Meet the Steering Group
Together with the Lions, we’ve launched a study to consider whether a Women's Lions team could be established. Ieaun Evans MBE, British & Irish Lion, will lead the Steering Group.
The primary responsibility of the newly formed group will be to initiate, oversee and contribute towards a Feasibility Study which will seek to ascertain whether a Women’s Lions team could be formed. Royal London is funding the study and will provide guidance and expertise to the Steering Group.
Small photos of each member of the steering group inside of small circles over two rows.
Top row from left to right:
- Ieuan Evans MBE (Chair); The British & Irish Lions Board and British & Irish Lion
- Ben Calveley; Managing Director, The British & Irish Lions
- Susie Logan; Group Chief Marketing Officer, Royal London
- Joanna Manning-Cooper; Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Sky
- Max Taylor; Consumer Director, Vodafone
- Simon Rowe; Head of Global Sports Marketing, Canterbury
- Sue Day MBE; RFU Chief Operating & Financial Officer, RFU Board
Bottom row from left to right:
- Anthony Eddy; Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby, IRFU
- Gemma Fay; Head of Girls and Women's Strategy, Scottish Rugby
- Hannah John; Women's High-Performance Lead (Acting), WRU
- Nicky Ponsford; Women's High-Perfomance Manager, World Rugby
- Shaunagh Brown; English Rugby International
- Niamh Briggs; Irish Rugby International
Ieuan Evans MBE (CHAIR) The British & Irish Lions Board Member and British & Irish Lion
Ieuan Evans, MBE is a former Welsh rugby international who captained his country on 28 occasions, including to the Five Nations title in 1994. Ieuan toured with The British & Irish Lions in 1989 where he scored the decisive Series-winning try in the 3rd Test against Australia. He toured with the Lions again in 1993 and 1997. Ieuan played his senior club rugby for Llanelli before joining Bath for his final season where he was part of the team that won the Heineken Cup in 1998. In 2014 he was introduced to the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Since retiring from rugby Ieuan has worked as a broadcaster and TV pundit, has held non-executive and ambassadorial positions for a number of companies and has been a board member of the Welsh Tourist Board, VisitBritain, 2010 Ryder Cup, Nominet Wales Advisory Group and a World Rugby Council Member. In 2020 Ieuan was voted in as a WRU Board Member and now sits on The British & Irish Lions Board.
Ben Calveley - The British & Irish Lions
Ben Calveley has been Managing Director of The British & Irish Lions since November 2018 after serving 7 months as acting CEO of Six Nations Rugby and the Lions on secondment from the RFU. Prior to joining the Lions, Ben worked as Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs for the RFU from June 2011 working on corporate strategy, policy, public affairs, international relations, project and risk management, fundraising and events.
He also worked for UK Sport from 2007 where he led a team advising all Olympic and Paralympic sports on how to increase their influence within the International Federations to which they affiliate. Ben joined UK Sport from PMP, the sports consultancy, where he led the Football division and managed complex domestic and international sport projects involving multi-disciplinary teams including advising on how to develop grass root and elite sporting systems in a number of international markets.
Ben began professional life working in Merger and Acquisitions with Arthur Andersen and holds an MBA.
Susie Logan - Royal London Group
Susie joined Royal London in March 2020 and was appointed on to our Group Executive Committee as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in January 2021. Susie leads over 150 brand and marketing professionals, taking responsibility for brand and sponsorship, communications, policy and external affairs and commercial marketing. She has over 20 years’ experience in brand and marketing within the financial services sector where has always been a passionate advocate of Diversity and Inclusion. Outside of work Susie has a keen interest in sport and the benefits it offers to both individuals and society.
Joanna Manning-Cooper - Sky
Joanna Manning-Cooper was appointed to the role of Group Director of Corporate Affairs in 2019. Joanna leads Sky’s Corporate Communications, Internal Communications and Events activity, and also has responsibility for the Bigger Picture – Sky’s social impact and responsible business programme and purpose campaigns.
Prior to joining Sky, Joanna was Director of Marketing, Communications and Digital for the Rugby Football Union. She has over 25 years of experience in communications, corporate affairs and marketing roles, in media, sport and finance, including senior leadership roles with Rugby World Cup 2015, the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and the Financial Times. She was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to Sport.
Max Taylor - Vodafone
As Consumer Director, Max is responsible for the marketing, brand, digital transformation, sales and commercial operations of Vodafone UK’s consumer business. He sponsors the Vodafone LGBT+ Friends Network – Vodafone’s employee network to support colleagues, customers, communities and partners on LGBT+ matters. He has also been instrumental in putting digital inclusion at the heart of the Vodafone business and is passionate about ensuring everyone in the UK can enjoy the benefits of a digital society. This includes a commitment to connect one million people by the end of 2022.
Before joining Vodafone UK in March 2019, Max held leadership positions in several other national and international telecoms companies, including Orange, MCI Worldcom and EE. Most recently at EE he was on the board and responsible for brand, commercial, marketing and digital.
