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Our team

Anna Watkins
Chief Executive


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

Anna, whose illustrious rowing career saw her win London 2012 gold as well as two World Championship titles, leads the organisation in maximising its strategy in order to continue to evolve, respond effectively to athlete and system-wide demands, and 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.

Read more from Anna >

Sarah Newton
Director of Operations


Sarah heads up BEAA operations, 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


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

Before this, she worked at the NSPCC, from whom she was seconded 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 before 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 correctly implemented.


Emma Speer
Athlete Support Manager


Emma joined the BEAA permanently in October 2021, after almost a year seconded to the organisation from the NSPCC, providing support to 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 field.

Before 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.


Fiona Semple
Athlete Support Manager


Before her role at the BEAA, Fiona worked as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor with the UK Sports Institute (then 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 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.


Milly Kellyman
Athlete Community Manager


Milly works with our members across sport to further strengthen the athlete community, enhancing the BEAA’s role in uniting Britain’s elite sportspeople.

Before joining the BEAA she was an athlete with the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association, having represented Great Britain in the Europa Cup and won bronze on just her sixth start. Before joining her World Class Programme, Milly earned a degree in Child and Youth Studies, trained as a teacher and taught primary school children alongside training.

She came to the BBSA’s attention as part of UK Sport’s Discover Your Gold talent identification, having previously been a keen 100m sprinter.

Milly’s role involves supporting athletes on a one-to-one basis, as well as working to bring the athlete community together as a whole.

More about Milly's work >

Jenny Cripps
Head of Alumni Relations


Jenny joined the BEAA in late 2022 to oversee the launch and growth of our new alumni platform which connects and supports retired elite athletes.

Previously Jenny managed the Athlete Services Team for the British Olympic Association for nine years. Her experience focused on athlete preparation and support programme, engagement strategies, team culture and post-retirement support for Olympians. She led athlete support programmes at each Olympic Games since Sochi 2014 and was part of the leadership team for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Jenny’s career started in developing university sport, before working in sports development for the London Borough of Brent, focused on clubs and coaching. She went on to be part the Education Team for UK Anti-Doping, which included a secondment to the World Anti-Doping Agency for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Ben Mountain
Communications Manager


Ben joined the BEAA at the start of 2023 as Communications Manager.

With a background in football, Ben began his career as a freelance writer with brands like SPORTbible and Paddy Power, and today still writes for FourFourTwo Magazine.

He moved to the BEAA from Premier League side Crystal Palace, where he worked for four years, overseeing their website, app and matchday programme output.

“The team continue to be highly recommended in both formal and informal feedback, and we in the UK are almost unique in having this independent team to call on for expert, independent and confidential support.”

Anna Watkins, BEAA CEO

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