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British universities & Colleges Sport

Keynote Speakers

An extensive array of keynote speakers presented at BUCS Conference 2016 - covering a broad range of expertise and the sporting sector.

The biogs of these keynote speakers can be found on this page. To drop down to a particular speaker biog please click on their name below:

Nick Pontefract, Head of Sport, DCMS

Nicola Dandridge, CEO, Universities UK

Nick Eastwood, Deputy Chairman, Wasps RFC

Mark Sampson, National Team Head Coach, England Women's Football Team

Martin Reeves, CEO, West Midlands Combined Authority

Tom Lewthwaite, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Dr Paul Hawkins OBE, Founder, Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd

Professor Greg Whyte, Director of Performance, The Centre for Health and Human Performance

Dr Simon Shepard, Co-founder, Optima Life


Nick Pontefract, Head of Sport, DCMS

Nick PontefractNick Pontefract is the Head of Sport at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the senior civil servant responsible for delivering government sports policy in England and at a UK level. His responsibilities include maximising sporting success and the impact of major events; participation in sport, physical activity, sports volunteering and experiencing live sport; and supporting a more productive, sustainable and responsible sport sector.

He advises ministers across Government and holds overall responsibility for a number of major programmes and total spending in excess of £500m each year.  Nick has a successful track record of developing and delivering high profile projects, conducting high quality research and analysis, and undertaking innovative and influential policy development that challenges the status quo, most recently leading the publication, and implementation, of "Sporting Future: A new strategy for an active nation".


Nicola Dandridge, CEO, Universities UK

Nicola DandridgeNicola Dandridge has been Chief Executive of Universities UK since September 2009. Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s Universities. Founded in 1918, UUK has 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, promoting the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.

Nicola was previously Chief Executive of the Equality Challenge Unit, the higher education agency which promotes equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prior to this, Nicola was a lawyer qualified in both England and Scotland working in private practice.


Nick Eastwood, Deputy Chairman, Wasps RFC

Nick EastwoodNick Eastwood is the Deputy Chairman of Wasps Rugby Football Club and has been on the Board of Directors since 2014. Before his promotion to Deputy Chairman in March 2015, Eastwood held the position of Wasps CEO and was instrumental in instigating and managing the club’s successful move from High Wycombe to Coventry. He played a key role in the process of acquiring the Ricoh Arena and has been the club’s public face during and since the move.
 
Nick, an Oxford graduate, joined Wasps on the back of a successful 12-year spell with the RFU, helping to grow the RFU's net worth from £35m to £180m and profits from a loss of £5m to profit of £15m while playing a key role in steering the governing body through an economic downturn.

Prior to his role with the RFU, the ICAEW-qualified accountant spent five years with The Body Shop International PLC as its Global Head of Corporate Services, and has previously held senior management roles at powerhouse accounting firm Arthur Andersen and Lifetime Corporation USA a $1bn turnover health care services company.


Mark Sampson, National Team Head Coach, England Women's Football Team

Mark Sampson - Conference 2016Mark Sampson has been England Women’s Football Head Coach since 2013. In 2015 in led the England Lionesses to their best ever finish at a World Cup in Canada, inspiring a generation to engage in and support the game of women’s football. The sport continues to grow in size, visibility and profile in country. Mark was formerly Head Coach of Bristol Academy and guided them to their highest top-flight finish in 2013, and to 2 FA Cup Finals. Mark is also the patron of Women in Sport – the first male to take up this role.

In his session Mark talked around the development of the England Women’s team, challenging the existing mind-set and environment, whilst implementing a new culture and ideas to get the players and wider staff to buy into his direction and vision. He covered the FA’s commitment to developing women’s football and the increasing visibility and profile of the women’s game. Mark shared his views and principles of influencing change in a sporting environment, the development of a culture and ethos to achieve success plus the innovative steps that he took to challenge the norm within the England set-up, resulting in an overall improved structure and performance.


Martin Reeves, CEO, West Midlands Combined Authority

Martin ReevesMartin Reeves has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive. He was previously Head of Performance Improvement at Westminster City Council in the heart of London. He was also Programme Director for WorkSmart the City Council’s flagship transformation programme.

Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics. He is a Governor on the Board at Coventry University and is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association). He was the President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) in 2013 and now leads their Digital Leadership Network.  He is also the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

In 2015, Martin was invited onto the independent taskforce, which produced the new 5 year national cancer strategy.  He co-chairs the national systems leadership board and chairs the national cross system board for sustainable health & social care. He is also a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board.

