Mayi Cruz Blanco

Executive Leadership Program - Amsterdam Class 12

Mayi Cruz Blanco
Global Head of Athlete Programmes
My experience and deep interests:
I am based in: Zurich

I come from Cuba and have a passion for sport that comes from practicing from a young age. Sport has shaped my life, through practicing sport and working in the sports industry, I have been able to learn and thrive both as a human being and as a professional. Having a strong athlete background, I bring forth a unique experience; enabling me to achieve what others believe impossible. Graduated in Sport sciences in 2000, I have spent the past 17 years working in sports both at the national and international levels. After finishing university, I worked in a rural area in Cuba as a physical education teacher and a community coach. The following year my university called me to teach sports history and management and I was selected to start a Ph.D. program. The latter is still on my to-do list.

At the age of 27, I traveled for the first time outside Cuba, to pursue an International Masters. I boarded a plane to the unknown, with little idea of what would happen ahead. It was the start of a journey, that led me to work on a global scale for the past thirteen years. I have worked at the International Olympic Committee, the World Archery Federation and for almost a decade at FIFA. My role at FIFA was focussed on creating a growth portfolio that reached over 190 nations (2008-2016); which earned the backing from top leaders, increasing funding invested in the programs to USD22m in 2014. I led a group of world-class individuals. The results of our efforts resonated internationally, and women’s football has risen dramatically during the last decade becoming a core pillar for football development.

The core of my passion is to improve the state of the world through sports, bringing people together and fostering more integrated diversity within sports organizations. I live in Zurich with my family, two children (a daughter (22) and a son (6). My partner is a great Swiss man. I like keeping fit and training every day (if time allows). I have discovered great joy in practicing extreme-sports: skiing, enduro-downhill biking, and kite surfing.

Leaving Cuba and not being able to see my family for many years has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. I have learned to bring strength from within and will never regret boarding a plane to the unknown many years ago.