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Meet the Board

Conrad Funnell
Chair

Conrad was elected to the board in July 2016. He currently plays hockey for a Welsh club and with the Welsh Masters, having been a passionate hockey player for over 30 years. As Conrad’s children started their own hockey journey, he turned his hand to coaching juniors at his local club and can often be found on Sunday mornings developing the next generation of hockey players.

Conrad has a wealth of experience of working in industry, management consultancy and now, at the most innovative and fastest growing enterprise software company in the world, he is an advisor to CXO level customers. He works on some of the most exciting transformation projects in the world where Conrad helps develop their strategic transformation plan and implementation journey; turning those dreams into reality.

Bill Riley
Elected Director - Member Engagement & Participation

Bill is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer currently heading up the engineering function at the UK’s largest, own label, cake bakery in Cardiff. He has extensive engineering and project management experience across many industry sectors including, Food and Drink, Semiconductor and Agrochemicals.

He is married to Louise and has 3 children, George who is studying at Nottingham Trent University and William and Maisie are at school in Cardiff. As a family they are all mad about hockey and as such are all involved in hockey in South Wales in one guise or other.

Being a level 1 coach, Bill has been involved in youth hockey at Gwent Hockey Club for many years and coached all age groups, from U9’s to U18’s. He managed both the South Wales U13 Dragons side and the U14 and U16 South Wales Regional squads. In addition to coaching hockey he is also a Level 1 umpire.

Having two children playing for different clubs in South Wales most of his spare time is spent ferrying them around and watching matches on both Saturday and Sunday. However, on that rare occasion when he does have some free time he enjoys playing golf, road cycling, mountain biking, gardening and when people are desperate and have reached the bottom of the barrel and need a body he still enjoys playing hockey.

Derrick Heaton-Rue
Elected Director - Member Engagement & Participation

Head of Projects for a global recruitment company; Derrick is responsible for change management and project delivery. With 20 years of Project Management experience centred around business processes and strategic change Derrick brings a wealth of knowledge to the board. He has gained experience in the both public sector (CRB) and through private companies, across a wide variety of markets.

Derrick has managed the Beavers at Northop Hall Junior Hockey Club from 2014 and as an active member of the committee has seen the club treble its player base in that time with success on the pitch increase year on year. Something Derrick is very proud of considering the team are regularly representing North Wales in National finals and they play a full calendar in the North-West England region.

As well as working with the Welsh Dragons U13’s, Derrick has also worked in the management team which supports North Wales Boys in their regional hockey, supporting quality hockey opportunities for players from u13 to u16 across North Wales 2015-Present.

Derrick also works with the Flintshire Phantoms Ice Hockey Club 2011-2014 of which he’s a member, running the club with the committee and developing a thriving Ice Hockey pathway for players from beginners to league teams. Derrick is also a Level 1 Coach and Level 1 Umpire with the WHU and uses these skills to support at club and regional level. He has a passion for developing opportunities for Juniors to experience high quality hockey and inspires them to improve and develop new skills.

Kate Williams
Elected Director 

Hockey is at Kate’s core. She has grown up within a hockey family and had a stick in her hand at the earliest opportunity.

This naturally progressed into taking on wider club volunteer roles and she is now the Chair of Carmarthen Athletic Hockey club, for whom she also coaches, umpires and still manages to play for occasionally! The club has grown significantly under her leadership with lots of family engagement, a strong identity, and a sense of belonging.

Having worked in sport development for over 20 years, creating & supporting sustainable sporting communities, she has a wealth of experience that brings a real understanding of the different challenges that hockey faces across Wales.

Kate will bring a fresh perspective to the board. She prioritises understanding the needs of the participant, whether that be player, coach, umpire, or volunteer.

Her ambition is to enable Hockey Wales to better support clubs to be environments where everybody feels welcome, where positive experiences are created, and the hockey family continues to grow.

Away from hockey, she also enjoys spending time with her family and three rescue dogs.

David Francis
Finance Director

David has a career spanning more than 20 years spent working for a number of large UK corporates in a variety of global finance roles.  Most recently David spent 4 years as Finance Director for Johnson Matthey’s Clean Air Sector, joining from BP’s Lubricants business (Castrol) where he was Head of Finance for Global Supply Chain, Marketing & Technology; he was also Global Head of Financial Control and Internal Audit. 

Prior to that David spent 10 years at Diageo in a variety of finance roles, starting in Audit and Risk and finishing as FD for Global Travel Retail, the Middle East & North Africa.

