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World Class Speakers
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Head of Rugby
Paul joined Harlequins as Head of Rugby for the 2018/19 season. He enjoyed a long and illustrious playing career, appearing twice for England in non-cap matches, England A and the Barbarians. At club level, he won four Premiership titles and two European Cups in five years with Leicester Tigers before moving to London Irish and finally Saracens in 2006. Two years later he joined the club’s coaching team as Assistant First Team Coach before taking on the roles of Defence and Forwards. He joined Eddie Jones’s coaching team at the start of 2016, helping England win the Grand Slam, back-to-back Six Nations titles and a first ever series win in Australia.
Author, Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking
Matthew Syed is one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the field of high performance and cultural change. He has worked with leading global organisations to build a mindset of continuous improvement. A multiple award-winning journalist for The Times, he is a highly-acclaimed speaker and the author of five bestselling books. In his work, he explores a thought-provoking approach to success and high performance in the context of a complex and fast-changing world, looking at the scientific correlation between mindset and performance and how we cannot develop unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes.
Global Head of Creative Capability Development
Kirk is an expert in the development and harnessing of creativity and innovation within the work place, and the value of people, alongside technology, in achieving this. In 2012, Kirk joined Google as their Global Head of Creative Capability Development. Here he would further delve into the connection between culture and behaviour and their attendant effects on positive innovation. Combining his expertise for creativity as a critical skill, with his passion for sport, Kirk now also supports the elite and development areas of England Rugby, the English Football Association and Adidas in how fresh thinking and problem solving can provide a vital edge in both the performance and business sides of sport.
Head of Player Insights
Kate is the Head of Player Insights at the Football Association, overseeing the identification, progression and selection of Players to the England Men’s Football teams. Using insights from data, practitioner experience, Player histories and Coaches’ tacit knowledge, the Player Insights Department will drive evidence-based decision making across England Teams. Her personal and professional interests centre around the use of ‘intuitive-decision making’ or ‘gut-feel’ alongside data-informed insights, for optimal performance and player development. Prior to joining the FA, Kate was Head of UK Performance Pathways at the English Institute of Sport and UK Sport; responsible for overseeing Talent Identification and Development practices across Olympic and Paralympic Programmes.
Head of Sports Science
Sam joined Manchester City Football Club in the summer of 2011 as head of Sports Science and oversees a number of support services for the club including sports science, fitness and conditioning, nutrition and psychology. Sam had a three year period combining his role in Manchester with that of Global Lead for Human Performance for City Football Group which involved overseeing the approach, sharing best practice and providing strategic leadership to all the clubs in City football group worldwide in the areas of sports medicine, sports science and psychology. Sam also has international experience working for the England Mens senior team as a consultant performance coach for over a year. Previous to joining Manchester City Sam was Head of Sports Science for Tottenham Hotspur FC for 7 years.
Internationally Renowned Storyteller
Clare Muireann Murphy is an international storyteller who has performed in more than 20 countries. She has performed at all kinds of venues from the Globe Theatre to medieval roundtowers to NASA’s Von Kármán lecture series in Pasadena California. Clare has worked with many companies and institutions worldwide including The Royal Shakespeare Company, Jaguar Land Rover, NASA JPL, BLESMA Limbless Veterans, Mission Critical Team Institute, The Young Vic and the National Trust. Clare trains people in storytelling and communication skills. She has trained actors, scientists, veterans, military, bankers, and lawyers to name a few.
Research & Innovation
For the last 13 years Glenn has been working as an expert in Performance innovation at both UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport with the purpose being to identify and deliver new and novel ideas that help to maximise the success of British athletes at the winter and summer Olympic and Paralympic games. Glenn has a background in both science and art and design. His main areas of interest and research lie in the design of experience and secondly in how to learn faster than the opposition. In relation to the later his research draws on the areas of film (directing and screenplays) to help deepen the learning experience.
