Alumni support Talk Sport Conference across Loughborough and London campuses

People standing looking towards someone on a stage, speaking. There is a screen on the wall behind the stage with “Welcome to TalkSport 2024” on.

Professor Jo Maher on stage at Talk Sport

The University’s Talk Sport Conference, set to inspire students interested in a career in sport, took place in Loughborough on 1 February and at Loughborough University London on 8 February. The conference was supported by over 20 alumni across the two locations and more than 450 students attended.

The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sport, Professor Jo Maher, kicked off the conference in Loughborough with an opening speech, encouraging people to engage in everything on offer through the event. A Loughborough graduate, Jo has recently started her new role at the University. She moved to the University from her role as CEO of Loughborough College and prior to that she spent 10 years as a practising Sports Psychologist.

Following the opening, students had a range of options to choose from in each session and could also speak with sports industry employers who were holding careers stands.

Three alumni delivered sessions early in the schedule. Jack Tompkins, a Director and Producer, returned to campus to share insights into Sports Media, Simon Bayliff of Arete delivered a talk on Sports Agents, and Charlie Baxter, Women's Head Coach at Loughborough University and Loughborough Lightning Football, talked about Sports Coaching.

Alumna Anna Nelson, a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach at Table Tennis England gave a talk on S&C, whilst fellow alumna Laura Hillyard gave insights into Sports Events and Operations. Running in parallel was a session on AI in sport, led by alumna Harriet Eastham, and her colleague Chris Howe of

Alumnae duo Jen Mallings and Lucy Roach were representing Physical Education teaching, and alumna Helen Marney, Director of Development at British Triathlon, gave a talk on Sport Development and Careers.

A jam-packed day, these sessions brought the Loughborough conference to the half-way point.

The day took Talk Sport worldwide, with alumni joining online from India and China to deliver talks that would inspire students to learn about Sports Psychology, Working for an International Sports Federation, and Working in Sport in China with Keerthana Swaminathan, Sports Psychologist and President of Indian Sport Psychologists' Association, Rajwardhan Buttepatil, Media Manager and Board of Control for Cricket in India, and Fang Yuan, Head of Hyrox China at Infront Sports & Media AG, respectively.

Alumni Laura Myers and Jack Bishop, Lead Consultants at Two Circles, delivered a session on Data Driven Sports Consulting, and Adam Blaze, Chief Executive at Activity Alliance, talked about Physical Activity and Health. Fellow alumnus Thomas Barnden, Head of Sport Science at Southampton Football Club, gave a talk on Sports Science and Performance Support, and Matt Andrews, Digital Consultant and Senior Account Manager at IMG, gave a session on Sports Marketing.

There was a Women and Girls in Sport panel with a group of three alumnae sharing their insights and learnings from their careers so far. Wendy Sly MBE, Managing Director at Athletics Weekly, Frankie Kelly, Director of Sport and Performance at Commonwealth Games England, and Lynsey Douglas, Head of Client Strategy at Nielsen came together to create the panel, which is a regular feature of the conference.

To end the day, final year students had the chance to attend a networking session with some of the speakers from throughout the day, equipping them with further insights and one-to-one opportunities to gather CV feedback and career advice.

A week later, the conference took place in London, with a group of more than 20 new speakers contributing to the sessions, designed for postgraduates at Loughborough University London.  

Eight of the speakers were alumni, spanning a range of topics.

Four alumni, Olivia Eastwood-Gray, Commercial Partnerships Coordinator at the NFL, Komal Ghai, Digital Research Analyst at IMG, Shrey Nilvarna, Fan Engagement Manager at Lewes FC, and Lauren Heria, Founder of Equal Kicks, talked about Rising Stars in Sport.

A panel on The Unstoppable Rise in the Business of Women’s Sport followed, with alumnae Sue Anstiss MBE, CEO of Fearless Women, Ama Agbeze MBE, Ex-England Netball Captain and Broadcaster, and four other speakers sharing their insights.

Later in the day, students could hear about Sustainability in Sport from CSM Live assistant Project Manager, Cecile Flavin, who focuses on Formula E.

Alumni Hannibal Morris, Head of England Athlete Development Pathways at Sport England, and Cigdem Turkan, Academy Auditor – PGAAC at The Premier League, joined the Allyship in the Business of Sport panel.

More industry experts supported the conference across the two locations, representing organisations such as the NHS, London Marathon Events and Edgbaston Cricket.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the conference, supporting students who are interested in a career in sport.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you or your organisation might be able to support Talk Sport in the future, please get in touch.