(Clockwise from top left: Joe Steel, Head of Brand and Fan Engagement, The Hundred; Lauren Crozier, Head of Female Participation; Claire Gooch, Head of Facilities Investment; Claire Taylor, Video Producer; Sangy Theivendra, City Programmes Executive; Anna Warren, Head of England Women Science and Medicine).
Head of Female Participation
Cricket has this amazing potential to be a game for all. I can clearly see the challenges, but we are not at a standing start in addressing them. It’s been great to work with so many people in the business who are behind the ambition to transform the women’s and girls’ game.
In my role as Head of Female Participation, no two days have been the same. I’m at Lord’s at least a couple of days a week, and I’m out trying to meet different people from the game at club visits and with regional teams. I’m also constantly on the lookout where we can learn from other industries.
For me, the Transforming Women’s & Girls’ Action Plan is my bible. Changing perceptions, building an inclusive club network and getting our cricket offers right. It’s spot on and it makes it absolutely clear what we need to deliver.
My best ECB moment so far was the Recreational Assembly. As I was only three months in, it was quite nerve-wracking but a good way to introduce myself. I spoke about how I saw the transformation to come from someone with a fresh perspective. It was great to hear positive feedback and excitement for the plan – reaffirming that we are moving in the right direction for the game.
By 2024, I want to see cricket completely normalised for women and girls. So when you ask a young girl in the playground if they think they can play cricket they respond with the same certainty that boys do. My role, leading the charge for female participation shouldn’t ultimately exist. We need to get to 50:50.
Head of Facilities Investment
I got into cricket because I used to watch my late dad play for the police when I was little, and the statistical side of the game always appealed to me.
I’m a chartered public finance accountant and I was working for the Audit Commission when a former colleague head-hunted me and said there was a dream job for me. It was a Project Accountant position for the recreational game (mainly supporting the Facilities department), and that was ten years ago.
I started my current role in August 2019 when I came back from maternity leave. I’d had two years off in less than three years and when I returned, I was promoted. That’s a sign of how the world is changing because there are places where that definitely wouldn’t have happened not so long ago to someone returning from maternity leave.
Facilities is everything underpinning the infrastructure of cricket; from stands and pavilions to wi-fi, rollers and Sky TV installation. The recreational game has always had a formal facilities investment programme but over the past year or so we’ve broadened that scope out into the professional game too. Last year we introduced a new online application system for both professional and recreational clubs alongside launching emergency programmes. The funding application process has always been paper-based and I’m really excited about the switch to digital, it’s revolutionised how we do things already, and over the remainder of our strategy cycle it is going to help the 18 First Class venues to reach the new standards set by the ECB – including family-friendly toilets and baby changing facilities, and support them to plan their long-term facility investment strategy.
We’re working closely with the women’s and girls’ strategy. We found on an audit of our c.5,000 recreational clubs a few years ago that only c.850 had a women’s and/or girls’ section, but that’s increasing already thanks to our strategy and at the last count was just over 1,200 clubs. We enlisted specialist architects, Seven, to work on a specialist guide to inclusive design with us (Creating Welcoming Environments), as we take into account that women want different facilities; things like segregated showers and mirrors – rather than just assuming they’ll just have the same facilities as the men. Cricket is definitely increasing the number of female players, but just imagine if we were inventing the game and building its facilities from scratch – there might be a 50:50 gender balance.
Head of Brand and Fan Engagement
Before joining the ECB, I worked for Bradford Council as a Sport Development Officer, working with volunteers, coaches, schools and partners to put on programmes for children and young people across the West Yorkshire region. I’ve now been with the ECB for ten years and during that time I have had five different roles across Participation and Growth and Commercial.
My current role as Head of Brand and Fan Engagement is responsible for three specific areas: managing all brand output across The Hundred; the development of eight bespoke local marketing plans to engage communities and partners; and to ensure that we have an integrated campaign plan across Marketing, Digital and Communications for The Hundred.
There have been a number of highlights during my time here, including being part of the team that developed the All Stars Cricket brand and marketing campaign, I still feel exceptionally proud when I am in a random location and see a family with the kit! The work we did with the England Men’s team and the Express Yourself campaign ahead of the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup was another fantastic project to be involved in. The players loved it and it was a creative campaign that was revolutionary for the Commercial department at the time.
