courses to ensure they are ready to take opportunities when they arise.

Saldana echoed Hovertsz's sentiments and said men can play an important role by working to open up opportunities for women.

"The sports world is controlled by men but there are those who believe in women and have opened up opportunities for women," Saldana said.

"Men have the power to open up opportunities for women and as Nicole said it's about 'sending down the elevator' and understanding the importance of opening doors for women."

Hoevertsz and Saldana praised the efforts of TTOC President Brian Lewis in seeking to promote gender equality and greater opportunities for women.

Lewis, who also serves as Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees President, gave the opening address at the Forum.

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe also participated.

Pascal's Bakery chief executive Melissa Pascal, archer Priyanka Dhanie and West Indies cricketer Stacy Ann King were among other panellists.