Guest Speakers

A range of guest speakers are invited to every event to discuss and comment upon a central theme. Below are the speakers who attended our 2022 event.

About our speakers

Our guest speakers are invited to our panels to discuss and comment on a central theme.

Our speakers are senior members of our sector and come from a variety of industry areas. Our panel sessions also give delegates the opportunity to gain continuous professional development points.

The theme for our 2022 event was based on communities in a post pandemic world. The theme for the next event will be revealed soon.

Event Details:

Name: active-net National
Date: 29th & 30th March 2023
Location: Eastwood Hall, Nottingham - view more info

active-net National is a 2 day event for the fitness, health & leisure industry bringing together buyers and suppliers for focused one to one meetings like no other. Please register below:

Lindsey Simpson
Co-founder Workplace Mental Health

With a diverse career in communications, Lindsey brings a wide range of perspectives to her work including culture change, internal communications and engagement, PR, sports coaching, teaching, NLP, hypnotherapy and workplace mental health. She has worked for many of the biggest names in the sector and external organisations such as TfL and National Express. Her approach is behaviourally driven, from research through to strategy, delivery and evaluation.

Lindsey is the co-founder of Workplace Mental Wealth that has an ambition to normalise conversations and drive positive action around mental health for everyone working in fitness & active leisure, and The Good Work Pledge. She is the lead researcher on an annual original piece of UK-wide sector research on workforce mental health.

Warren Smyth
CEO Abbeycroft Leisure

Warren is the CEO of Abbeycroft  Leisure, a Registered Charity focused on creating healthy active communities.

Warren oversees the management of a diverse portfolio of facilities and services including traditional leisure centres, community use facilities and a health and wellbeing facility, alongside an Active Communities, Outdoor Pursuits and health and wellbeing service . Abbeycroft manages 16 facilities in 10 different communities and delivers a wide range of programmes and initiatives, generating in excess of £6 million of social value to the community each year.

Katie Lewis
State of the Mind Survey

Katie Lewis has been a part of the leisure sector for more than 25 years, starting out in club operations before moving into communications. She is now also playing an active role in driving forwards the workforce mental wellbeing agenda.

Two years ago, whilst struggling with pandemic induced social isolation herself, Katie’s interest in the impact poor mental health can have on all aspects of life started to grow. To enhance her understanding, Katie became a Mental Health First Aider through Mental Health England and went on to qualify as a Level 1-3, First Aid For Mental Health instructor.  She also started to wonder how her industry friends and colleagues were coping with the effects of the pandemic and began to look for information relating to the mental health of the workforce. Her exploration drew a blank. Katie decided something needed to be done to correct this.

Katie linked up with Lindsey Simpson a communications and cultural change expert  who works largely outside of the sector. Together they established Workplace Mental Wealth Ltd and set about creating the first ever State of Mind Survey for individuals and employers working in Fitness & Active Leisure. The pair also launched The Good Work Pledge to unit and support employers who are committed to driving forward with their employee mental health agenda.

The inaugural State Of Mind Survey launched last year. The results of the follow up survey will be announced at active-net 2022.

Huw Edwards
CEO ukactive

Huw is the CEO of ukactive, the not-for-profit health body with a mission to get More People, More Active, More Often. He took the role in July 2019 following three years as Director of the Public Affairs, Communications and Research Department. During his ukactive career, Huw has played a key role in shaping ukactive’s strategy and business plan as well as leading the organisation’s engagement with government and wider stakeholders.

Previously, Huw was the Public Affairs lead at British Tennis, working across both the Lawn Tennis Association and The Tennis Foundation. He has also worked for both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Olympic Delivery Authority during the delivery of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Peter Croft
CSO Perfect Gym

Peter Croft is known for digital transformation coaching, creating and delivering commercial growth through insight and trend analysis, business strategy development and digital innovation.

An experienced C suite senior leader in the fitness, wellness and healthcare markets, Peter is a regular speaker at global industry events.

During his career, Peter has spent almost a decade operating health clubs for chains now owned by the likes of Nuffield, Virgin and David Lloyd Leisure, ten years running the global account division for Life Fitness and a similar length of time in the digital health sector with his current role as Chief Strategy Officer for Perfect Gym.

Jenny Patrickson
Active iQ

Jenny has over 25 years of experience within the active leisure sector, leading the development of specialist health and fitness related awarding organisations to achieve year-on-year growth and excellence in service provision. Whilst developing an in-depth understanding of regulatory frameworks and their requirements, Jenny has been responsible for strategic planning, business development and business process improvement. With a BA (Hons) in Adult Education, and having also worked within the training provider environment, Jenny has a clear understanding of the need for creative and flexible awarding organisation provision, in line with Active IQ’s values.

Tara Dillon

Tara Dillon was appointed as CEO of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity in January 2015.

Tara began her career in Sport and Physical Activity as a lifeguard in her local centre back in 1987, whilst studying. Having gained hands on experience within local authority leisure, various management positions followed until in March 2001, she was appointed as Contracts Manager at DC Leisure Management.

After 6 years with DCLM, Tara accepted the role of Executive Director of IQL-UK Ltd where she remained until her CIMSPA appointment.

Tara has a passion for the Sport and Physical Activity sector which drives her to constantly aim for improvements across the industry. Tara is at the forefront of CIMSPA’s work, delivering initiatives that professionalise the workforce and enhance the career prospects of those working in sport, leisure and fitness.

Phil Rumbelow
Chair - Community Leisure UK

Phil has over 35 years management experience in the leisure sector, including running sports, fitness and hospitality venues in continental Europe and the UK. Until May 2021, he was the CEO at Jubilee Hall Trust, a multi-award-winning charity operating four leisure centres in central London. He was also a non-executive Director at ukactive for five years and chaired their Membership Council.

In November 2021, Phil was elected as Chair of CLUK, which represents 113 non-profit distributing trusts who between them run 4000 sports and cultural facilities, with a combined turnover in excess of £2billion.

Phil is a Chartered Fellow of CIMSPA and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors.