Sports Recruitment, Executives in Sport
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Joanna
Coates

 

Chief Executive, UK Athletics

1. How did you get your first opportunity in sport?

I was returning to work after my second child and I wanted to do something I’d love if I was going to leave my children for it. I applied for a job as Commercial Manager for a sports photography agency, and it went from there.

2. What is the best sporting event you’ve ever attended?

I’ve been incredibly lucky, having been to Champions League Finals, watching the Ashes and so much more, but I’m torn between two that are quite obscure. The first was in 2006 when Burton Albion held Manchester United to a draw in the FA Cup, and the other was at the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup when hosts Botswana played against Jamaica – it sounds odd, but I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it!

3. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

I don’t even have to think about this one – Sue Ashworth. She worked at Sky when everyone else there was male, but she became Head Sports Rights Buyer and is an absolutely brilliant woman. I’ve negotiated with her a few times and she’s a very tough woman but has never been anything but glorious to me. Even Barry Hearn was terrified of her!

4. I’m a big brand with a hefty sponsorship budget – what sport or event should I invest in?

Well, obviously Netball, but Vitality are doing a great job there, so I’ve say women’s hockey. They’ve had some great success internationally; they just need some support with developing the legacy that creates – and that’s really difficult without the right funding.

5. Who are three sports industry contacts you’d invite to your dinner party?

Vic Cotton from the BBC, she’s an absolute hoot. Sally Munday, who’s just become CEO of UK Sport and has plenty of stories to tell, and Chrissy Fice from Vitality. That’d be a really fun evening.

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