Chair - Dr Paul Thomas
- Leadership Fellow at Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University
- Founder DNA Global Solutions (Critical Think Tank)
- Director Institute of Social Innovation, Creativity and Change
- Research Fellow, Plymouth University
- Company Director for over 20 years
- BBC Wales Business Doctor
Dr Paul Thomas is one of those rare speakers and academics who
are placed not only at the cutting edge of knowledge and company
development but has spent many years managing companies in both
private and public services. Paul has also spent many months/years
overseas consulting in India, China, Malaysia, Pakistan and parts
of Europe, gaining significant experience in the development and
implementation of leadership within varying cultural
Paul is the leader and founder of the research and collaboration
organisations, DNA Global Solutions and the Institute of Social
Innovation, Creativity and Change (ISICC). DNA involves Critical
Academics from Universities around the world and Business
Executives seeking alternative ways for sustainable business. The
Project titled 'DNA' is a combination of research, seminars,
conferences and education programme to senior managers aimed at
analytical thinking, challenging the way things are done. From a
perspective of Complexity, Paul's view on management, strategy and
organisational theory is highly critical and unconventional.
Paul is also currently the subject of a BBC Radio Wales @Work
Special called 'The Business Doctor' documentary series on changing
the mindset of business and placing organisational sustainability
through the empowerment of frontline staff.
Paul has recently completed a global action research project on
leadership and Complexity thinking visiting 19 counties in the past
14 months. Paul's focus of Research and talks are;
- Complexity Theory
- Employee engagement
All mixed within this are Paul's personal research interests of
Democracy, Power and Gender. The focus of his present teaching and
research is to develop theoretical knowledge into 'real' skills for
the dynamic world of business and management. Paul was also a
visiting Professor for the Drucker Management Institute,
Vice - Chair - Adele Baumgardt
Adele is an independent consultant having previously worked in
Equal Opportunities Commission. Now a self employed consultant on
all aspects of equality and diversity, Adele's experience includes
delivering equality strategies in public, private and voluntary
sectors with particular expertise in the new 'positive' equality
Adele was the Wales Commissioner for the Women's National
Commission until December 2010 when the Commission was closed as
part of the Westminster Government's quango review. She is actively
campaigning for both the Welsh and UK Governments to support
systems to engage with Welsh women.
Adele has been active in gender budgeting for many years and was
co-chair of the Women's Budget group for 3 years and chair of the
Wales Gender Budget Group for 5 years.
Adele was a Board Member of Sport Wales until March 2012 and has
actively worked on increasing women and girls participation in
sport for a number of years. Adele is also a member of the Social
Security Advisory Committee.
Amanda Bennett was born in Cardiff and attended Ysgol Gyfun
Llanhari before completing her degree at Loughborough University.
Amanda worked as a Physical Education teacher in East
London for twelve years before joining the Women's Sports
Foundation and then UK Sport where she was Head of Governance.
Since 2013 she has been working independently, providing advice on
governance, leadership and equality to national and international
sports bodies. Amanda is a former Chair of European Women and Sport
and an international speaker on gender equality.
Amanda was an international rugby player and represented Wales
in the first women's game for the nation. She went on to
win 25 caps and also coached the Wales Women's National Squad.
Amanda is a currently a Vice President of Saracens Rugby.
Richard Parks is a former Wales international rugby union player
turned extreme environment athlete and explorer. Born in Pontypridd
and now based in Cardiff, Richard studied at Monmouth School,
Michaelhouse College South Africa and Cardiff University. He has
represented Wales, Wales 7's, The Barbarians and won the Powergen
Cup with Leeds and the Principality Cup with Pontypridd.
Aged 31, Richard was forced to retire from rugby due to a career
ending shoulder injury. The brutal blow forced Richard to reassess
his direction in life inspiring him to developed the idea of a new
world first project - the "737 Challenge". Richard Parks' 737
Challenge was a pioneering 7 month race to climb the highest
mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and stand on all 3
poles: the Geographical South Pole, Geographical North Pole and the
summit of Mt. Everest. On Tuesday 12 July 2011 Richard made history
in completing his project and becoming the first ever person to
climb the highest mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and
stand on all 3 poles within the same calendar year. Richard
completed his record setting 737 Challenge in a time of 6 months,
11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, raising over three hundred
thousand pounds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care whilst creating
an advertising value in excess of £3 million to the cancer
Passionate about sharing and giving back, Richard now works with
many schools and colleges across the UK using his experiences to
help applied learning on a wide range of topics, and is an honorary
lecturer at the University of South Wales. Richard also works with
commercial organisations delivering bespoke keynote speeches and
On 4 January 2014 Richard recorded the fastest solo, unsupported
and unassisted expedition from the Antarctic coast to the South
Pole by a Briton, and became the first Welshman to complete this
historic and brutal journey solo. His time of 29 days and 11 hours,
took 9 days from the previous British record.
Richard served as Team Attaché to Team Wales at the 2014 Glasgow
Commonwealth Games supporting the athletes, staff and corporate
partners in Wales' most successful Commonwealth team.
