22 Oct

A new independent membership body has been established to provide current and aspiring executives in the sports industry with professional support and development opportunities.

Founded and chaired by Tom Sears (who has led a number of sports organisations, including Cricket Kenya and English county cricket side Derbyshire) the managing director of London-based executive search specialists Kinsey Sears, the Professional Body of Sports Leadership (PBSL) claims to be the first organisation of its kind dedicated to supporting sports professionals.

It will provide senior executives, high performance specialists and non-executive directors within the industry with a range of services, including peer-to-peer support, coaching, seminars, workshops, education courses, networking, wellbeing guidance and legal advice.

Members will have access to a central platform where they can connect, share best practice, and access professional development and individual support.

“The PBSL offers a new dimension to individuals in the sports industry, providing informative content, personal guidance, education and development opportunities, innovative perspectives and diverse insights,” said Sears,

“In doing this, it will improve leadership and governance in the industry for the wider benefit of society, actively promoting diversity in all its forms, supporting individuals to develop professionally and safeguarding their mental health and wellbeing.”

Upon launch, a PBSL advisory board has been set up comprising senior executives from major sports properties, including Zarah Al-Kudcy, the head of commercial partnerships development at Formula One, Rugby League World Cup 2021 chair Chris Brindley, and Jon Massie, the global people director at SailGP.

In a release announcing the body’s launch, the PBSL said ‘a supportive and representative industry body is needed now more than ever’ due to ‘complex challenges’ brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

‘The PBSL will assist members to navigate these turbulent times and provide comprehensive support, helping them to evolve as confident, agile leaders and enhancing their skill sets,’ the statement added. ‘It will also create industry-wide dialogue and act as a voice, confronting issues and providing tangible solutions.’

As well as executives currently working in sport, the PBSL will also support industry newcomers, students, and those wishing to transition into an industry which employs more than 570,000 people in the UK alone.

“Not all sport was created equal and consequently, there is an inequality in support and opportunities for the people within it,” said Al-Kudcy. “The PBSL will help shape and provide a more formal structure to those looking for guidance.”

She added: “The PBSL is an objective, transparent and informed entity to aid an industry that is continually evolving, with an ever-increasing focus on people. Cross collaboration continues to drive change whether across sports, management levels or sectors and the PBSL wants to increase the frequency with which this happens.”

John Stephenson


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