Board Members

Chair - Lawrence Conway

Lawrence was born and raised in Cardiff and is married with four children. He joined the civil service in 1968 and had various roles within the Welsh Office, including a secondment to Cardiff Bay Development Corporation in the early 1990s as Assistant to the Chief Executive. Following that appointment Lawrence headed the Welsh Office division of sponsored arms-length bodies including the Welsh Development Agency. He became head of the Cabinet Secretariat and First Minister's Department in 1998 and held that post until his retirement in 2010.  Lawrence was awarded the Companion of the Bath in 2012.

Vice Chair - Pippa Britton

Pippa is the current Chair of Disability Sport and a former athlete. Pippa is a member of the Sports Honours Committee; UK Anti-Doping Board; British Paralympic Advisory Committee and the Archery GB Board.

She has previously served on the UK International Leadership Programme and is a member of the Sport Wales Elite Sport Sub Group and World Archery Para Committee, following her retirement from the sport in 2014.

Richard Parks

Richard Parks is a former Wales international rugby union player turned extreme environment athlete and explorer. Born in Pontypridd and now based in Cardiff, Richard studied at Monmouth School, Michaelhouse College South Africa and Cardiff University. He has represented Wales, Wales 7's, The Barbarians and won the Powergen Cup with Leeds and the Principality Cup with Pontypridd.

Aged 31, Richard was forced to retire from rugby due to a career ending shoulder injury. The brutal blow forced Richard to reassess his direction in life inspiring him to developed the idea of a new world first project - the "737 Challenge". Richard Parks' 737 Challenge was a pioneering 7 month race to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles: the Geographical South Pole, Geographical North Pole and the summit of Mt. Everest. On Tuesday 12 July 2011 Richard made history in completing his project and becoming the first ever person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles within the same calendar year. Richard completed his record setting 737 Challenge in a time of 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, raising over three hundred thousand pounds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care whilst creating an advertising value in excess of £3 million to the cancer charity.

Passionate about sharing and giving back, Richard now works with many schools and colleges across the UK using his experiences to help applied learning on a wide range of topics, and is an honorary lecturer at the University of South Wales. Richard also works with commercial organisations delivering bespoke keynote speeches and training.

On 4 January 2014 Richard recorded the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted expedition from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole by a Briton, and became the first Welshman to complete this historic and brutal journey solo. His time of 29 days and 11 hours, took 9 days from the previous British record.

Richard served as Team Attaché to Team Wales at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games supporting the athletes, staff and corporate partners in Wales' most successful Commonwealth team.

Ashok Ahir

Ashok has a communications and media background. He is the co-owner of a bilingual communications agency working across the private, public and third sector.

He is also the Chair of the organising committee for the National Eisteddfod 2018 and a member of their management board.  He has previously been involved in a Welsh for Adults Review Group and Executive Editor of Politics at BBC Cymru Wales.

Ian Bancroft

Ian was the Chief Officer for Organisational Change at Flintshire County Council but was appointed Cheif Executive of Wrexham Council in the summer of 2018. Prior to this he was Area Relationship Director at Knowsley MBC, Executive Director at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Principal Policy Officer at Wrexham County Borough Council and Business and Strategy Manager for Nottingham City Council's Leisure Services Department.

He was previously a board member for the Heritage Lottery Fund - North West.

Johanna Sheppard

Jo currently works for Barclays as Director of Compliance Corporate Bank, focussed on Barclays' international corporate business, cash management, FX and payments (including fintech). Based in London, her role involves working with a global team advising on products, incidents and regulatory interactions. Previously Jo worked for Barclaycard as Director of Compliance for Barclaycard Business Solutions.

Born in Cardiff she attended Corpus Christi High School and then Millfield School, where she was Captain of Netball. Jo went on to play netball for South Glamorgan and Somerset counties, West of England and Wales at various age groups. She also played badminton for Wales at group level.

Jo attended Nottingham University where she obtained an LLB (Hons) degree in English law and American law, spending a year studying at the University of Texas in Austin. Whilst at Nottingham, she was a member of the First VII netball team for 3 years. She holds a Diploma in Legal Practice from Nottingham Trent Law School and is a qualified solicitor.

