General Manager of the Philippine Rugby Football Union and Philippine Volcanoes veteran Acee San Juan believes in the ability of rugby to empower Filipinas. Since playing the sport in 2011, she has tirelessly advocated for grassroots development, training & education, and coaching in remote areas —once even flying to post-siege Marawi to help rebuild the community through sport.
Last April 27, she was named as one of the 12 inspiring women around the world to participate in World Rugby and Capgemini’s Women in Rugby Leadership Program.
San Juan has represented the country on countless international tours as a player and captain. Most notable was when she captained the women’s team on their debut at the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in 2015, where the team won its first ever medal in the bi-yearly regional competition. This became the catalyst for the increase in women’s players and teams in the country. Today she devotes her time as General Manager of Domestic Operations of the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU). Apart from organizing local tournaments, she is also a key figure in ChildFund Rugby’s Pass It Back program, which equips children of underprivileged communities with skills and competencies that inspire social change through rugby.
“I am honored to be selected as one of the 2023 Capgemini Women In Rugby Leadership Scholarship awardees. I am grateful to Capgemini and World Rugby for this massive opportunity to support the development of the women’s game and empower more female leaders across the world. Special thanks to the PRFU for their continuous trust and support through the years”, says San Juan of her career-defining opportunity.
This is the second time in five years that a Filipina has been chosen to join. The rigorous selection process identifies rising female leaders in World Rugby. Launched in 2018, the program helps develop its participants’ full potential by supporting their personal and professional development. “By creating a pipeline of female leaders in rugby, the leadership programme is advancing parity and ensuring greater opportunities for women at all levels of the game,” a statement from Capgemini says.
World Rugby Council member Ada Milby, the first Filipina to join the Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership program, is supportive of San Juan’s success. She says, “I’ve been very close to Acee’s development over the years and have watched her presence and voice grow as she took on various leadership roles and responsibilities. I’m proud of the work she has done and this recognition of her efforts is a great reward to supercharge her journey”.
The program aims to accelerate the development of women in rugby through diverse leadership. San Juan, along with other participants, will receive funding for their professional development, as well as personalized coaching sessions and masterclasses. According to Capgemini, 61 women to date have benefited from its program, “going on to fill governance roles at a local, national and regional level, and passing on their knowledge.”
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