I feel really proud still to be here after ten years and the journey I’ve been on since starting as a School Competition Executive and working my way up to Head of Brand and Fan Engagement. It has been hard work but something I have enjoyed every single day. The ECB are excellent at supporting progression, both in terms of moving within the organisation but also the ambition to invest in people who want to develop themselves.
I am incredibly proud of my team – they are all such hard-working people who approach their work with a fantastic attitude. I am massively excited for The Hundred!
My background is all things sports. I began my career as a Junior Producer at Red Bull Media House based at their headquarters in Salzburg, Austria. From there I moved to the sports production company Sunset + Vine where I was introduced to this alien sport called cricket! I soon realised how wonderful and inclusive it is and quickly fell in love with the sport. Having missed out on playing cricket as a girl, I now have a burning motivation to make sure I do my part to show more children why it’s worth picking up a bat and ball. From there, I came to the ECB and the rest is history…
I lead on all things video at the ECB as part of the Digital team. We work with an excellent team of creatives at various production agencies to bring to life compelling and inspiring stories of the people and teams that make our sport so incredible.
There are so many things I’m proud of since joining ECB, but a real highlight has been working towards changing the landscape of the game and encouraging people of all backgrounds and abilities to see themselves in the sport we love and know that the game is for them. I’m also so proud to be part of such a hardworking Digital team, where each individual gives 100% of their effort and passion into everything they do.
The people at the ECB really make the organisation. Every individual has their own role and motive to shape our sport for the better and every individual gives everything they’ve got to do that. It is so motivating to be part of this charge and to work collaboratively with these incredible people, teams and departments.
City Programmes Executive
Prior to joining the ECB I ran my own business and volunteered at my local cricket club, setting and heading up the women and girls section.
As a passionate fan with ambition to make the game more accessible for women, I knew joining the organisation responsible for cricket across England and Wales was a great opportunity to bring my experiences to the table.
I have a fun and exciting role where no two days are the same! My main focus is to engage South Asian females into volunteering and the game in general, and I feel particularly proud to say we have introduced almost 600 new South Asian females to the cricket community.
I’ve also been working on inclusion in the talent pathway for the England Women’s squad as well as building relationships with community partners, county boards, clubs and schools expanding grassroots cricket. I’m hugely passionate about growing the number of women involved in the game and being part of meaningful change to the cricket community and wider society has been an incredible feeling.
Since joining the ECB there have been plenty of money can’t buy experiences, including having a photo with the England Men’s team the day after they won the ICC 2019 World Cup and attending the live team draft for The Hundred, the first ever sporting bid on UK television!
I love that the ECB acknowledges and respects that individuals have lives and commitments outside of work. As a mum of two young children, I was daunted at the thought of coming back to a corporate role full time, however with the support of my manager, team and the company wide ethic, this has worked out perfectly for both me and my family and I really enjoy my job. I’m proud to be part of a business that’s making strides in sport to be truly inclusive for everyone and puts its people at the heart of everything – it really does feel like one big family.
Head of England Women Science and Medicine
Before cricket, I worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS for ten years. It was a great way to learn the trade and I loved it, seeing all kinds of patients and working as a massive team. I was also volunteering a lot during evenings and weekends in amateur sport – triathlon and rowing – a typical journey into elite sport for many in my profession.
Physio is quite tough at the start, you have to put in the yards, often in your own time to get the experience. That’s not unique to women, it’s a competitive area to be involved in.
It was a big leap of faith for me six years ago to apply for the internship at the ECB – I had never worked in cricket before and I was giving up an established career. I was just excited by the opportunity.
The internship working at the ECB Performance Centre in Loughborough was an amazing, very positive experience. Moving out of my comfort zone was just what I needed. It is having good people around you, male or female, which I think has been key throughout my career.
Now, as England Women’s Medical Services Lead, my job is very varied, coordinating a team of doctors and physios. I make sure we as a team are communicating properly and ultimately delivering really good care to the players.
I look after England Women’s academy and tour with them, so I might be overseas once or twice in winter. I also support any significant rehabs for the England Women’s team. An exciting new part of my job is to support the new domestic regional structure and The Hundred – Women’s Competition. There will be a new team of physios and doctors to support and planning is well under way for that.