With the support of Sport England, the Board of England Netball recently completed a thorough recruitment process for a new Non-Executive Director to provide added support in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Jennifer Thomas to take on this new role.
Jennifer is a former England 400m hurdler and more recently co-founded OPUS (Optimising Performance Utilising Science), developing the athletic abilities and personal brands of young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Professionally, Jennifer has risen quickly to the top as a dynamic communicator. She has recently joined GSK, where she is focused on using a communications strategic lens to review and support their inclusion and diversity agenda. Prior to that, Jennifer was transforming the profile and reputation of Direct Line Group, as Director of Internal Communications, Experience & Sustainability and previously as its Director of Financial Communications.
The Board, which is responsible for overseeing England Netball’s strategies, policies and business management, is comprised of a mixture of Nominated and Independent Non-Executive Directors from different backgrounds. Jennifer will join the board as an additional Co-opted Director.
Colin Povey, Chair of the England Netball Board, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome Jennifer to the England Netball Board, she has a strong sporting background and is committed to equality and diversity within sport.
“Several months ago, we held a number of ‘Here to Listen Forums’ which were joined by over 200 members of the Netball Family to discuss racism, and the behaviours players had experienced when playing netball, and more recently we held forums to hear from LGBT+ members. We look forward to Jennifer helping us to continue these conversations, looking at the different experiences of those who participate in our sport and ensuring equality and diversity is at the forefront of everything we do as we develop our future strategies.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Jennifer going forward and would like to wish her all the best of luck in this new position.”
Jennifer added: “I’ve always loved netball, and I believe it can be accessible to so many people from any demographic background, ensuring it is as inclusive and open to all. I want to help represent the voices of those who may feel they are not always heard in the community and help England Netball to expand its reach even further into these communities.
“England Netball has the opportunity to make a real difference to players lives. The netball community has already shared its thoughts and experiences so it’s important we listen, identify the gaps and challenges and have a tangible plan to evolve and improve. Working with, and alongside, our communities will enable us to do this and I will use my experience and expertise to support along the way.”
Find out more about the England Netball Board here.