Head of Quality, Health, Safety & Wellbeing
Marie-Louise Chandler is the Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Wellbeing for NATS who are the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services. Each year they handle 2.4 million flights and 250 million passengers in UK airspace. In addition to providing services to 14 UK airports, and managing all upper airspace in the UK, they provide services around the world spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Marie has the oversight of the 2 operational centres, the corporate technology centre, airports, remote radar sites, international contracts and around 4300 employees. Before working for NATS, Marie worked in the Wind Industry and was responsible for the Quality, Health and Safety in the construction and installation of wind farm sites across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Christian is the Team Principal of Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing, where he has lead the team since 2005. His motorsport career started as a racing driver, before he switched roles to become Team Principal of FIA F3000 and later GP2 Series team Arden International Motorsport in 1999. Christian is one of the most successful team principals in the sport, where he has led Red Bull to four Constructors’ Championships and four Drivers’ Championship victories, all won by Sebastian Vettel.
Global Head of Culture
Maxine has been a Googler for 10 years now, and now the leads the whole companies strategy for their world renowned culture and environment. Google is led by the values and missions of its employees, and when they hire people it is integral that they fit to the principles that the company set – it’s not just about what you achieve, it’s how you achieve it. She not only looks outward to decide on what the type of person the company should recruit, but also looks inward to scrutinise whether the people who work and lead the company are abiding by the beliefs they have set. All this is really relatable to sport, and the responsibilities will mirror that of a lot of General Managers, Head Coaches and CEO’s – asides from this, Google set the standard when it comes to corporate culture and everyone will be intrigued just how the company, and Maxine in particular, creates it. I intend to put her on a panel discussing talent, and exploring how they draw people into the culture and more importantly what engages them to it, a topical and interesting discussion when it comes to talent acquisition and management.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mark took the reins at the Blue Jays in 2015 after a 14 year stint at the Cleveland Indians that started in 1991, in which time he was named Executive of the Year on two occasions. He joined the Indians as Director of Player Development and eventually made his way up to General Manager in 2001, and then Team President before leaving for the Rogers Centre. During his time in Cleveland, he was the architect behind building a pair of post-season teams with 90+ wins in 2005 and 2007. With Mark’s performance experience mixed with the requirements on the commercial side he has become one of the most highly rated leaders in the MLB. He is widely regarded as the man who built a small market team in Cleveland into a successful and competitive outfit, and during his first two years in Canada has improved the franchise off the field, and had an big influence on the culture, player development and team building on it.
Manager - Chelsea Ladies
Emma Hayes was appointed Manager of Chelsea Ladies in June 2012. Hayes’ career in management spans over a decade and she earned huge plaudits after leaving her native North London for successful spells in America. Emma enjoyed a successful two-year spell in Long Island in 2001, where she was the youngest female head coach in W-League history, and scooped the National Coach of the Year award in 2002. She also won the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2004 with Iona College, before leading her side to the 2004/05 MAAC Conference Championships. She returned to English football in 2006 as Arsenal Ladies Asst. Coach, and won eleven trophies in three years. She then held numerous positions with the Chicago Red Stars, Washington Freedom, and New York Flash before returning to the UK.
Sara became Performance Director at England Netball in 2015 and recently led the England Roses to a historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Other career junctures include a six year stint as Performance Director at Archery GB, three years at UK Sport as a Performance Advisor, two years as a Business Manager in the City & three years as a police officer working in Nottingham inner city. Presently she is Vice Chair of the UK Performance Director Strategic Group & a NED on the British Boxing Board.
Executive Director of Football
Les has been in his role as Executive Director of Football at Southampton FC since 2010, and before this coached England at every level in World and European Championships and was also Technical Director of The FA. He has an excellent reputation in the game, and is regarded as an innovator with significant knowledge from around the world. The Southampton story is unique and highly regarded because of the strategy and long term planning that has been implemented by Les and in turn brought great success back to the club, helping them rise from the depths of League One to a top six finish in the Premier League last season. Numerous personnel and supposed star players have left the club every window since they returned to the top flight, but they have in fact gone from strength to strength because of the vision and delivery of a plan they believe in, one which a lot of organisations could learn from.
Chief Race Engineer
Stephen is the Chief Race Engineer of Porsche LMP1. He assumed the role in 2013 after spending his first season with the team as a race engineer. Stephen is responsible for ensuring all drivers, race engineers, data engineers are aligned throughout the team with regards to preparation, test and the race seasons. Stephen arrived at Porsche from Red Bull Racing in Formula 1 where he operated as a data and performance engineer.
