Our Advisory Group acts as our sounding board and as our link to supporters of the Think Tank work. We ask our Advisory Group for their thoughts and opinions on trends, topics and sensitive issues in and around sports policy in the UK. They help check and challenge our work programme and thinking.
We have invited our members from a range of backgrounds in Academia, NGBs, Landscape Partners, Policy makers, CEOs of Projects and influencers. Our aim is to build a robust group of like minded advocates for good sport policy across the UK who will check and challenge our thinking!
We also encourage them to write for us. So Hopefully you will also be hearing from most of them on our website over the coming year.
This page is developing as our new Board agree to join us so watch out for regular updates!
Director of Strategy
Radha is an experienced strategy design, communications, marketing and relationship
development specialist with a commercial mind. She has created strategies, developed narratives
and designed initiatives that contribute to achieving, and then communicating about, sustainable
social change through sport for a range of organisations, brands and talent to include, ESPN, Euroleague
Basketball, Barclays, The Premier League, The Greater London Authority, Special
Olympics, The British Olympic Association, Michael Johnson, Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh,
Welsh Rugby Union, World Rugby, and numerous other national and international governing bodies
Radha is also an event host, MC, public speaker, voice artist and panel moderator and has spoken at major international conferences and summits, to include delivering the keynote address at the 2014 European Athletics Convention to all member bodies. She has hosted numerous conferences and forums, as well moderating panels on a range of different topics.
Since graduating from Loughborough University in 2002, Radha has worked for BUCS (when they were BUSA!), the Football Foundation, Women in Sport and London Sport.
Radha is a sports geek with 6 knee operations to her name...which have turned her into a gym-rat!
Asian Sports Foundation
or more than 30 years Jug Johal has been an avid supporter of rugby, playing at club level for Scunthorpe RUFC and Moseley RFC and at county and international level for India Rugby.
Jug has been campaigning for equality and inclusion of Asian communities in sport for the past decade, having co-founded the British Asian Rugby Association in 2004. Jug's latest project with the support of the ASF Board of Trustees and its ambassadors will continue with this campaign by supporting National Governing Bodies, National Governing Organisations, clubs and committees at a strategic level to deliver tangible projects which break down cultural and religious barriers and provide sporting benefits to an under-represented minority ethnic community.
Jug is also an executive board member at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and has collective responsibility for ensuring that the Trust is able to deliver high quality and effective services at all times at its three hospitals and community sites. Jug leads the directorate of estates and facilities ensuring that the estate and service strategies are in place to ensure a safe, secure and high quality patient environment both within the Trust and to other organisations to whom the Trust provides estates and facilities services.
Jug, who lives with his family in Lincolnshire graduated as a Sports Therapist and has a Master's degree in Leadership in Health &Social Care.
Youth Sport Trust
Ali is the Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to changing young people's lives through sport.
Ali joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 and has fulfilled the roles of Implementation Director, Sport Director and Managing Director before becoming the CEO in July 2015. Prior to this Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath having initially been the course leader for the initial teacher training programme for Physical Education. Before this Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as teacher in Essex.
During her career Ali has worked with and on behalf of a range of other organizations. She supported the British Olympic Foundation's education programme back in 2004 and delivered the Paralympic Inspiration Programme on behalf of the British Paralympic Association in London 2012. Ali led LOCOG's Youth Panel, and is a member of the selection panel for the Young Sports Personality of the Year. She is currently a Board member of the Healthy Learning Trust, a Trustee of Chance to Shine, and an advisor to Sheffield Hallam University on their Sport strategy. Ali has also worked on a number of international assignments including a project with Sport & Recreation South Africa which was part of the International Inspiration Programme.
Sue Anstiss is the founder and CEO of Promote PR, an award-winning communications agency that specialises in the sports and fitness sector.
Passionate about the power of women's sport to impact wider society, Sue is a Trustee of the Women's Sport Trust charity, Chair of Get Berkshire Active and a Board Member of the County Sport Partnership Network. She was a former ukactive Board Member and is now Vice Chair of ukactive's Suppliers' Council.
Sue Anstiss was awarded an MBE in 2018 for her services to grassroots and women's sport over the past 25 years and was appointed as a Leadership Fellow at St Georges' House Windsor.
Outside of work, Sue is mum to three teenage daughters, and in recent years has represented GB as an Age Group triathlete.