David has a wide range of experience across all aspects of the finance function from systems & process implementation and governance (particularly SAP) to commercial finance & pricing, control and compliance and performance management. 

David is a Chartered Accountant with an MA in French and Spanish from Oxford University.  He lives in Raglan with his wife, Vicki and has 2 sons who split their time between South Wales and South West London.  David is also a Non Executive Board member at Audit Wales and a Board Trustee at the Brandon Trust.

Andrea Byrne
Non-Executive Director

Andrea Byrne is one of the faces of ITV News.  She anchors the BAFTA award-winning daily news programme Wales at Six, as well as ITV’s national bulletins.

 

This has included ITV Weekend News, Lunchtime News, Evening News and News at Ten.  Prince Harry and David Cameron are among the many high-profile names she has interviewed.

 

Andrea also presents the current affairs programme Wales This Week and presents her own fertility podcast ‘Making Babies’.

 

She is an ambassador for ‘The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme’; a Trustee for the organ donation charity ‘Believe’ and a Non-Executive Director for Hockey Wales.

 

Andrea is married to Wales and Lions legend Lee Byrne.  She is passionate about wellbeing and pioneered the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders in ITV’s newsrooms.

 

Away from the newsroom, she is a keen yogi, a novice stand-up paddle-boarder and a budding novelist!

David Hagendyk
Non-Executive Director

Bio to follow.

Rebecca Knight
Senior Independent Director - Legal

Rebecca is an Associate lawyer for Cardiff based family law firm, Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice. Rebecca lives in Rogerstone and began her career with the firm in 2011, subsequently qualifying as a solicitor in 2014. In less than two years of being qualified she was promoted to an associate and continued to build a strong reputation. Rebecca is ranked in the Legal 500 as conscientious and straight talking.

Rebecca brings with her legal expertise and an outside perspective for the development and growth of Hockey Wales. Rebecca is also an organiser of leading networking club – South Wales Ladies Business Club. Away from work Rebecca enjoys spending time with her rescue dog and family.

Robert Croft
Performance Director

Swansea born Robert Croft MBE, played county cricket for 23 seasons and represented both England and Wales during his career. Beginning his career with Glamorgan CCC, he remained with the team for over two decades as a player.

Making his England debut in 1996 against Pakistan, he played in some of the nation’s most famous games and understands exactly what it takes to perform at elite level. Representing England in 21 Test Matches and 50 One Day Internationals, he retired from his international career in 2006.

Following a distinguished playing career, Robert joined the Glamorgan coaching set up as an assistant coach, before becoming head coach in 2016, retiring from the role in 2018 leaving behind a 30-year association with the club.

Robert received an MBE for his services to his sport in 2013.

Jeevan Singh Chagger
Non-Executive Director

Jeevan is Chair of City of Birmingham Hockey Club (Men's and Junior Sections) and also an Advisory Group member of England Hockey EDI group. As the youngest ever elected chair of English Hockey, Jeevan's hockey journey started back in 2006, following the continuation of a family passion taught by his father during his early years in the sport. Jeevan is also a Hockey Wales Diversity Champion, having supported the Hockey Wales EDI Group since March 2021. At his club, he plays, umpires and coaches with a wealth of experience from grassroots club hockey.

Aside from Hockey, in his day job Jeevan is a Health Mentor for Evolve, working to improve the physical, mental and cognitive health of young people in the Midlands, and working with young people with Autism and other complex learning difficulties. His experience has seen him be recognised for his work within the sports and educator sectors and he hopes to be able to bring that experience to the Board to support the development of hockey in Wales further.

Debbie Wakeford
Company Secretary

Debbie is a dual qualified Solicitor and Chartered Secretary and has been working in-house for commercial organisations for 20+ years providing legal and governance support. She has a particular interest in Board effectiveness and has worked with a number of national and international organisations, both listed and privately owned.  

 

Debbie volunteers with her dog, Muddy Puddles, for Pets as Therapy. She is a huge champion of promoting positive mental health and gets to spend time with Muddy in a school, helping children who may have suffered bereavements, difficulties at home, anxiety etc.  It is hugely rewarding and she loves the fact that it is so different from her “day job”.  

 

At weekends, Debbie spends a lot of time on the hockey pitch side-lines, cheering on her 11 year old daughter who is a keen hockey player with aspirations to be a professional player!

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