Prior to joining Barclays, Jo worked as a lawyer for Clifford Chance LLP, in London and New York, and Deutsche Bank AG, in London.  Jo lives in London and stays fit by doing hot yoga, running and cycling.

Christian Malcolm

Christian is the Technical Lead Coach to Team GB Men and Women's 4 x 100 relay team and sprint coach to GB Paralympic and Welsh athletes.

He is also a Welsh Athletics Board Member and director of his own community sports academy. He is best known for his achievements as a former elite athlete, competing at number of major championships, including 4 Olympic Games.

Alison Thorne

Alison is a trustee at Chwarae Teg; a Non-Executive Director of a retail consultancy and ille de Cocos (fashion brand). She is also Founder of atconnect - a business and people development company. She has previously served as trustee at Tropical Forest Trust (sustainable forest management) and the MBA Committee (London College of Fashion).

Her earlier career is in business, retail and people development.

Judi Rhys

Judi has a background in health, education and social welfare and initially worked in the NHS as a health promotion specialist in the south Wales Valleys. She was a staff tutor at the Open University and an academic staff manager at Cardiff University, before appointment as Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, then as Director of MS Society Cymru, and subsequently UK Director of Operations at MS Society.  Judi has held Chief Executive roles at the charities Arthritis Care and the British Liver Trust.  She is a non-executive director of Public Health Wales and has postgraduate qualifications in health promotion, management, education and executive coaching. Judi achieved an ACEVO Fellowship award in 2015.  Judi was born and raised in south Wales and now lives in Cardiff. A keen amateur sportswoman, she has previously competed in equestrianism, hockey and swimming and is now an enthusiastic long distance runner.

Professor Leigh Robinson

Professor Leigh Robinson is a Professor of Sport Management and the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Cyncoed) and Executive Dean of the School of Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has a global reputation for her research and knowledge exchange in the development of competitive advantage and governance in developing sport nations. She has worked with a range of organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee, the British Olympic Association, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and the Malaysian Government, providing governance management training and consultancy. She is a member of the MEMOS network, a global network of academics responsible for delivering executive management education on behalf of the International Olympic Committee. Leigh has been a member of the Board of Commonwealth games Scotland and Sport Scotland and is an advisor to Olympic Solidarity, the education commission of the Olympic Committee on their management education programmes.

Martin Veale JP

Martin is an Independent Member at Velindre NHS Trust, a trustee of Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, a governor at Coleg Gwent, and a governor at his daughter's primary school. He also serves on the audit committees at Pembrokeshire County Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Bristol Community Health. A serving magistrate, Martin sits on the Mid Wales bench.  Martin attended Ebbw Vale Grammar School, and holds a BA from East London and an MSc from Birmingham City universities. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and has the Institute of Internal Auditors' Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership. His finance, risk and corporate governance career covered local government, the NHS and Welsh Government, before he joined Forestry Commission Wales as Director of Finance, and became Head of Audit and Risk on the formation of Natural Resources Wales.   Martin grew up in Ebbw Vale and now lives in Pontypridd with his wife and daughter. He is a supporter of Ebbw Vale rugby and Glamorgan cricket.

Phil Tilley

Phil has recently retired following a 25 year career in global high tech marketing. He has experience of leading global marketing teams and industry forums representing Nokia communications cloud strategy and solutions. He has been a lifelong sailor and is currently chair of selectors for UK youth racing as well as a committee member on the RYA participation and membership committee. Recently appointed a trustee for AllAfloat Wales, a new charity set up by RYA Cymru Wales to help make the sport available to anyone close to the water. He previously held positions on the UK youth racing committee and RYA Cymru Wales performance committee.  He went to college at the University college of North Wales in Bangor and has lived in Wales ever since. Now married with three daughters and living in Monmouthshire. As an active triathlete you will frequently see him, cycling running or swimming and enjoying the Welsh countryside.

Board papers

Copies of the agenda and minutes from the latest Sport Wales Board meetings are available to view.