Jane Ashworth is the CEO of national Charity Street Games.
Prior to co-founding StreetGames, Jane worked for Sport England for ten years including 4 years spent in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister bringing together sport with community regeneration policy. She also worked for the Community Strategy Units of Salford and Newcastle City Councils, and managed the Youth and Community Service in Kirby.
Jane was awarded the OBE for services to community sport in HM The Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2011.
The Leisure Database Company
David is a fitness industry entrepreneur with an international footprint and 30 years' experience. He is founder and Director of the successful and unique Leisure Database Company which audits and reports on the industry. The company maintains its pre-eminence due to its data quality and innovative products including supply/demand model and social media fitness tracking service. On a board level, David is Chairman of Active in Time (AiT), a Tech City start up, developing sports apps including SwimIO (formerly Speedo Fit and Splashpath) for swimmers, now live in over 120 countries and is the first swim app to integrate swimming activity into Apple Health. AiT also provides APIs, live timetables, poster and voice tools for sports and fitness sites. David contributes actively to the industry as a writer and speaker and in 2006 became a Visiting Research Fellow at Research Institute for Sports Business, Waseda University, Tokyo and is UK Correspondent for Sasakawa Sports Foundation, Tokyo. David is a European Board Member of IHRSA.
David Minton LinkedIn
Dan graduated in Sport Science (Exercise and Health) from Liverpool John Moores University in 2014 with his PhD. He is senior lecturer in Business Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, within the Sport Policy Unit (Department of Economics, Policy & International Business). He is the Research Director of Connect Sport, a network that serves to raise awareness of and participation in community sport research. Dan is on the Management Board for the Association of Sporting Directors, a network that serves to support leaders in football and is a co-Founder and Editor of The Football Collective, a platform to share and engage in critical debate around football, which is also the largest global network of football researchers. On top of this, Dan serves on a number of leading sport journal editorial boards, frequently reviews for leading sport journals and maintains outstanding links to the sport industry.
Adrian has been Chief Executive of Badminton England since 2006 and has led the modernisation and transformation of English badminton through a long term vision focused on increasing participation, achieving medal success at World and Olympic level and being a fit-for-purpose organisation.
He also leads the GB Olympic badminton programme on behalf of the four home nations.
Adrian led the bids for England to host the European Team Championships in 2009, European Individual Championships in 2010 and the World Championships in 2011, one of the most exciting pre Olympic major event schedules in the UK and has seen this strategy drive considerable commercial success for Badminton England.
Adrian is currently leading the largest project in the history of English badminton with the redevelopment of the National Badminton Centre to a state of the art, elite and community sports facility.
Prior to joining Badminton England, Adrian worked in local authority Sport Development and Sports Coach UK before moving into National Governing Bodies, first with the Lawn Tennis Association and then onto England Squash and Racketball.
He is a member of the MK Sports Board.
Lee has worked with local government and other local infrastructure throughout his career, having spent over 20 years employed in the sport and recreation sector within local authorities and County Sports Partnerships.
He set up and grew the CSP for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes from 2000-2010 before going on to establish and developed the CSP Network as the charitable umbrella body to lead, support and represent CSPs to increase their impact.
Lee has been a Non Executive Director for bodies, and has been an active member of several national and Governmental bodies, including currently the Ministerial Board for PE & School sport.
He has a particular interest in getting disabled people more active and for the past 5 years has been a non-executive director & Trustee of English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) developing his knowledge in this area.
Professor James Skinner
Director of the Institute for Sport Business, Loughborough University London
James has conducted key research for national and international governing bodies, as well as professional sporting organisations and the Australian Sports Commission. James is also a visiting Professor at the Russian Olympic University and is a former board member and Director of Football Queensland, Australia.
James has held academic appointments at three Australian universities prior to his role of Institute Director for Sport Business at Loughborough University London. His teaching interests are Leadership, Sport Business and Research Methods and he has a passion for PhD supervision and research training. His research interests are in four distinct areas: 1) Organisational Change, Culture and Leadership in Sport, 2) Doping in Sport, 3) Sport and Social Capital and, 4) Research Design and Methods for Sport Business.
