The three new Non-Executive Directors are Colin Allen, Kenny Bello and Heather Smith, while Phoebe Schecter takes up the role of Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
Colin, Kenny and Heather will join existing board members Richard Watson, Bruce Leatherman, Stephen Jones, Ian Deakin and BAFA Chair Nichole McCulloch, and will be responsible for the effective governance and financial management of British American football.
Kenny and Heather replace previously nominated board members appointed by the Board of Directors, while Colin will become an appointed director, subject to a vote by members at the upcoming BAFA EGM.
Nichole McCulloch, Chair of BAFA, said:
“We’re entering a period of great importance and opportunity for British American football and I’m thrilled that Colin, Kenny and Heather are joining the BAFA board to help develop our fantastic game.
“All three bring a wealth of relevant and valuable experience from within sport and will play a crucial role as we continue to drive positive growth and change within our organisation."
Colin Allen said:
"These are exciting times for American Football in the UK. I am delighted to join BAFA and help the organisation to release its vast potential to build something truly special for the sport. I look forward to getting started in the role and working with the rest of the team in the coming months."
Kenny Bello said:
“I am excited to be joining BAFA at such a pivotal time in the development of the sport here in the UK and internationally. The opportunity to give back using the skills, knowledge and experience I have gained over the past two decades is one I am relishing.
“I hope this will be a time of sizeable, quality growth for UK American football and all those involved with it. I especially look forward to working with the board and the great minds assembled on it.”
Heather Smith said:
“I am honoured to be joining BAFA as a Non-Executive Director. Having been involved in sport for a number of years it is brilliant to be able to use that experience to support an organisation at such a pivotal point in its development.
“There is something really exciting happening in American football in the UK and I am really looking forward to being part of that journey.”
Further information about the three new Non-Executive Directors can be found below.
Diversity & Inclusion Committee
In addition to the new Non-Executive Director appointments, Phoebe Schecter has been confirmed as BAFA’s new Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The committee will report to the Board of Directors and will cover a wide range of diversity issues, including gender, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic diversity.
Commenting on Phoebe Schecter’s appointment as Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Nichole McCulloch, Chair of BAFA, said:
“I can’t think of a better person to lead our new Diversity & Inclusion Committee than Phoebe. As an organisation with players at our core, we must ensure that anyone who wants to play our sport can – and has a positive experience. This committee, under Phoebe’s leadership, will be advising the board on appropriate policies and strategies to support this ambition.
“The committee will be made up of people from within and outside our sport to ensure that a range of different voices are heard.”
Phoebe Schecter said:
"I am thrilled to be heading up the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The potential to create opportunities for people and give support where needed is a challenge I am looking forward to taking on.
“My ultimate goal is to break down barriers and provide pathways so that everyone with a dream has a way of making it a reality."
Phoebe Schecter’s biography is also copied below.
Colin Allen has worked within the field of elite national athlete programme development for over 13 years. Colin started his career as an Athlete Investment Officer at UK Sport in 2006, before originally joining the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) in July 2010 as a Project Manager. He moved across to Northumbria University in June 2014, to work as part of their performance sport programme as a Talent Identification and Pathway Manger, before re-joining TASS in October 2015.
Colin is currently the National Lead for Operations and is responsible for overseeing both the strategic and day-to-day planning and coordination for the scheme. Another aspect of his role involves leading on programme and project work to support the development of National Governing Bodies’ England Talent Pathways and growing revenue streams by identifying and taking advantage of new opportunities.
Kenny Bello is founder and Managing Director of The UK Dukes – a company created to promote participation in American football all over the world. Often seen jet-setting as part of the popular social media venture, his day-to-day role includes leading a national school’s programme, working closely with several highly regarded charities, and supporting teams (domestic and internationally) to develop and improve.
Kenny has a breadth of experience in American football spanning 16 years. In this time, he has worked as a fully qualified teacher, broken a Guinness World Record and worked for NFL UK on Community and Grassroots Development, bringing unique insight and aptitude to the innovation of their programs. A USA Football Master Trainer and Flag Development Officer for British American Football Coaches Association (BAFCA), Kenny has himself participated in both the flag and contact disciplines of the sport to the highest level, representing Team GB as a player and most recently, as a coach on the contact Women’s GB team.
Heather Smith has been at Women in Sport since 2015. Her current role as Associate Head of Innovation involves overseeing the development and management of new projects and relationships, as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability of the charity’s work through grant fundraising. Heather is a current member of the Sport for Development Coalition’s (SFDC) Board, representing a network of organisations committed to changing lives through the power of sport. She has been instrumental in writing the SFDC’s new four-year business plan and securing continuation funding for the organisation.
Before joining Women in Sport, Heather worked in the development team’s at British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League. She graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2007 with a degree in Sport Science and Heather was part of the Sport Industry Group’s NextGen Leaders in 2017. In 2016, Heather launched Half Backs, a fun and engaging rugby-themed activity business for young children ages two to six. She has since sold Half Backs but is still actively involved in rugby union, having retired from a 20-year playing career is now the current chair of Teddington Rugby Club’s women’s team.
Phoebe Schecter is the first British female and one of the first three females to hold a season long internship with an NFL team. Phoebe was with the Buffalo Bills for the 2018 season and previous two training camps. Prior to being named to the Bills Coaching Staff, Schecter interned at Stanford University, Bryant University and University of La Verne.
Phoebe is currently a coach for the GB U19s, a coach educator and Women’s Development Officer for the British American Football Coaches Association (BAFCA), and Athlete Representative for the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Representing Great Britain for the women’s contact American football team and serving as the Team Captain for the past six years, Phoebe’s passion for American football completely encompasses her life. A member of the GB women’s flag football team and England Kabaddi Captain, Phoebe has earned over 20 International caps among her sports.
Before American football, Phoebe studied Equine Business Management at Post University in the US before moving to the UK to work for the current coach of the Dutch Olympic Team in 3-Day Eventing managing his barns in the UK. Phoebe is also managing director of The UK Dukes, where she implements long term business strategies to develop and grow American football outside of the US. She is also a lecturer at University College of Birmingham in Coach Development and speaker for companies such as Visa, Women in Sport and UK Coaching.