The Speakers

Example speakers of the 2020 event

About our guest speakers

active-net invites a range of guest speakers to every event to discuss and comment upon a central theme. We are yet to confirm our participants for Scotland and NI in 2021 but 2020’s theme was ‘Gen Z’. We had arranged a number of speakers including CIMSPA’s Youth Panel, a blogger/influencer and several industry experts. Read on to learn more about each of the speakers who would have attended our National Event this year.

Joseph Bleetman

Joseph, 19, is using his ability to speak in public to motivate, come up with ideas and be a leading figure for young people.

He believes in using fitness, sports coaching, creativity and meditation as therapy for people of all ages. However, he is mostly motivated to help youngsters who are going through similar struggles that he went through.

In terms of work – he is working on a project to help young people through fitness and creativity – to be called the Advocacy House. He is also on the youth panel for CIMSPA and has more public speaking opportunities coming up for him to share his ideas and ambitions for the future.

He would like to make this world a better place by improving the education of youngsters and to provide more systems of support for the youth.

Jack Colghan

Jack is currently a Health and Fitness Advisor at the award-winning central YMCA club in London. Jack started out as an apprentice in June 2018 and has since moved forward to a permanent role at the club. Jack also represents the CIMSPA Youth Panel and is youngest member of the panel. Jack started this journey with the youth panel upon its formation in November 2018.

Simultaneously he plays Semi-Professional football at Oxhey Jets F.C after being dismissed from QPR’s footballing academy due to a severe injury. His passion for sports means that he has a lot of history within the playing field of both individual and team sports such as: representing London for both Irish sports, hurling and Gaelic football, representing London in the 200m sprint and the same level for Volleyball.

Fraser Ford

Fraser has worked for the Saints Foundation since 2015 occupying numerous roles. Having volunteered for the charity, initially whilst studying on the BA Sports Coaching and Development course at Solent University, Fraser was then offered part time work with the charity alongside his degree where he worked across numerous projects including youth inclusion projects, disability projects and working with the elderly. Fraser joined the Saints Foundation full time as a Community Engagement Worker in August 2019, just prior to finishing his Master’s Degree, hoping to fulfil his ambition of helping change lives through the power of sport.

Fraser has been a CIMSPA Youth Panel member since November 2018. Having picked up the CIMSPA Prize for Contribution to Community Sport Development Initiatives in July 2018, being part of the Youth Panel was seen as a good step to develop his relationship with CIMSPA and continue to develop as an industry practitioner.

Atanas Nikolaev

Atanas is a research professional currently overseeing the research programme and activities for the Lee Valley Leisure Trust Limited. The purpose of his role is to provide proactive information and data service and contribute to the process of insight- led decision making. With a focus on market research, insight and database management, he ensures that the senior leadership team is informed and can make critical decisions based on up-to-date, rigorous data and insight. Including this, Atanas is one of the 14 individuals that were selected to form the inaugural CIMSPA Youth Panel. A Sports Management graduate from Bournemouth University, Atanas has been involved in national and international sports projects and has presented research and insight in both academia and industry.

A former semi-professional football player, he is a qualified level 3 personal trainer that enjoys playing football on a weekly basis, as well as taking part in various fitness challenges and competitions.

Shai Neiger

Shai Neiger is co-founder and CEO at CoachAi, the first company to use artificial intelligence and behavioural science to increase health club retention and profitability.  By addressing the underlying cause of low retention—the difficulty members face in exercising regularly—Shai and his team at CoachAi have helped leisure centres across the world increase monthly revenues by as much as 35.5%.

Before starting CoachAi in 2016, Shai worked at IBM as part of the team responsible for Project Debater, an AI system capable of debating humans on complex topics.

Shai is immensely passionate about behaviour change.  He views exercise, wellness and healthy habits as preventive healthcare and believes they are the keys to improving public health.

Fab Giovanetti

Fab Giovanetti is a writer, published author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional sloth-lover.

For over 8 years, she has helped people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.

As an award-winning marketer with over 10 years of experience, she also works as a consultant running workshops, guest-lecturing both online and at colleges and supporting fellow brands and creatives making a positive impact in the world.

Phil Akilade

Phil helps entrepreneurs who want to grow bigger businesses harness the Exponential Growth Opportunities provided by the Digital Tsunami.

Just like the introduction of electricity more than 100 years ago, history proves that the key to surviving and thriving during such profound technological change is for business leaders to be able to transform the way they think about growth.

Over the last 30 years he has built 6 businesses from scratch, sold 4 of them, closed one and experienced the pain of a significant business loss with the other.

He understands both the pleasure and pain of being an entrepreneur.

He has led fast growing UK & US digital start-ups like Dyn (purchased by Oracle for $600 million in 2016), business development teams for big tech companies like IBM and Compuware. He has also led the performance transformation of large people-based business units for British Airways and Datamonitor.

So growing businesses by leveraging the best of digital and the best of people is in his blood.

Marcus Willis

Marcus Willis was born and raised in Wokingham, United Kingdom. He started playing tennis at 9 years old after developing his hand eye co-ordination from playing badminton. Marcus gained his first ATP points at the age of just 16, at the Barnstaple Challenger, and reached the junior world ranking high of 14, as well as being the number 1 U.K. junior. Marcus has reached an ATP world ranking of 321 singles and 209 doubles.

During the summer of 2016, Marcus took Wimbledon by storm. With a world ranking of 772, he won three Wimbledon pre-qualifying matches, followed by three tense qualifying matches defeating  Yuchi Sugita, Andrey Rublev, and Daniil Medvedev. Marcus secured a first round Wimbledon Main Draw win in three straight sets against Ričardas Berankis, a player ranked over 700 places above him. This set up the infamous clash with the seven-time champion Roger Federer, where Marcus received a standing ovation despite his loss. Marcus won the BBC Shot of the Tournament for lobbing Federer!

Federer praised Marcus for his “unbelievable energy” both on court and with fans and described his personality as “refreshing.” He described Marcus “a pleasure to play against.”

Marcus then returned to Wimbledon in 2017, causing another surprise in the doubles by defeating the defending doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Hebert in the second round.

Marcus has enjoyed playing World Team Tennis for New York Empire and the San Diego Aviators, and his charisma and team spirit has never gone unnoticed.

Where will this be held?

Click here to see the venue information