Preeti is the Head of Upshot at The Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity funded by The Premier League, The Football Association and the Government. Preeti focuses her efforts on proving the difference sport makes to people's lives through impact measurement and evaluation. The Football Foundation is well known for its use of innovative technology and Preeti spearheads these efforts by running Upshot, The Foundation's online performance management system to over 750 organisations across the UK and internationally. Upshot is an online project management tool that helps community projects manage their programmes, monitor their progress and evidence their impact.
Preeti has worked in the sport for social change space for over 10 years, starting off at BBC Sport and working for various national and international NGOs and brands. She has an undergraduate degree from Goldsmiths and a Masters from Birkbeck, University of London, specialising in Sports Management and CSR. A well-respected figure in the sport for development space, Preeti was named one of The Sport Industry Group Next Generation Leaders in Sport and chairs the BOND International Sport for Development coalition.
Professor Paul Downward
Professor of Economics, Loughborough University
Paul has wide ranging interests in sport and physical activity. He has recently helped to edit a volume on Sport Management being responsible for the contributions from economics. He has published two books on the Economics of Sports. He is currently planning a second edition of one of these volumes and a helping to edit a Handbook on Sports Economics. He has embarked on studies of the determinants of health, well-being, social capital, human capital and labour market impacts of sports and physical activity in the UK, as well as sports volunteering.
He also has an interest in the research philosophy, methods and ethics of economics, has published in these areas, and engaged in ESRC and other funded postgraduate training workshops.
Pete Ackerley Sports Development
Pete is an experienced Sport Development professional, Trustee, Business Coach and Mentor with a track record of delivery, partnership and impact in the Sports Industry. Now working for himself he comes from a recent background as head of Participation at the FA and Head of Development at the ECB.
He still sits on the Lords Taverners, Wembley Stadium Trust, and the ECB Participation and Growth Board amongst his many interests.
John joined Greenhouse Sports as Chief Executive in 2016. The charity provides intensive sports coaching and mentoring to young people in state schools and the community across some of London's most socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A former Navy Diver who completed Commando training with the Royal Marines, John is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to develop, particularly through sport, and knows first hand the benefits of challenge in a well structured environment. Qualified as a teacher John also worked at a senior level in both the public and private sectors. He now lectures on a global MBA programme with a personal interest in CSR and the way it can help to tackle some of the deep inequalities existing in society today. John is also privileged to be a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a role through which he is actively involved in strategies to support community and social integration.
Leeds Beckett University
Paul has wide ranging interests around the consumption and production of sport in society, especially around context, place, and inequality. Paul has a background in social statistics, awarded a PhD from the Social Statistics discipline at University of Manchester in 2010. He is currently a senior researcher in Sport Business at Leeds Becket University, previously holding a role as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Change at University of Manchester. In addition, Paul is also a core member of the University of Edinburgh's Academy of Sport, co-founder of the Football Collective, and research editor at Connect Sport. Currently Paul has several editorial roles, including Reviews Editor for the Journal of Consumer Culture and board member of Cultural Rends Journal.
Paul is a co-author of 'Collective Action and Football Fandom: A Relational Sociology Approach' (2018) and co-edited two books; 'Social Networks and Music Worlds' (2015) and 'Routledge Handbook of Football Business and Management' (2018). Paul has published widely in areas of sport and popular culture including articles in, Journal of Consumer Culture, Cultural Sociology, Cultural Trends, Political Behaviour, Electoral Studies, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, and Leisure Sciences. Prior to an academic role, Paul was a social research consultant working with public sector bodies such as, Scottish Government, Learning and Skills Councils, Museums Libraries and Archives Council, and Regional Development Agencies.
- @Fire_and _skill
Barry Horne is Chief Executive of Activity Alliance (the new name for the English Federation of Disability Sport). Activity Alliance is the National charity working to get more disabled people active across England. With a vision that "Disabled people are active for life", the organisation supports other bodies to include disabled people more effectively. Barry's former role was as a Corporate Director in a large City Council but has worked in a range of roles including as Chief Executive of the East Midlands Regional Assembly and Regional Local Government Association.
Barry's early career was in the community and voluntary sector and he is delighted to be heading up a National charity, which plays such a vital role. He's passionate about helping more people to understand the critical role which active recreation can play in improving disabled people's lives.
CityDesk Sport/ NED
Michelle holds a number of senior roles across business and sport with a proven track record as a disruptive marketing and digital specialist, and independent Chair and Non-Executive Director.
