Executive Management team

Mark Gannon

Mark Gannon - Chief Executive Officer

Mark has a very strong coaching background having worked with a multitude of audiences in various environments including local communities, schools and sports clubs. He also has a deep knowledge of the sport and activity landscape.

After starting his career in finance and commerce, Mark has held a number of posts in the physical education and sport sector, including Operations Manager for the Youth Sport Trust, Education Advisor for Physical Education, and as a gymnastics and rugby coach.

Prior to this role Mark was Executive Director, Business and Development for British Gymnastics. During his time at British Gymnastics, the achievements of the sport became far more widely recognised. This culminated when British Gymnastics won the 2016 BT industry award for Governing Body of the Year.  Under Marks tenure membership doubled, the business became more participant focused and the profile of the sport was better than ever, and remains so.

Mark believes that coaching can and does change people’s lives and it is his aspiration to ensure that all those delivering physical activity and sport are well equipped to provide the best experience for their audience and support them to achieve their goals, whatever there motivations may be. Mark believes that coaching is first and foremost about people.

Emma Atkins

Emma Atkins - Director of Coaching

Emma joined the organisation after spending 9 years establishing and expanding the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

As an original Director of Dame Kelly’s charity Emma developed the training and support programme for world class sports performers, benefitting over 800 athletes in leading positive lives beyond sport since 2008. She also led the expansion of the charity’s young people programmes via Sport England investment in 2012 from two areas of England to 40 by 2016, ensuring sustainability for all. Emma is all about impact and ensured the charity embedded impact measurement as a core pillar of its operations; which was independently recognised as best practice.

In 2015 Emma secured the position of Chief Executive Officer for the charity and led the organisation through the development of a robust four-year strategy. She left the charity in June 2017 on a high as the organisation delivered more transformational support for young people facing disadvantage than ever before. This area of work had expanded to over 60 regions in the UK and proven the case that world class sports performers are much more than medals. Collaborating with researcher Prof David Lavalee, Emma’s gut feel was evidenced in 2016 with research proving that world class athletes exhibit higher levels of employment potential which when coupled with great training, they can become a workforce for social change across the UK. Earlier this year the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust released a social value calculation of 400 athletes (trained as mentors with the charity) since 2012 contributed £23million to the UK.

Emma makes no secret of the fact that the success of the Trust is down to two things; “People change people”, allowing everyone the chance to succeed and “Proper partnerships” where we listen, learn and support each other to succeed.

This philosophy is in tune with the relaunch of UK Coaching and a “people first” view that coaching can provide great experiences for all no matter what their motivations are. UK Coaching believes that great coaching is about People, Passion and Progress. As the organisation works towards its vision of creating an active nation inspired through great coaching, Emma brings a huge wealth of experience and coaching principles that have stayed with her throughout her career.

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