250 Young Leaders attend City’s first digital Young Leaders Summit


Melbourne City FC’s Young Leaders came together with Young Leaders from 23 cities across the world this week to take part in Manchester’s first ever Young Leaders Summit delivered virtually, providing them with the leadership skills to support their communities on their journey to recovery through football. 

Manchester City, alongside principal partner Etihad Airways, hosted its first digital Young Leaders Summit. Traditionally held in Manchester each year, the Summit ordinarily sees Young Leaders from the Club’s global Cityzens Giving projects fly to the Etihad Campus for a week of interactive learning, football workshops and networking sessions. However, due to current restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Summit has instead been hosted digitally for the first time, for Young Leaders to join remotely from around the world.

Supported by Cisco, the Club’s Official Technology Partner, the digital Summit used Webex to enable all Young Leaders to connect remotely, participate in valuable discussion and engage in fun collaboration.

More than 250 Young Leaders from 23 cities around the world tuned in throughout the week, which was opened by addresses from City Football Group CEO, Ferran Soriano, and Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas. Sessions were led by City in the Community coaches, including Melbourne City FC’s very own community team, and covered various themes including leadership in a crisis, community coaching, social impact through football, adapting to new needs within communities, and project management. The Young Leaders were able to share their experiences of COVID-19 whilst collectively exploring ways they could help make a difference in their communities, applying what they learned throughout the week.

The Summit forms part of Cityzens Giving for Recovery, City Football Group’s 12-month campaign bringing together the expertise, facilities and resources of its nine clubs, thousands of staff, and millions of fans to help communities get back on their feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young Leaders will also play a key role throughout the campaign by supporting the delivery of the recovery projects in their communities.

Manchester City also welcomed inspirational speakers from the world of sport during the week, including former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, current Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, Britain’s most successful Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Wimbledon tennis champion Marion Bartoli and sport and television presenter Seema Jaswal.

PUMA Ambassador Tommie Smith, the Olympian famous for his Black Power salute protesting racial injustice in the United States at the 1968 Olympics award ceremony, also joined the panel of guests. Each speaker shared their leadership journeys and how their experiences shaped them, before answering questions from Young Leaders about the importance of resilience, perseverance and how to make a positive impact.

Cityzens Giving supports youth-led community football projects in global locations in 23 cities including Manchester, New York, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Beijing, Sao Paolo, and Bangalore. Manchester City partners Etihad Airways, Cisco, Xylem, SAP, Rexona, and Nexen Tire closely support projects and training in these cities by providing additional expertise in market.

Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive of City Football Group, said: “Throughout this pandemic we have all had to think differently about how we engage and interact with each other, and I am delighted that we were able to bring our Young Leaders together digitally. The Summit provides important opportunities for our Young Leaders to continue developing their skills, as well as the chance to reflect on the amazing work they are doing in their communities and learn from one another.

“Alongside the expertise of our City in the Community coaches, this year we also had the privilege of welcoming exciting guest speakers to the week’s events to talk about their experiences. We are proud to have been able to facilitate these insightful conversations and provide a platform for participants to hear these stories first-hand. We look forward to seeing our Young Leaders apply what they have learned and continue empowering their communities, supporting them as they begin to recover from the pandemic and beyond.”

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group said: “At Etihad, we acknowledge the impact COVID-19 is having on communities right across the world, and as City’s principal partner for more than a decade, we were proud to support the Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit for a fifth year.

“We have all made changes, remained flexible and conscious of each other during these challenging times, and it was great to see City adapt the summit to ensure that young leaders didn’t miss out on this valuable experience. I’m confident each participant now has the skills to deliver impactful sessions and create real change, to become leaders and pillars of strength within their communities.”