As Managing Director of communications agency Citydesk Sport for over ten years, she created engaging brands and innovative marketing approaches for the sector, supporting the delivery of major public health campaigns such as Community Games, Workplace Challenge, This Girl Can and diabetes campaign Move To The BEAT.
With unique insight as Marketing Director of the UK's leading social media management software CrowdControlHQ she has helped shape digital thinking and fan engagement across sport and major events. She also held a number of national investment roles, helping to support the development of major sports facilities, sitting on NGB facility assessment panels including the LTA Facilities Investment Panel and the Sport England Regional Sports Board.
Michelle played a critical role in supporting the exec and board to secure Chartership for CIMSPA as well as founding industry publication S&PA Professional. Through her long association with the Institute of Directors she has become a champion of board development, good governance and a mentor to senior executives. She is also a respected marketing academic lecturing for more than a decade at Birmingham Business School, and has chaired a number of review panels, National steering groups and market research projects for Government, NGBs and business.
She was appointed as one of the first independent Non-Executive Directors of British Wheelchair Basketball in 2012. She joined the board of Warwickshire County Cricket Club (2015) and SAPCA, the Sports & Play Construction Association (2018).
Michelle spends her time between her hometown of Barry, her base in Birmingham and the Swiss Mountains. She enjoys photography, golf, mountain biking and skiing, recently completing her first triathlon.
Wasim was born to Kashmiri parents in inner city Birmingham in 1971.
Having spent the last 20-30 years building his career in an unconventional field, his route to success has both been pioneering and inspiring.
In 1990, Wasim became the first British born Pakistani to become a professional cricketer in England. His breakthrough became a gateway into professional cricket for many after him. England cricketers such as Usman Afzaal, Aftab Habib, Kabir Ali and Moeen Ali all stated that Wasim's breakthrough inspired their own careers and made them dream of what was possible.
In 1995, he was a member of the historical Warwickshire County Cricket Club double winning side.
In 2005, he was recruited as CEO by Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England, to plan and deliver Chance to Shine, a cricket-education programme in state schools. The charity raised £55 million in 9 years and delivered to over 2.5 million state school children, including 1 million girls. Wasim was instrumental in turning a conceptual idea into the biggest programme of its kind, in the world.
In 2006, his autobiography 'Brim Full of Passion' won the world famous coveted prize of Wisden Book of the Year, with one particular broadsheet review describing it as a book that "stirs your very soul".
In 2012, at the age of 41, he was voted 12th in a list of 50, of the most influential people in cricket.
In 2013 he was awarded an MBE for services to cricket and communities. He was selected as one of three people who attended Whitehall to reveal his story to the media on the day the Honours List was released. In addition, he was one of only two people from the Honours List to be selected to attend a private lunch with the Queen.
Wasim completed an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School in 2014, where he now delivers occasional leadership in practice lectures on their world renowned MBA programme.
In 2015, he continued his trailblazing by becoming the first ever South Asian Chief Executive of a County Cricket Club when he was appointed to lead Leicestershire. He has taken a Club that made huge financial losses between 2010-2014 into a profitable business in each of his first 3 years in charge. This rise has been documented as one of the most incredible turnarounds to a professional sporting club in this country.
He is currently the only black or South Asian Chief Executive across any professional sporting club in the UK.
In 2016, he was appointed by the Culture Secretary to join the prestigious Board of Sport England.
He was selected within the Muslim Power List 100 in 2018.
Wasim has run two London Marathons and has raised over £10,000 for charity. He is regularly invited to sit on panels and is an accomplished and inspiring public speaker.
In 2018, he was awarded the leadership trailblazer award within the Muslim 100 Power List.
He is an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign – a campaign against domestic violence against women. He has raised awareness by setting up an annual cricket match between a White Ribbon X1 and a Parliamentary select X1 led by Lord Kamlesh Patel.
Peter joined Parkwood Leisure as Managing Director in 2017 following a 20 year career within the sport and leisure sector, since graduating from Loughborough University with a BSc and MSc in Sports Science.
Peter started his career with The FA and latterly spent ten years at the Football Foundation: the UK's largest sport charity who invest around £50m per year in developing football facilities for grassroots players. He then moved to London Sport as their first Chief Executive in 2014, where he successfully implemented a strategy to make London the most physically active city in the world, following the 'afterglow' of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Peter has developed a reputation as a thought leader in utilising technology and data to increase physical activity levels. He has spoken at many events around the world on the subject, including at Rio during the 2016 Olympic Games. He set up the UK's first business incubator for sport and fitness technology start-up companies, having also run a startup software company for five years, growing it to a seven-figure valuation.
