The Executive Team

England Netball’s Executive Team, working together with The Board, aims to deliver an effective and professional organisation for the greater good of netball in the country.


Fran Connolly – Chief Executive Officer

Fran ConnollyIn August 2019, Fran succeeded Joanna Adams as the new Chief Executive Officer to lead England Netball into an exciting new era.

Joining England Netball in 2001, Fran has grown within the organisation, being appointed as Director of Development in 2010 and subsequently leading on the phenomenal growth in participation the sport has seen over the last nine years.

She has held a number of roles within the organisation and overseen a broad spectrum of areas including participation, capital investment, governance, competition and events, coaching, officiating, volunteering, talent and insight.

During her tenure, Fran’s contribution has to date included: securing substantial investment from new commercial partners and the main government funding agencies, pioneering the Participant-Centred Approach, and driving the development of England Netball’s highly successful ‘Your Game Your Way’ strategy.

She has also overseen 10 years of consistent and unparalleled growth in participation and membership, developing industry leading partnerships with organisations such as the Women’s Institute and introducing market leading programmes such as Back to Netball, Walking Netball and the new U11 product Bee Netball.

Leading on the Vitality Netball World Cup legacy strategy, she successfully harnessed the impact of both the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup to inspire a nation of new netballers. 130,700 women started playing netball or more netball following the 2018 Commonwealth Games and this was bettered in 2019 with an incredible 160,000 women starting or playing more after the Netball World Cup.

Through her leadership and influence netball has supported the overall growth of women’s sport, helping to address the gender inequality gap and inactivity levels in traditionally hard to reach population groups.


David Parsons – Director of Performance

David joined England Netball in Winter 2020, having enjoyed a highly successful 12-year tenure as Performance Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) where he was responsible for developing the systems, programmes, people and pathways that identified and prepared players for the England team.

During his time as Performance Director, the England team won the 2019 Cricket World Cup and the 2010 World Twenty20 competition and were ranked number one in the world in all formats of the game.

David, who has also worked as a High Performance Consultant for the likes of UK Sport, British Canoeing, and British Weightlifting, has a wealth of experience in the elite sporting landscape and is passionate about the potential success of netball on the road to the next Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup.

He works closely with Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby and Vitality Netball Superleague clubs to continue to build on the successes of recent years and to support the development of world leading performance environments for the sport.


Emma Fielding – Director of Finance & Corporate Resources

Emma FieldingEmma joined England Netball as Director of Finance & Corporate Resources in late 2017.

She joined as a finance professional with 15 years of experience and is a fully-qualified Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) accountant.

Emma, who graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 1994, spent four years in the medical sector as a National Financial Management Trainee with the NHS and a Deputy Finance Manager at Nottingham University Hospital.

In her two years with England Volleyball, Emma led in the strategic and operational financial performance at the national governing body, increased turnover, and introduced procurement strategy among other responsibilities.

She continued her time in sport with four years at the Football Association as a Finance Business Partner/Finance Manager where she was a key member of the Senior Management Team responsible for decision making, financial planning and analysis.

She joined England Netball in 2017 with a proven track record spanning all areas of financial management and has helped to sustain the national governing body through her effective decisions at a strategic level.


Mark Foster – Director of Commercial and Marketing

Mark Foster joined England Netball in May 2023 from the Rugby Football League (RFL) where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. With more than 15 years’ experience in commercial, marketing, digital and broadcast leadership within Rugby, Cricket and Football, Mark has an exceptional track record of commercial success and is responsible for driving revenue and audience growth across England Netball and Netball Super League properties through the building and fostering of authentic partnerships. Mark assumes overall responsibility for all commercial, marketing and communications functions at England Netball.


Katy Ryan – Director of Development

Katy joined the organisation in 2020 from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) where she held the role of Head of National Programmes.

During her time with the ECB, Katy spearheaded its first national programme designed for children; All Stars Cricket, which has seen 185,000 children engage with the game over three years, plus she secured £1.4m of Sport England funding and also successfully delivered a number of large scale innovative projects which led to her inclusion in the Financial Times’ Rising Stars list.

Katy previously worked for England Netball for seven years in senior development roles such as National Coaching Manager and National Development Manager. During that period she spearheaded our flagship participation programme Back to Netball which she went on to see win the National Lottery Sports Project of the Year Award in 2012.


Ian Holloway – Director of Netball Super League & Competitions

Ian has 15 years experience within the sport sector and 12 years specifically within sport event management. Having graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2004, he held several sport development roles at Local Authorities before being appointed as Sport Event Manager at Nottingham City Council in 2007.

In the five years at Nottingham City Council he supported the hosting of a wide programme of events in the city, ranging from international sporting competitions including the ICC T20 World Cup and the Women’s Champions Trophy Hockey, to national and local events that inspired local residents to become more active.

Ian joined England Netball in 2012 as Community Competition and Events Manager, where he was responsible for the organisations national competitions and finals. In 2014, he assumed responsibility for the delivery of home internationals and during this time has significantly grown ticket sales and commercial return on these events.

In 2015, he was promoted on an interim basis to manage the competition and events team and oversee the entire portfolio of competition and events, as well as specifically manage the Netball Super League and this role was made permanent in 2016.

Ian was seconded to the Vitality Netball World Cup in August 2018 as Head of Sport Competition where he successfully oversaw all areas of the sport and competition including the management of teams, officials, technical officials, sport specific volunteers, anti doping, field of play, training and warm up venues and sport presentation.

Ian returned to England Netball in September 2019 and was successfully appointed into the newly created position of Director of Superleague and Competitions, where he is responsible for the strategic development and growth of the VNSL and competitions.


Naomi Defroand – Director of Business Transformation & Company Secretary

Naomi is an experienced sport governance and project manager with a career of more than 10 years in the sport industry. She joined England Netball in 2011 at the start of her career and has progressed within the organisation working in a number of different roles within the competition, development and business areas of the organisation. This has allowed her to develop a broad and far-reaching knowledge of the sport of netball.

She has played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of England Netball’s strategies over the last decade and worked closely with staff and volunteers to support the successful delivery of significant change management projects to enhance the success of the sport. Naomi became the Company Secretary for England Netball in 2017 and alongside this has overseen a number of areas within the organisation including governance, compliance, safeguarding, operations, technology, insight and equality & diversity.

She is passionate about the impact of sport on people’s lives and taking an insight led approach to strategy in order to tailor and deliver exceptional experiences. Alongside her roles with England Netball, Naomi has provided insight consultancy support to a number of other sports organisations including Sport England, the RFL, British Canoeing and British Cycling. She is also currently the Vice Chair of Bath Recreation Ltd. a charitable organisation which owns and operates a number of recreational sites seeking to nurture positive lifestyles within the local community and a Trustee of the charity Active4Blood.

Claire Nelson – Managing Director of Netball Super League

Claire joined England Netball in June 2023 with 15 years’ experience working across the sports and marketing sectors. Previously the Group Chief Executive Officer for Netball Scotland and NSL Club Strathclyde Sirens, Claire has been instrumental in transforming netball in Scotland, setting new standards for the sport and delivering industry-leading results. Specialising in commercial strategy, brand, marketing, and partnership acquisition and activation, her remit as the NSL’s first-ever Managing Director sees her work closely with the NSL clubs to strategically leverage the status and reputation of the domestic league, and take it to new heights of visibility and influence.

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