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Our Team

Anna Watkins
Chief Executive

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Anna joined the BEAA as CEO in June 2022, having previously held a Board position with the organisation.

Anna, whose illustrious rowing career saw her win London 2012 gold as well as claim two world championship titles, leads the organisation in maximising its current strategy in order to continue to evolve, respond effectively to athlete and system-wide demands, and ultimately deliver truly world-leading support to British athletes.

Following an international sporting career which spanned well over a decade Anna, who was awarded an MBE for services to rowing in 2013, moved into consultancy. She was a vice president at McKinsey’s advanced analytics arm, QuantumBlack, and has since worked as an independent consultant, undertaking work in areas including strategy, performance and wellbeing. In addition, she remained involved in sport following her retirement, as both an athlete mentor and coach.  

Sarah Newton
Director of Operations

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Sarah heads up the operations functions of the BEAA, which involves everything from our day-to-day running to ensuring our full compliance with the Code of Sports Governance.

She is responsible for the delivery of the Athlete Support Unit and Athlete Engagement.

Sarah is an experienced operational lead and joined the BEAA having led operations for the charity Safe Passage. Her previous operational roles have seen her spend nine years at the Rugby Football Union as well as supporting The Football Association.

Sarah is qualified in Safer Recruitment, GDPR and Understanding Equality and Diversity.

Elaine Francis
Athlete Support Manager

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Elaine joined the BEAA as Head of Safeguarding and Athlete Support Manager in March 2021.

Prior to this, she worked at the NSPCC, from where she was seconded to the BEAA to lead the support team set up specifically to offer end-to-end case management for children, families and elite athletes affected by allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.

Elaine held a team manager role at the NSPCC from 2019, and prior to that gained considerable experience in Social Worker and Senior Social Worker roles in both England and Northern Ireland.

As part of her role at the BEAA, Elaine works alongside both athletes and sports to ensure that safeguarding processes are understood and being correctly implemented.

MORE ABOUT ELAINE'S WORK >

Emma Speer
Athlete Support Manager

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Emma joined the BEAA permanently in October 2021, after almost a year seconded to the organisation from the NSPCC, providing support those children, athletes and families submitting evidence to the Whyte Review into mistreatment in gymnastics.

As well as her role as an Athlete Support Manager, she leads on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the organisation, ensuring that the BEAA is constantly progressing in this regard.

Prior to this, Emma worked as a Helpline Practitioner for the NSPCC, following a role as a Senior Safeguarding Children and Families Officer at a high school in Leeds.

Based in Belfast, Emma is passionate about sport having played international football for Northern Ireland at youth level and completed a degree in sports studies at Leeds Beckett University.

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Manpreet Gill
Athlete Support Manager

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Manpreet (Mannie) joined the BEAA as an Athlete Support Manager in January 2022.

Mannie’s background and experience prior to this was as a qualified Senior Probation Officer working for the National Probation Service.

Mannie previously worked for the BEAA in 2020-2021 during a secondment from the NSPCC. She formed part of the support team that was set up specifically to offer case management support for children, families and elite athletes affected by allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.

MORE ABOUT MANNIE'S WORK >

Fiona Semple
Athlete Support Manager

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Prior to her role at the BEAA, Fiona worked as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor with the English Institute of Sport, alongside a role at the University of Stirling which oversaw the distribution of a Government grant to elite athletes in education.

Based in Glasgow, Fiona is passionate about sport, having recently retired after almost a decade in international hockey.

She has completed a law degree at The University of Glasgow, along with a Sport and Physical Activity degree from the University of Strathclyde and an MSc in Performance Coaching from the University of Stirling.

MORE ABOUT FIONA'S WORK >
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