With a specialism in business performance management and improvement, Peter is passionate about harnessing the potential of innovation to improve customer service, as well as overall business efficiency and effectiveness.
St Mary's University
Currently Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Applied Sports Science at St Mary's University, Twickenham.
After graduating from Loughborough University, started career as Head of Sports Science for the Football Association, and travelled as part of the support staff to the 1990 World Cup with the England Football team. Spent 18 years as joint Director of the Lilleshall Sports Injury and Human Performance Centre at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire, delivering sports science support to a range of National Governing Bodies, including the England and Wales Cricket Board, the England Hockey Association and British Gymnastics. This included a role at a second World Cup, as sports scientist for the England Cricket team at the 1992 World Cup in Australia.
Left Lilleshall in 2004 to become director of Sports Science for GlaxoSmithKline, focusing on sports science research and education for the Lucozade Sport brand, and was closely involved in the development of the "Informed Sport" programme for drug-free sports nutrition. Chaired Pro-Active West London, the County Sports Partnership for West London, and was also Chair of the London Regional Sports Board.
Left GlaxoSmithKline in 2009 to become Professor of Sport at the University of Bedfordshire, and also Chair of the British Handball Association, and a Board Member of UK Anti-Doping. As Chair of British Handball, JB was at the head of a British Sport that was able to take part in its first ever Olympic Games, with both men's and women's teams competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. After stepping down from Handball after the Olympics, JB was Chair of British Ski and Snowboard until 2015, and was Chair when the sport won its first ever Olympic medal at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Published a number of scientific papers on sports nutrition and hydration, and also written many newspaper and magazine articles on sports science and human performance, and appears regularly on TV and radio to comment on various issues relating to sport and fitness. Also a regular writer/contributor to various magazines and media outlets. A keen marathon runner and skier, and completed the London Marathon on 20 occasions. Married to Caroline, a former Olympic Hockey player, and living in Buckinghamshire with 2 daughters.
Lewis is a Consulting Partner at Seven League - a leading digital sports consultancy and agency. Seven League works on digital strategy and activation for a wide range of clients in the sports industry including FC Barcelona, the NBA, UEFA, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus, Leicester City, Newcastle United, England Netball, the FA, the Premier League, Gfinity and many more.
He joined Seven League in 2017 after 5 years at Twitter, where he was Twitter's first UK head of sport, first global sports chair, and then Senior Director of Media Partnerships. Prior to that, Lewis was with BBC Sport for 11 years. He was their first ever social media editor and also editor of the BBC Sport website.
Lewis is a lifelong sports fan, keen runner, a Dad and prolific commuter and dog walker!
Jane Nickerson is the CEO of Swim England. Jane was appointed in April 2017 to the role.
Jane joined the organisation in 1997 and became Chief Operating Officer in 2009. Since taking on the role as interim CEO in August 2016, Jane has been instrumental in developing the organisation's four-year strategy. She has secured funding to grow and develop the sports.
Switch the Play
Mitch works extensively with employers and training providers across the sport and physical activity landscape around all things people, skills, and learning and development. Having spent 10 years in the public sector he has now spent 4 years building successful new ventures with Switch the Play CIC and Sport for Confidence. Apprenticeships are a favourite topic and he has recently curated 3 new Apprenticeship Standards including 2 for community sport and one to replace the AASE programme which he also stewarded for over a decade at SkillsActive. Most recently working with colleagues he set about launching Sporting People which will consolidate much of his work around workforce development and bringing the skills and sport systems closer together.
Gives back through a series of complimentary yet diverse NED and voluntary roles including a CSP Board role with Active Essex, independent chairmanship of Parkour UK, and advisory roles with the Royal Foundation (Coach Core) and Transcend Awarding. Mitch has fantastic experience, networks and knowledge from across a diverse spectrum of sport and physical activity organisations. He is ideally placed to share best practice and help organisations get ahead of the game when it comes to developing their people, and loves nothing more than connecting and introducing people to make things happen.
Sport for Development Coalition
A highly experienced, creative and innovative business leader with a specialism in sport and education.