Simon Rowe - Canterbury
Simon Rowe is Head of Sports Marketing at Pentland Brands, where he leads the sponsorship strategy and delivery for Canterbury of New Zealand and Mitre, partnering with international sporting governing bodies and teams such as the FA, Irish Rugby and the British & Irish Lions.
With a background in international sports marketing and working with world-renowned athletes, Simon built his experience at the Welsh Rugby Union before joining Pentland Brands in 2016. His mission at Pentland Brands is to ensure that the activity of sponsored teams and athletes aligns with the brands’ overall strategies, believing wholeheartedly in the responsibility of sports brands to encourage people to live active, healthy lifestyles.
Sue Day MBE - Rugby Football Union
Sue is Chief Operating & Financial Officer of the RFU, leading the Business Operations team which includes finance, legal and governance, technology, people, strategy and Twickenham Stadium operations.
She is also a former England and Wasps captain, past president of Wasps FC and Oxford University rugby Blue. She played for Wasps for 14 years and was capped 59 times for England, scoring 61 tries and winning three Grand Slams. She also captained the England Sevens team and coached the developmental team and has been a trustee of the Women’s Sport Trust since 2013.
Anthony Eddy - Irish Rugby Football Union
Anthony is the IRFU Director of Sevens & Women's Rugby, a position he has held with significant success since 2014. Head Coach to the Ireland Men's Sevens, Anthony guided the team to HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualification in 2019 and most recently oversaw a historic first qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He also holds overall responsibility for the Ireland’s Women’s Programme, which incorporates the Sevens and XVs programmes.
Anthony has also held positions with Australian Rugby Unions High Performance Department as National Programs Manager and the General Manager of Rugby Sevens. He also has an extensive coaching background with the University of Sydney, Australian U21s and U20s and was also an assistant coach at the ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds in Super Rugby.
Gemma Fay - Scottish Rugby
Gemma Fay is a former international footballer and Scottish Captain, having played at the top level for 19 years. She is the highest capped player in the UK with 203 caps and proudly lead Scotland women to their first major championship at Euro 2017. During Gemma's club career she represented Stjarnan, Celtic, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United and Hibernian.
Gemma joined Scottish Rugby in 2017 and is the Head of Womens & Girls’ Strategy. She is also a current member of the Scottish Government’s Women & Girls in Sport Advisory Board. Gemma was a recipient of a World Rugby Leadership Scholarship for 2019/2020. Gemma also works as a television sports broadcaster, an actor for BBC and Sky programmes, an athlete mentor and keynote speaker. Prior to Scottish Rugby Gemma worked with Sportscotland (National Agency for Sport) for 15 years across a variety of partnerships, supporting board and governance development, strategic planning and succession pathways, and development of performance pathways.
Hannah John - Welsh Rugby Union
Hannah has a strong background in high performance sport. As a former international for Hockey Wales Hannah progressed into leadership roles where she oversaw talent development and performance programmes. Most recently Hannah has worked with the Welsh Rugby Union as Women’s Team Manager whilst also leading the high-performance programme on an interim basis. During this time, she has contributed to a rise in world rankings and qualification for major games. With experience at World Cups, Six Nations, Commonwealth Games and World Series Hannah will bring a wealth of experience to the group, particularly around player welfare and high-performance operations.
Nicky Ponsford - World Rugby
Nicky has recently started a new role with World Rugby as Women’s High Performance Manager with a remit to increase the competitiveness of the Women’s international game and a focus on 15’s rugby. Nicky moved across to World Rugby from her previous role as Head of Women’s Performance at the RFU where she had been for the past 19 years taking the Red Roses to a Rugby World Cup win in 2014, reaching four RWC finals and ranking number one in the world.
Nicky led on setting the strategic direction of the Women’s game, instigating the new Women’s Domestic Competition and the delivering the player pathway. Nicky brings with her wide sporting experience, as a player gaining 50 caps for England in rugby and representing Great Britain in sailing.
Shaunagh Brown - England Rugby International
Shaunagh Brown is a current Harlequins Women's player and England international having made her international debut in November 2017 against Canada.
After working as a gas engineer, commercial driver and firefighter, Shaunagh was awarded a full-time professional rugby contract at the age of 28, having already competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Hammer Throw.
She played every game in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Women’s Six Nations and won the Grand Slam in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Niamh Briggs - Ireland Rugby International
Niamh Briggs is an Ireland rugby international. She represented Ireland at the 2010 and 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup and was part of the team that reached the Women's Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals four years later. Niamh was captain of the Ireland teams that won the 2013 and the 2015 Women's Six Nations Championships. Niamh played for Clonmel before joining UL Bohemians, where she is now also the club coach. She represented Munster, winning five Inter-Provincial titles and was named captain in 2015. Niamh has played for the Ireland Women's Sevens team and played senior ladies' Gaelic football for Waterford. She was the Ireland Women's Rugby Player of the Year in 2013 and again in 2014 when she was also a World Player of the year nominee. Niamh is a Community Garda Síochána (Police) Officer based in Limerick.