Athlete Profile: Isabel Swan

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1983, Isabel made history at the 2008 Beijing Games where she claimed 470-class bronze, becoming Brazil’s first female sailor to win an Olympic medal.

The achievement crowned six other titles of global significance: Isabel is four-time South America Champion, and two-time World Military Champion. It’s no surprise that the Brazilian athlete has been ranked in the top ten of the world championships with various partners in the 470-class over recent years.

Alongside Isabel’s sporting pedigree runs an equally distinguished academic record. She holds a degree in Social Communication and an MBA in Project Management, and was an athletic ambassador and speaker during Rio’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games; her presentation in English to the IOC in Geneva helped to highlight the iconic city’s credentials as an ideal Olympic venue.

Isabel has also worked as a freelance reporter for sports shows in Brazil, and has hosted a YouTube channel for Embratel Telecommunications covering the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Througout her career Isabel has demonstrated resilience and hard-working character by overcoming many challenges. After claiming bronze in Beijing, she fell agonisingly short of qualification for London four years later. However, she fought back to the forefront of world sailing in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the city of her birth.

Returning to competition at the highest level was all the more rewarding for Isabel, who networked and negotiated sponsorship to raise her own funds for her Rio qualification and Olympic Games campaigns.

Following Rio, sports career transition specialists Athlete Career Transition (ACT), conducted a rigorous search process to find female Olympians for a business internship at global services provider, EY. Isabel was one of nine selected from hundreds of elite athletes for EY’s Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Intern Program.

In September 2016, the Brazilian began working on EY Advisory projects, focusing on project management as well as people and organisational change management. She also receives ongoing transitional support from ACT alongside coaching from ACT’s transitional sports psychologist, Ben Paszkowec.

Prior to her internship, Isabel spoke about stepping into the corporate world.

“Having studied hard all my life, plus working hard at my sailing career, I have worried about getting the opportunity to use these skills from sport and from school in a new environment when I’m not competing anymore,” she said.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to explore working with EY and hopefully finding a new passion in business similar to the love I have for the sport of sailing. The support ACT have given me has been invaluable, enabling me to transition from sport into business safely and successfully,” she added.

Based in the global service provider’s Rio de Janeiro office, the experience is leveraging Isabel’s array of transferable skills, as well as her entrepreneurial resourcefulness.

Isabel has also been working on the final stages of EY Brazil projects, with both the Brazil Rio 2016 Olympic Committee and the Paralympic Committee.

Stay tuned for updates on Isabel’s continued successes in life beyond sport.

Written by