Chair - Dr Paul Thomas
Paul has had a lifelong relationship with sport, both as a
participant and through his career. Growing up in the South Wales
Valleys he was involved in a wide variety of sports, which he has
continued throughout his life. From being Area Manager for Sport in
Merthyr to establishing a community gym in Ebbw Vale, which is now
being run by the community, Paul has consistently championed the
power sport has to change lives and bring about a range of benefits
His career has seen him take academic and consultancy roles in
India, China, Malaysia, Pakistan and parts of Europe, gaining
significant experience in the development and implementation of
leadership within varying cultural environments. His work as an
academic included designing Sport and Leisure Undergraduate
programmes, to Post graduate MBA and PhD mainly in Complexity and
Leadership. He is the founder of DNA Definitive, which involves
critical academics from Universities around the world and Business
Executives seeking alternative ways to deliver sustainable
He starred in the BBC Radio Wales 'Wales at Work' special and a
BBC 1 documentary as 'The Business Doctor', where he sought to
challenge the mindset of businesses, through placing organisational
leadership in the hands of empowered frontline staff.
Paul's passion for ensuring the barriers to participation in
community sport are dismantled and every child has an opportunity
to make the most of their talent are central to his approach.
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 currently Director of Kinloch Court Investments for
the Jehu Group. He is former Chief Executive of RCT Homes -
established in 2007 as Wales's first Community Mutual Housing
Organisation. Andrew's passion for responsible business saw
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 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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