Below are details of the team helping launch the Sports Think Tank. Founders Andy Reed and Nick King have shared a passion for sports policy over the last few years and have demonstrated their commitment to working across the political divide for the good of sport in establishing the Sports Think Tank. They believe it has the potential to make a fundamental change in the landscape of sports policy making in the UK by understanding what makes policy makers tick.
Andy Reed OBE
Co-Founder and Director
Sports Think Tank
Andy was the MP for Loughborough between 1997 and 2010. During that time he became known as the 'backbench voice' on sport at all levels in Parliament from school, grassroots to elite. After leaving Parliament Andy has been approached to use his experience to help sport - something he has been only too willing to take up!
Sports Think Tank
Mark Balcar has been involved in STT since its inception and has been the Director since October 2013. Alongside the work of STT, he is a public affairs consultant for a number of sport sector clients. Previously, he was a civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, where he advised Ministers on professional sport policy until 2011. This work took him into the heart of European and UK policy making including Football governance, retaining the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and the relationship between professional and grass-roots sport.
Mark has been involved in sport from an early age both as a wide-ranging participant and as a fan. He has run grass-roots sports projects and he taught physical education and coached rugby and cricket at St Pauls' Boys School in London. As a former geographer, he remains passionate about people and places and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Sports Think Tank
Luke graduated with a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology in 2010. He has always been a passionate sportsman, cycling, running, playing tennis, padel tennis and football as well as engaging in the power of sport and physical activity for social change.
Luke has been involved in sport professionally for 13 years. As well as coaching, Luke has worked as a consultant in sport psychology and a lecturer in sports science in further education.
Sports Think Tank
Lucy is a Loughborough University Sport Management graduate with several years of experience in marketing, communications and research. She has achieved International Honours in athletics and continues to train and compete at an elite level.
An aspiring entrepreneur, Lucy is passionate about the business side of sport and is always keen to take on any new challenge that is presented to her.
The Advisory Group
- Professor Barrie Houlihan - Loughborough University
Professor Houlihan joined Loughborough University in September 1998. In addition to his work as a teacher and researcher, Professor Houlihan has chaired, or been a member of, various committees for Sport England, UK Sport and the Centre for Social Justice. He has also undertaken consultancy work for the European Union, the Youth Sport Trust, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, PEAUK, BAALPE, the Department for Education and Skills, the Council of Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency, UK Sport, Sport England and sportscotland. In 2011 Professor Houlihan was elected a member of the Academy of Social Sciences.
- Nick King - Sports Think Tank Founder and civil servant at the DCMS
Nick works as a Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport within the UK Government. The departmental brief is broad, covering the arts and culture, tourism, sport, heritage and the creative industries, amongst other areas. Nick's remit extends across all these policy areas and his work involves regular interaction with Government colleagues, blue chip companies, leading international organisations and major cultural institutions. Nick's experience in the different sectors under the department aegis is extensive, having worked as a policy adviser, a political and communications consultant and a sponsorship and marketing consultant in the past.
- Linda Plowright - CEO Sports Leaders UK
In 2002 Linda was appointed Chief Executive of Sports Leaders UK, a charity delivering sports leadership awards and qualifications to people across the UK. Linda has more than 30 years of operational and strategic community sport management experience. She has served the sports professional bodies in a range of roles and have been engaged in the development and delivery of vocational education and training throughout that time. Linda strongly believes in managing strategically from operational understanding and has employed this approach with great success. This has focused her interest on the legacy of the London 2012 Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
- Jane Ashworth - CEO StreetGames
Jane Ashworth, CEO of StreetGames, the groundbreaking national charity which brings sport to young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, was born in Rochdale before moving to Nottingham at the age of 10. Having always harbored a passion for sport, Jane studied Sociology for her bachelors degree at Durham University before being awarded an MSc in the Sociology of Sport from Leicester University. Jane now lives in South East London where through a career in sport and youth development, she has earned a reputation as one of the leading voices and opinion shapers in Community Sport.
- David Minton - CEO The Leisure Database Company Ltd
With 30 years experience in the health and fitness industry, David Minton, holds a unique insight and perspective on the developments in the health and fitness sector. David is widely sought after as mentor, analyst, advisor and consultant by a range of worldwide health and fitness organisations and leisure investors.
- James Thellusson - Communications Consultant
James is a communications consultant and owner of Thellusson Ltd. Prior to founding Glasshouse Partnership in 2004, James was UK Chairman & Managing Director of Europe for Cohn & Wolfe, Joint MD of Cohn & Wolfe UK and CEO of Edelman UK.
Lord Sebastian Coe, OBE
Sebastian Coe is Chair of the British Olympic Association. A life Peer, he is now known for his successful political career and his crucial role in bringing the Olympic Games to London in 2012, but he first came to the attention of the world as the fastest middle-distance runner of his generation. From sport, he then moved into politics, becoming a Conservative MP and serving in John Major's Conservative government from 1992 to 1997. After the Conservatives lost the general election he became chief of staff to new party leader William Hague (1997 to 2001) before being made a life peer and moving to the House of Lords.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
In Seoul in 1988, Tanni first represented Great Britain in the course of amassing her total Paralympic Medal tally of 11 gold, 4 silvers and 1 bronze. Since her retirement, Tanni has continued to be involved in sport. She is a director of UK Athletics and a member of the board of the London Marathon.
In 2008 Tanni was appointed as a member of Transport for London, where she chairs the Environment, Corporate and Planning Panel, and is a member of the Surface Transport and Safety, Health and Environment Assurance Panels.
In 2010 Tanni was appointed to the House of Lords, where she serves as a non party political crossbench peer. Tanni took the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham.
Sir Keith Mills
Sir Keith Mills was born and educated in the UK. In September 2003 he was appointed International President and CEO of London 2012, the company that was established to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Sir Keith led the team and along with Lord Coe was responsible for developing the bid strategy and persuading the 115 IOC members that London should be granted the rights to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. On 6 July 2005, in Singapore, London beat off competition from New York, Paris, Madrid and Moscow to win the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Having established the London 2012 organisation which planned and organised the Games (LOCOG), Sir Keith remained as Deputy Chairman alongside Lord Coe to oversee operations. Sir Keith is a non executive director of Tottenham Hotspur Plc and a director and investor in a number of small private companies. Sir Keith also chairs the sport for development charity – The Sported Foundation.
Sir Keith was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Kent in September 2008 and in the 2013 New Year Honours was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for delivering a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.