I have led a varied career holding positions for the Youth Sport Trust,Sport England & as an Assistant Head in a deprived secondary school.
Currently I head up the London PE and School Sports Network which is based in South East London and works directly with over 125 schools. The Network is self-financing and to date has attracted £1m worth of investment. Under my leadership the Network has bee recently awarded National Education Partner of the Year 2015 by Create Development
This broad and varied well of experience has ensured that I have a proven track record in managing complex education and business strategies, building strong lasting relationships and achieving continued high level results both across London and within specific projects in Europe.
I am passionate about everything that I put my all into and through this mindset I have achieved a number of personal goals. In 2012, I was an Olympic Torchbearer for the Torch relay. This recognition followed many years of fund and awareness raising for both Cancer Research and breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! I am myself is a breast cancer survivor. This has resulted in significant media attention both in the UK and abroad.
I joined the Sport for Development Coalition as CEO in the summer of 2018
Vince is the Chief Executive Officer at British Universities and Colleges Sport. Prior to this he was Deputy Director of Student Services: Sport, Health and Wellbeing at Coventry University and before that Head of Fitness and Performance at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
He is co-founder and Board member of the Positive Youth Foundation charity delivering support to communities in Coventry aiming to help young people reach their full potential. He also co-founded and remains a director of EnV, a Community Interest Company to deliver events and volunteering for people in Coventry and Warwickshire, a legacy to years of volunteering programmes in and around the city and in particular the 2012 Ambassadors programme as a part of the football hosted at the Ricoh Arena.
Vince wrote the HE Sport response to 2012 and was the West Midlands lead on physical activity planning for 2012 legacy activity.
Vince has coached hockey for many years at club level and also with English Universities (mens and womens).
In 2013 Vince underwent a life-saving kidney transplant, receiving a kidney from his brother and has since gone on to compete for Team GB at the British and World Transplant Games – "powered by the gift of life". A proud father with 4 daughters he has spent many hours driving between hockey pitches to watch and coach, the record being 4 pitches in one day!
Dr Iain Lindsey
Associate Professor in Sport Policy and Development
Dr Iain Lindsey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. Prior to joining Durham in 2014, he had previously been employed as a researcher and lecturer at Loughborough, Southampton and Edge Hill Universities. He has a BSc in Mathematics from University of Edinburgh, an MA in Sports Development from Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education and a PhD in Sport Policy from Loughborough University.
Iain's research has primarily examined sport policy and development, especially youth sport policy in the UK and the use of sport for development in Africa. Across Iain's research, he has addressed issues such as governance and partnership working, evidence-based policy and sustainable development. Engagement with practitioners and the importance of understanding of local contexts has also been a common thread across Iain's work.
Iain has published widely in sport, development and policy journals and has co-authored books on Sport Policy in Britain with Barrie Houlihan and Localizing Global Sport for Development with Tess Kay, Ruth Jeanes and Davies Banda. He has also co-authored the Commonwealth's policy guidance on Enhancing the contribution of sport to the Sustainable Development Goals. Besides the Commonwealth, Iain has worked with organisations such as UK Sport and the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
After 20 years facilitating learning and change for individuals, networks and organisations, I was proud to play a part in bringing to life London 2012's promise "to enrich the lives of 12 million children of all abilities in schools and communities in 20 countries through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play." I'm still working on Olympic / Paralympic legacy on a volunteer basis, and am happy that my consulting clients include a number of sports-related organisations, as well as retail; finance; community development and so on. I've recently spoken at a number of conferences on themes ranging from Authentic Leadership to Group Dynamics to Building A Customer-Focused Organisation. I'm currently capturing insights and techniques from working with around 2000 groups in my book about group leadership (working title: "Me; We").
Specialties: Group process design and facilitation; governance; leadership; team performance
Founder and CEO
David spent 13 years as a professional rugby player – starting his career at Orrell RFC before going on to play Heineken Cup and Premiership rugby at Harlequins and Celtic League with Connacht on the west coast of Ireland before ending his career as captain of Esher RFC. After his rugby career, David moved into the world of business and eventually recruitment.
After joining Miramar, an international search firm sourcing senior executives for FTSE 100 energy and industrial firms, he worked his way to director level placing senior executives in the chemical, industrial and energy sectors across Europe.
