Introducing our speakers for Fit for the Future 2021

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Professional rugby player Ashton Hewitt, ex-England netball captain Ama Agbeze MBE and Shadow Minister for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Alison McGovern MP are among the star names confirmed for the Fit for the Future Convention 2021.

Taking place online on Wednesday 27 January, delegates will have the opportunity to hear from expert speakers on the hugely important topic of diversity and inclusivity, a key area which sporting bodies, clubs and organisations have openly admitted must be improved upon.

Alliance CEO, Lisa Wainwright will be offering her expertise in a panel session to kick-start the day, with learning workshops, networking opportunities and interactive discussions all to follow.  

Find out more about our speakers below.

 Ashton Hewitt

Ashton Hewitt ()

Considered one of the most exciting talents in Welsh rugby, Ashton is a professional rugby union player who plays as a wing for the Dragons regional team, having previously represented Cross Keys RFC and Newport RFC. He has spoken candidly about discrimination since last year’s Black Lives Matter protests and has earned widespread praise for speaking out. Ashton has become an influential advocate for racial equality and wants to use his profile as an elite athlete to continue the conversation about race.

 Ama Agbeze MBE

Ama ()

Ama is an international netball player with more than 1oo England appearances to her name. In 2016, she was named captain and led the Vitality Roses to their historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Alongside her glittering career, Ama reflects on the question of diversity from a number of perspectives – race, gender and the importance of understanding that people have many different layers. She currently sits on several boards and is involved in numerous charities as an ambassador. Ama has a law degree, a masters in finance & management, is a qualified personal trainer and a qualified mediator.

 Alison McGovern MP

Alison McGovern ()

Alison, who currently serves as the Shadow Minister for DCMS, is the Labour MP for Wirral South and has been an MP continuously for the past decade. In 2010, she became former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Parliamentary Private Secretary and has sat on both the International Development and Works of Art Committees. Alison is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Friends of Syria and has spoken and campaigned on a wide variety of issues, including health, inequality and employment.

 Shaka Hislop

Shaka Hislop ()

A former Premier League footballer, Shaka played in goal for Portsmouth, Reading, Newcastle United and West Ham United. In a career spanning nearly 400 appearances, Shaka also represented Trinidad & Tobago at the 2006 World Cup. In April 2005, Shaka was named the inaugural winner of the PFA Special Merit Award for his services to football as a pioneer of the Show Racism the Red Card Campaign. Shaka was the first ever player to get involved with Show Racism the Red Card and 24 years later holds the position of Honorary President with the educational charity.

Paul Kearns 

Paul Kearns ()

Paul is an experienced Manager and has been with Show Racism the Red Card for the last 15 years.  After studying politics at university, Paul made the natural progression to working for the Labour Party, managing the National Communications Centre during the 2005 General Election campaign. Paul has managed all aspects of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and currently oversees the Campaign Team, working to organise 50 educational events at football clubs per season, the National School Competition and a programme of workplace-based adult training.  

Claire Harvey

Claire Harvey ()

Claire is an experienced senior leader, inclusion expert and Paralympian. Previously working as Head of Inclusive Leadership at KPMG, Claire is now recognised as a world leader in diversity, inclusion and culture, incorporating change management and leadership behaviours into impactful programmes.  Claire’s strong interpersonal skills combines with her style as a pro-active and personable leader to empower individuals to take ownership and implement meaningful change. She is an excellent speaker and facilitator and always leaves participants inspired, moved and reflective. 

 Rashmi Becker

Rashmi ()

With over 20 years’ experience in communications, policy and disability advocacy, Rashmi has worked in the UK and internationally in a range of fields including sport, healthcare, social care and the arts. She has worked in roles supporting the Department for Education and Employment, the European Parliament and Commission and one of the world’s largest science and research charities, the Wellcome Trust. Rashmi is also the founder of Step Change Studies, which support disabled people to be active. She is a Board member of Sport England, and former Board member of the Activity Alliance. Rashmi has a PhD in psychiatry from the University of Cambridge. 

 Sophie Carrigill

Sophie Carrigill ()

Sophie is a Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball player and has competed for Great Britain in European Championships, World Championships and the Paralympic Games. Sophie and the team are currently the World and European Silver Medallists, with high hopes of achieving a Paralympic medal at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games. Sophie is also a keen advocate and spokesperson for disability and inclusion, especially in the sporting world.

 Dana Abdulkarim

Dana ()

In 2000, Dana became the first Muslim and Arab woman to compete for England internationally as part of the England rounders team. Dana was also the first Hijabi Muslim Woman to qualify to teach PE in England having studied at Liverpool John Moores University and is now a Senior Education Lead in PE and PSHE in Sheffield. In September 2020, she took on the role of trustee for Chance to Shine, a charity using cricket as a vehicle to develop young people, having formerly been a trustee of the Muslim Sports Foundation.

 Barry Horne

Barry Horne ()

Barry was appointed as Chief Executive of the English Federation of Disability Sport in May 2010.  Now renamed Activity Alliance, the national charity works to get more disabled people active across England. 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. He is passionate about helping more people to understand the critical role which active recreation can play in improving disabled people’s lives.

Catherine Slater

Catherine Slater ()

Catherine leads the engagement team at the Activity Alliance, including supporting the Active Partnerships in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. Building relationships at a local level, Catherine is on hand to bring people together and advise on better practice. She enjoys that her role enables her to connect with so many passionate people. Seeing organisations grow in their learning and improve as a result makes her tick. She believes strongly that disabled people deserve more choices in sport and leisure and wants to see greater representation in the workforce.

Greg Sturge

Greg Sturge ()

Greg joined Stack Sports in 2019 as Director of Strategy for the UK & EMEA following more than five years’ experience developing, implementing and managing various high-level sports funding and education programmes. One of Greg’s most notable achievements was working with Team GBR throughout the World University Games in 2015 & 2017. Greg also sits on the Board of Snowsport England.

Chris Garrison

Chris Garrison ()

Chris joined Amaechi Performance Systems in 2016 and is part of the advisory team that focuses on understanding colleague experience and diversity and inclusion strategy. Her experience is derived from a combination of client-facing and SME roles on Wall Street and more recently, helping improve diversity and inclusion in the cycling industry for one of the world’s leading and most influential cycling brands. Chris sits on the Inclusive Leadership Board for one of the Big 4 and is currently providing advisory to multi-national clients in the retail, education, entertainment, professional services and travel sectors.


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