Samar grew up in Cyncoed and attended Cardiff High School and
Cardiff University, representing both in netball,
hockey, athletics and basketball. After graduating with a BSc
(Hons.) in Business Administration and an international internship
in Africa, she returned to Cardiff and achieved qualifications in
sports coaching, community nutrition and leisure management,
later founding her own sports, fitness and nutrition
Samar has worked extensively at grassroots and community level,
and through her work with minority charities and numerous Welsh and
English-medium schools and been actively increasing participation
in sport and achieving a real attitude change towards physical
activity. A keen linguist who speaks five languages, Samar has
worked with the London 2012 Olympics and the Rugby World Cup, as
well as, more recently, UEFA, Sport Cardiff and the Cardiff Half
Marathon to put Wales on the international sporting map. The
combination of her activities and achievements was recognised when
she was shortlisted for Sport Wales Community Coach of the Year in
Andrew is Chief Executive of RCT Homes, established in 2007 as
Wales's first Community Mutual Housing Organisation. Andrew's
passion for responsible business has seen the
organisation grow into a group which provides a holistic
approach to community regeneration and seeks to raise aspirations
and tackle poverty through social, financial and digital inclusion,
healthy living and active lifestyle initiatives, training and work
experience programmes for all ages.
Andrew has led RCT Homes to be increasingly recognised as a
strong values based business and community partner, being named as
BITC Wales' 'Responsible Company of the Year 2014'
Andrew has over ten years experience in social housing and 16
years previous experience in the NHS. Andrew lives near
Bridgend with his wife and two children aged 13 and 5. He is a
continuously relapsing runner and enjoys water sports.
Professor John Baylis
John Baylis represented the Welsh Universities at soccer and
athletics. He played for Barry Town in the Southern league and
for Cardiff City reserves. He is also a qualified FAW coach and
referee. He also played in the North and West Wales cricket
Until he retired he was Professor of Politics and International
Relations and Pro-Vice Chancellor, responsible for Sport, External
Relations and Human Resources, at Swansea University.
Previously he had been a Professor and Dean of Social Sciences
at Aberystwyth University.
He also spent five years as a member of the Governing Board at
the Wales National Swimming Pool. He is currently Chair of the
South Wales Hockey Board.
Simon Pirotte is Principal of Bridgend College.
He has previously held the positions of Deputy Principal at
Bridgend College and also Director of Sport, Lifestyle and Business
at Swansea College. He has been a Lecturer at UWIC and
Gorseinon College and Head of Drama at Los Angeles School
District Westchester High School.
He is the Artistic Director for Welsh Glamorgan Youth Theatre
and Steel Wasp Theatre Company.
Julia is a Senior Lecturer in the Cardiff School of Sport at
Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC). She was educated at
Barry Grammar School for Girls and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive
School, Barry. She has a University of Wales MSc coaching
Science degree from UWIC and a Certificate of Education teaching
qualification and a B.Ed from Barry Teacher Training College.
Julia is an Estyn independent inspector and education
consultant. She works regularly with colleagues throughout
Wales to develop Physical Education and School Sport.
A former Wales netball international with 25 caps, Julia played
at European and World Championship level. She is a former
international coach who took the Welsh U21 and senior team to
numerous European and World Championships, and the Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne in 2006.
Jo currently works for Barclays as Director of Compliance
Corporate Bank, focussed on Barclays' international corporate
business, cash management, FX and payments (including fintech).
Based in London, her role involves working with a global team
advising on products, incidents and regulatory interactions.
Previously Jo worked for Barclaycard as Director of Compliance for
Barclaycard Business Solutions.
Born in Cardiff she attended Corpus Christi High School and then
Millfield School, where she was Captain of Netball. Jo went on to
play netball for South Glamorgan and Somerset counties, West of
England and Wales at various age groups. She also played badminton
for Wales at group level.
Jo attended Nottingham University where she obtained an LLB (Hons)
degree in English law and American law, spending a year studying at
the University of Texas in Austin. Whilst at Nottingham, she
was a member of the First VII netball team for 3 years. She
holds a Diploma in Legal Practice from Nottingham Trent Law School
and is a qualified solicitor.
Prior to joining Barclays, Jo worked as a lawyer for Clifford
Chance LLP, in London and New York, and Deutsche Bank AG, in
London. Jo lives in London and stays fit by doing hot yoga,
running and cycling.
Peter is Executive Director of British Cycling, having been
Chief Executive from February 1997 until December 2008 during which
time the organisation moved from the brink of insolvency, to being
one of the most vibrant and successful governing bodies of sport in
Peter is qualified as a Fellow in both the Institute of
Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and the Chartered
Institute of Management Accountants. He is also a Fellow of
the Chartered Management Institute and a Global Management
Accountant. As well as being in practice as a Chartered
Secretary and Accountant, Peter manages a company which he founded
in 1978 specifically aimed at introducing high standards of
corporate governance and reliable management accounting functions
to small and medium sized businesses. He has a permanent
place on the Board of the European Regions Airline Association, and
is primarily responsible for their financial affairs.
Apart from Cycling, Peter has competed at local, regional and
national level in sports as diverse as Athletics, Table Tennis,
Football, Golf, Squash, Badminton and Cricket and he has been
involved as a volunteer official, coach or administrator in almost
all of these sports. He still competes occasionally in
Peter was a Board Member of Cycling England until its demise in
April 2011. He was appointed to the Board of England Athletics
as Chair in October 2012. He holds no other Ministerial public
Peter was made a CBE in 2008 in recognition of his services to
cycling having previously been awarded one of the sport's highest
accolades, The Bidlake Trophy, in 2007. He was inducted into
cycling's Hall of Fame in 2010.
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