In November 2015 Martin was included in the top 20 of the Local Government Chronicle’s list of the 100 most influential people in local government.


Tom Lewthwaite, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Tom LewthwaiteTom Lewthwaite has spent over 30 years in financial services at Deloitte, 20 of those as a partner. He is head of the Economic and Financial Crime practice in Risk Advisory and is widely recognised for his extensive experience in financial trading, valuation, compliance and regulatory risk issues on behalf of central banks and regulators.

Alongside his work Tom is an avid sports fan and has spent many years coaching Rugby, primarily with Esher Rugby club.  He is passionate about grassroots and university sport, is a key supporter of BUCS and a at Conference shared his thoughts on disruptive innovation within our sector.

 


Dr Paul Hawkins OBE, Founder, Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd

Dr Paul Hawkins OBEDr. Paul Hawkins is the founder of Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd. The technology is best known for its use in tennis, cricket and football but is also used in 24 other sports around the globe. Hawk-Eye now employs over 250 people and is valued in excess of £100m. Andre Agassi described Hawk-Eye as “the biggest thing to happen in tennis for 40 years”.

Paul gained a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from Durham University after which he worked for Roke Manor Research Ltd – where the idea of Hawk-Eye was initially pitched and developed.   Paul’s work has been recognised through being awarded the “young entrepreneur of the year”, and in 2014 was awarded an OBE for his services to Sport and Technology.

Paul has played several sports to a good level: minor country cricket, Durham University 1st 8 rowing, junior national level chess and table tennis and he now is a competitive triathlete. His own personal passion for sport is conveyed in his approach to innovation - to challenge convention and not be afraid to be wrong.  Paul has always had a passion for entrepreneurship which flourished through numerous extra-curricular activities at Durham. For instance running the University Boat Club shared many of the same characteristics as running a small business.


Professor Greg Whyte, Director of Performance, The Centre for Health and Human Performance

Professor Greg Whyte - BUCS Conference 2016Physical activity expert, world-­renowned sports scientist and former Modern Pentathlete, Greg competed in two Olympic Games and is a European and World Championship medallist. Most recently known for his involvement in Comic Relief, assisting various celebrities in challenge events, Greg successfully trained Davina McCall in her 'Beyond Breaking Point' 506 mile ultra-­‐triathlon.

Greg is currently a Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moore’s University and Director of Performance at the Centre for Health and Human Performance at in Harley Street, London. Greg's former roles include Director of Research for the British Olympic Association and Director of Science & Research for the English Institute of Sport. Greg is the preeminent authority on Exercise Physiology and Sports and Exercise Performance in the UK. An internationally recognised expert in the field, Greg has extensive professional experience assessing, treating and improving the performance of patients, sporting enthusiasts and athletes ranging from cancer sufferers to celebrities attempting their first mountain summit to Gold medal seeking Olympians.

Since 2006 Greg has applied his sports science work to assist various celebrities in completing some of the toughest challenges for Comic Relief. Greg has trained, motivated and successfully coached the comedian David Walliams to swim across the English Channel the Gibraltar Straits and the length of the Thames; James Cracknell to run, cycle and swim to Africa; a team of 9 celebrities including Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles and Gary Barlow to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro; Eddie Izzard to run a remarkable 43 marathons in 50 days; Christine Bleakley to waterski across the English Channel; Dermot O’Leary, Olly Murs and others to cross the driest desert in Africa; John Bishop to complete 'Bishops Week of Hell’ that involved John cycle, row and run from Paris to London.


Dr Simon Shepard, Co-founder, Optima Life

Dr Simon ShepardSimon Shepard can be best described as a disruptive innovator and as A Chartered Physiotherapist by profession he has worked in professional sport since 1991 primarily at Lord’s cricket ground with Middlesex CCC and The MCC.

In 2008 Simon co-founded Optima-life, a company that specialises in combining technology and coaching to help organisations and individuals become more resilient, productive and purposeful. His mission is to provide a symbiotic learning culture between the sporting, corporate and health worlds, and he has worked with clients across a variety of sectors around the globe from world class individual sports people to leading blue chip companies. Simon has also supplied medical support and therapy for The London Towers basketball team, The All England Badminton Championships and television shows such as World’s Strongest Man, Superstars and Gladiators.

He is still actively involved in the delivery of performance and health strategy at Lord’s cricket ground, where he has worked for the past 25 years, and is an accomplished speaker and coach, and lectures internationally on health and performance related subjects. When not working is typically found refereeing rugby matches. 


 

 

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