1. How did you get your first opportunity in sport?
I grew up in Greenwich and so my family home was 15-minutes away from The Valley [Charlton Athletic’s stadium]. I had graduated, started a graduate scheme that I didn’t enjoy and didn’t want to pursue further, and I was weighing up my options. I knew someone who worked at the club, and they told me about a temporary contract that had become available. I thought to myself, ‘why not?’, and they recommended me for the role. Sometimes opportunities come around because of who you know, not what you know, which is unfortunate, but even when someone opens a door for you, you still have to do the job well. What you do next is totally up to you.
2. What is the best sporting event you’ve ever attended?
I have been lucky to experience a number of ‘firsts’ and so I remember the first time I went to the Emirates, the new Wembley, Sandown, Lichfield, Ascot, Wimbledon, Lords… all of these moments are really memorable. The most emotional I’ve been watching a sport event was Charlton’s play-off semi-final, second leg, against Doncaster in 2019. We’d been to Doncaster a week earlier for the first leg and brought a 2-1 lead back to The Valley, and it was just so exciting to see the club on the brink of success, knowing what work had been done behind the scenes to get to that point. The club was edging closer to where we all wanted it to be. However, at The Valley, things changed, and the game went to extra-time, then penalties. When goalkeeper Dillon Phillips saved the last penalty, the place erupted. I could see what it meant to so many people. As a club, we had experienced the disappointment of losing in the play-offs a year earlier, so it was a great moment to experience the other side of it, even though I was no longer working for the club.
3. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Katrien Meire, who was the Charlton CEO for a few years, gave me a lot of belief in what I could do. She pushed me more than anyone else when it came to going for new opportunities. I’m also surrounded by a great group of women who support me regularly. I consider myself very lucky. I would say that I’m yet to find a male ally who has pushed me to be my best, or given me the same support as Katrien or others.
4. I’m a big brand with a hefty sponsorship budget – what sport or event should I invest in?
Without a doubt, women’s football. It’s one of the fastest-growing areas of sport. It’s a great product but it needs support and opportunity.
5. Who are three sports industry contacts you’d invite to your dinner party?
Alex Ferguson. He has a strong mantra and I reckon he would have some great stories to tell. Serena Williams has done so much in her career despite the constant battle she’s faced to achieve and to prove herself. People see her as extraordinary, but not always in a good way. She has constantly fought adversity to be at the top of her game and she has always pushed through those barriers. My last guest would be Billy Monger, the F4 racing driver who continues to race after having his legs amputated. I saw him do a talk recently, and he was amazing. He’s a fearless guy, so inspirational. If one of these three dropped out, Arsene Wenger would be my backup. He changed the game in this country and only now are people realising that perhaps he wasn’t the only problem at Arsenal.
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