David's discovery after a conversation with a headhunting firm that there were few, if any, executive search specialists who had also played professional sport, which led to the foundation of Elite Performance Partners at the start of 2013.
"Our goal at Elite Performance Partners is to change the way sports teams look at recruiting people and aligning to a bigger purpose" David says. "I am a passionate believer in developing people to reach their potential and the power of values driven leadership to align organisations culturally and strategically to deliver their goals."
David sits on the board at Esher Rugby Club and on the council of Merchant Taylors' School Old Boys Association and regularly commentates for BBC Radio.
After a successful career as an Executive Director in 2 different industries, I stepped down after 4 years as MD at the UK's leading challenger bank, Metro Bank to undertake a portfolio career as NED, International Speaker, Executive Coach and Consultant in business and sport.
Since stepping down I have had a fulfilling 2nd career, which has seen me recognised with an MBE for services to sport and winner of the Institute of Directors, UK Non Executive Director of the Year in 2017.
I am a leading Conference speaker in the UK, Europe and Australia covering topics such as Customer Excellence, Leadership, Change , Employee Engagement and how to build High Performing teams through growth mindset.
From a sport and business perspective, I have been recognised as a real asset around the Board table, particularly around governance where an independent Board evaluation of GreaterSport ( Where I was Chair for 11 years ) described the way the Board operated as "one of the best seen in any industry across the world".
I have the skills to motivate through group presentations and one-to-one coaching. I have been responsible for achieving outstanding results, including in multi-site operations across diverse geographical and cultural areas. I have routinely exceeded a wide range of goals and objectives through the leadership of people, and in particular through effective planning, implementation, training, coaching and mentoring.
Awarded Sales and Marketing Director of the Year for 3 consecutive years by the British Excellence Sales and Marketing Awards. Awarded Most Outstanding Employer at the National Business Awards and awarded "Britain's Best Boss" by the Working Families Association. Also awarded Sales Leader of the Year at the National Sales Awards. Have also led teams to success at the National Customer Service awards.
Clients include Heineken, Sport England, Sport Wales Professional Footballers Association, Manchester United FC, WILO, Allianz, Close Brothers
Tara has been the CEO of CIMSPA since March 2015.
The Chartered Institute for Management in Sport and Physical Activity has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of Tara.
Ed Warner was Chairman of UK Athletics from 2007 to 2017, and has been Chair of World Para Athletics for the International Paralympic Committee since 2011. He ran the successful bid to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London's Olympic Stadium, and was Chair of the London 2017 organising committee. Well known in sporting circles, Warner advises Crystal Palace Football Club as the Chair of its charity, the Palace for Life Foundation. He is regarded as an expert on both governance and corruption in sport. Warner is also a City financier, chairing financial businesses as a respected boardroom exponent, and a media commentator, having written a weekly business column in the Guardian and then the Daily Telegraph for a decade. He is now an occasional columnist for The Times.
Sport Industry Group
As Managing Director for Sport Industry Group, a B2B organisation which sits at the heart of the UK and international sport industry, Alex is responsible for the strategic direction and overall performance of the business which has three main strands: editorial industry news, networking events and industry awards. His role encompasses partner sales, contract negotiations, partner relationship management (including BT, Coutts, EY and many more), delegate and member sales and management plus overall delivery of the events which include the BT Sport Industry Awards – the world's largest commercial sports awards. Prior to joining Benchmark, Alex spent well over a decade agency-side, his previous position being Director, PR and Social Media at IMG Consulting; he has led award-winning communication and sponsorship campaigns in the UK and internationally for a range of clients from blue-chip brands, sponsors, events, international federations, host nations bidding for events and more. Clients have included British Airways, HSBC, O2, IBM, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (Qatar 2022) and French Golf Federation to name a few. Alex is a regular contributor to industry news and conferences and also sits on the Advisory Board for the Institute of Sport Business at Loughborough University London.
Rory Palmer MEP
Rory Palmer is a Member of the European Parliament.
He represents the East Midlands constituency and serves on the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health & Food Safety Committee and the Employment & Social Affairs Committee. Rory is the Labour Party's Health spokesperson in Brussels and works across all areas of health policy.