Simon is the Performance Director of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). He took up the role in 2016 following the Olympic Games in Rio, where he fulfilled his final duties as the Performance Director of UK Sport. Prior to his role at UK Sport, Simon spent two years with the England and Wales Cricket Board, firstly as Head of Science & Medicine, followed by the role of Head of the England Development Programme. Simon was also Skeleton Performance Director of the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association from 2000 to 2006.
Head of Research & Innovation
Associate Professor Sam Robertson has been the Head of Research & Innovation for the Western Bulldogs – Victoria University partnership since 2014, and was part of the Western Bulldogs 2016 Premiership. His joint role consists of overseeing sports science practice and research across both organisations.
Sam is most well known in sporting and academic circles for his work and research in the application of machine learning to improve decision-making. He has published more than 80 refereed scientific articles and prior to his current position held academic roles at Deakin University and Edith Cowan University.
Director of Athlete Wellbeing & Performance
Meg is the Director of Athlete Wellbeing & Performance for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs American Hockey League affiliate. Prior to this, she worked for two seasons as the Personal & Professional Development Coach for players and staff on both teams.
Meg is the first woman ever to hold a director-level position within this historic hockey franchise. She also served as a faculty member within the School of Leadership and Social Change at Brescia University College, where her teaching and research focused on socio-cultural sports studies, organizational behaviour and leadership, and youth subculture.
Head of Performance Science
Bryan is the Head of Performance Science at Quebec-based performance company Cirque du Soleil, world renowned for its high-quality, artistic entertainment. He has been with Cirque du Soleil since 2007 and works with both internal and external partners leading research on factors that affect workload, fatigue, and recovery.
Bryan also manages the integration of Strength & Conditioning, Nutrition, and Psychological services and was a 2015 nominee for LiP’s 40 Under 40 award. Prior to his move to Cirque, he served as the Head Athletic Trainer / Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL for four seasons.
David Brailsford has been involved in cycling throughout his career and has enjoyed a number of highlights. In 2008, in his role as Performance Director at British Cycling, he led the GB Cycling Team to an unprecedented 8 gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. He replicated this feat in 2012, leading Team GB to another 8 gold medals at the London Olympics. In 2010 Dave joined British based professional team, Team Sky, with the aim of bringing Britain its first ever Tour De France winner. In 2012 Dave achieved this, with Bradley Wiggins winning the prestigious race. One year later, it was under Dave’s leadership again that Chris Froome won the Tour De France for Team Sky. Dave received his knighthood for services to cycling and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on 28February 2013.
Trent is the Head Coach of the recently crowned NRL Champions, Sydney Roosters. He is also an Australian former professional rugby league footballer and has previously held coaching positions at Toulouse Olympique, Newcastle Knights and the Catalans Dragons. When Trent was appointed as Head Coach in 2013, at the age of 35, he was the youngest coach in the NRL. Impressively, he capped this historic season by leading the Roosters to the Premiership title and to the Grand Final victory, becoming only the sixth rookie coach Premiership winner.
Paul is the Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, the world’s number one art and design university as rated by the QS World University Rankings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the only art and design university in the UK operating exclusively at postgraduate level. Prior to 2009, Paul was Director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, and Director of the Design Museum in London.
Head of Team Management
Carlo is the Head of Team Management for Porsche LMP1, where he is responsible for all organisational matters around the test and race team, management of athletes, human performance elements and other areas such as crisis communication and organisational strategy. Carlo joined Porsche in 2013, making the move to the organisation from BMW, where he took a major role in building the DTM programme and served as leader of the BMW Motorsport division.
Director of Performance
Lachlan is the current Director of Performance at the NRL’s Melbourne Storm. Lachlan has an incredible CV, with clubs including the Golden State Warriors in the NBA; the Sydney Roosters, where he served as the Head of Performance for three years; and the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football team, where he held the role as Head of Physical Preparation for six years.
With over 20 years of experience in the field of athletic performance, he has also held positions in a wide variety of sports, including working with over 80 Olympic athletes across five different Olympic Games.
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