Mike Hamilton is the Chief Executive of British Orienteering. This exciting and challenging outdoor sport is growing as the sport continues to respond to fresh challenges. Mike has been a lever for leading this change making sure that the 25,000 people who challenge themselves physically and mentally by orienteering at least six times a year in 2016 find this ‘go to’ outdoor sport fulfilling.
This level of activity is impressive on any scale, but even more so when you factor in that British Orienteering has only 11,000 members. Part of this growth is down to Mike making sure the sport is modernising. One way they have done this is by increasing local, urban orienteering to fit more easily into the lives of runners and walkers of all ages who want to test themselves. Change doesn’t come easy and British Orienteering, like many sports, has longstanding participants who want the sport to ‘remain the same’ combined with new participants with views of a modern outdoor adventure sport. The organisation has also worked hard to improve their decision making to help strike the balance between the differing aims of members and participants and has moved from a ‘Council of 25’ to a more traditional board of directors.
Mike has been involved in sport throughout his life as a participant, performer, volunteer and professional and has been Chief Executive at British Orienteering since January 2006. Sport has been and continues to be his way of life and he started his career as a PE teacher after studying at Loughborough University. He also played cricket and hockey and moved into coaching hockey at all levels from beginners to Olympic squads.
He counts himself very fortunate to have been so readily accepted as Chief Executive in a small sport, and one in which he had not been an active participant’. He has found this both challenging and enjoyable at the same time. British Orienteering turned 50 years old this year, and it is exciting to see how it will continue to grow and continue developing with the times under his continued leadership
“It is a great honour to be recognised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance for my work at British Orienteering. During the time, I’ve worked within the sport, the role of the Alliance has changed considerably. I believe the Alliance has grown in importance as an independent organisation providing leadership and support within the sport sector. Therefore, receiving the Emeritus Award, I feel, is one of the highest tributes and recognitions I could receive. Thank you
Jenny Fromer has been the joint-CEO at BaseballSoftball UK (BSUK) from 2005 until just recently. A softballer and all-around sports enthusiast, she fell almost accidently into a role working with the sports she loved – baseball and softball.
Jenny was studying and working in the United States and hadn’t ever thought about working in sport. She had worked previously in film, cinema management and in special needs housing, but when she returned to the UK in the late 90’s, she applied for a temporary role with Major League Baseball. She applied because she is a huge fan of sport and the role soon developed into a permanent position – which meant she was involved with setting up BSUK in 2000.
She is known in the industry as a huge advocate for equitable and progressive leadership, proudly advocating for open and fair sports governance and vocally critiquing entrenched, regressive sporting practices. Because of this she is well respected and often contributes to the shaping of the sector’s approach to inclusion, safeguarding and overall good governance practices.
BSUK has transformed under her leadership and is now a well-respected sports body and often held up as a model of good governance and practice. For example, BSUK has consistently been awarded green lights and praise from Sport England and has earned high marks for their work with the Child Protection in Sport Unit and for their Equality and Diversity work.
This has meant that BSUK has been able to secure significant public funding, more than doubling the size of the sports, building a premier baseball and softball sports complex and raising the profile of both sports through high quality events. These have included things like bringing in Major League Baseball and USA Softball players to take part in youth participation festivals, country-wide softball tournaments and a special Softball v Rounders challenge game to showcase the highest female bat and- ball skills and demonstrate the commonality between the two sports.
Jenny may have stepped down as joint-CEO at BSUK, but she has not left the sports. She has returned to her ‘volunteer’ roots and has taken on the role of President for the British Softball Federation, and will continue to contribute to BSUK as a Board member and active supporter.
“In my years of working in sport I have met so many dedicated and exceptional people that it is humbling to be singled out for this award. I am honoured to receive the Emeritus Award, and grateful that I had the opportunity to contribute to the sports that I love.”