Before becoming an MEP Rory was Leicester's first Deputy City Mayor, serving in the role from its creation in May 2011 until October 2017. As Deputy City Mayor Rory had a wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities including chairing Leicester's Health & Wellbeing Board and leading on the transfer of public health responsibilities from the NHS to the local authority as a result of the 2012 health service reforms. As Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board and Public Health lead, Rory initiated a £1m citywide investment programme in outdoor gyms and developed a new policy agenda on mental health and wellbeing. During his time as Deputy City Mayor Rory also led on adult social care; transport - including active travel - and highways; climate change; and he set up and chaired the Leicester Child Poverty Commission.
Rory served as a City Councillor for ten years, in which time he led Leicester's preparations for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, including the plans for the city's participation in the Torch Relay and legacy planning. He was a member of the Board for the 2009 Special Olympics National Summer Games.
Rory is currently a Vice-President of the Local Government Association and has served on a number of regional, national and international boards and bodies. He has also worked as a part of LGA Peer Review teams on health and wellbeing and Health in all Policies.
In his spare time he plays tennis and other sports, enjoys walking in the countryside, cooking and spending time with his young family.
Adam Paker is a consultant to the sport and fitness industries. Over the past 20 years he has been involved in a variety of sports leadership roles. As a FIFA Director he was closely involved in the commercial delivery of the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. More recently he served as Chief Executive of Commonwealth Games England, delivering a table-topping Team England to Glasgow 2014, and thereafter as Chief Executive of Swim England (formerly the ASA), where he focused on making swimming more accessible to all people in the country, regardless of their background.
Adam is passionate about sport and its international impact and is especially interested in sports development in the Middle East. Adam is a trustee of Sporting Equals and the Children's Activities Association.
Bill is Chairman of Triathlon England and a board member of British Triathlon.
He is also Chair of Leeds Performance Centre, a partnership between British Triathlon, Leeds City Council, University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University.
He is Chairman of Engine Transformation, a leading business transformation consultancy, and as principal of Chapeau Ventures he advises founders, CEOs and boards and sits on a number of Advisory Boards.
Alliance of Sport
James is the Founder and Managing Director of 2nd Chance Group CIC, a social enterprise that has been home to a range of sport based programmes designed to repair broken lives and build stronger futures.
James is also the Co-Founder and Chair of the Alliance of Sport for the Desistance of Crime.
Over the past 20 years, James has been an influencer and advocate for the power of sport. He has developed a wide range of initiatives and supported some of the most complex and challenging people in our society to access opportunities through sport and physical activity, across the UK and beyond.
James is also a member of the Sport for Development Coalition Leadership Group, a Non-Executive Director at Yate Town FC and a Level 3 football coach passionate about youth and player development.
Law in Sport
I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and went on to study for an MBA at Staffordshire University. I am a qualified Chartered Manager from the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management for Sport and Physical Activity. I have recently completed a 15 month Senior Executive programme called 'Elite' (Jan 18'), accredited by Imperial College Business School – London and hosted by the London Stock Exchange.
I have been involved in the UK sport and leisure industry sector in a senior management capacity for over 25 years (public and private industry sectors), which included time working in the Middle East and the Caribbean for both government and quasi-government organisations. I have been the technical author for a number of British standards aimed at creating industry best practice for the early years Aquatics industry sector and more recently as a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group - Fit and Healthy Childhood, I contributed alongside other members of the APPG to the creation of its most recent report Physical Activity in Early Childhood which was published and launched at Westminster on the 17th October 2017, and has been seen as a vanguard report in helping to champion positive change and thinking in UK government policy in understanding the value and importance of physical activity in those all, important early years.
I joined Water Babies initially as its first ever MD in 2009 and more recently became its Group CEO. As well as being responsible for the overall strategic management and development of the Company, I have been instrumental in developing and shaping, its vision and strategic emphasis such that it is now recognised as the UK's largest franchise business network of its type within our sector. It is a multi-award winning company and in 2016 won the British Franchise Association's flagship award of Franchisor of the Year Award. The company has a network of circa 60 franchise businesses across the whole of the UK teaching in excess of 52,000 pre-school aged children each and every week. The company has now extended its operations to over 7 countries around the world the biggest being China and is planning to build world class purpose built Aquatic centre's across the UK and around the world with its first 8 Centre's opening in China by the end of March 2018.
Water Babies is rapidly becoming recognised as being at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in its field of early year's aquatic related physical activity not only in the UK but around the world.