Director of Sport

Emma (Em) Atkins (She/Her)

Em is the Director of Sport, she leads all our work across sporting sectors, covering both traditional sport (governing bodies, clubs, leagues and associations) and sport for development (sports charities and sport for social purpose organisations/movements) sectors.  Leading complex strategic development projects, income diversification strategies and innovation projects both in the UK and around the world.


  • Strategy Development & Business Planning, from consultation to launch and implementation.
  • Executive Coach, expert facilitator and learning designer.
  • Income Diversification and Generation specialist, Commercial Partnership brokering and activation.
  • National/International Large Scale Project Management
  • Governance specialist and previous advisor to the Charity Commission
  • Facility developments for sport
  • Conference event hosting and presentation training
  • Charity formation specialist

About Em

Em is passionate about how sport can change people’s lives, using her coaching expertise to empower system change with sporting bodies.  She has over 30 years’ experience in the sport, sport for development and charity sectors. Throughout her professional history, she has led organisations, teams and governmental programmes. As a senior leader in the government agency for coaching she worked with all sports agencies and local authorities across the UK on projects such as Long-Term Athlete Development, the UK Coaching Certificate and establishing a network of coaching specialists.

As founding Director and CEO of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust she developed and implemented a system to support over 500 world class athletes into a positive life beyond sport and empowered over 300,000 young lives. She returned to Coaching as Director of Coaching for UK Coaching in 2015 where she revolutionised support to coaches using digital approaches and spearheaded the support to coaches during the Covid pandemic working alongside all governing bodies of sport and local authorities. In 2022 she took the lead at the Sport for Development Coalition (a membership organisation supporting over 350 agencies in sport) and took some time to get involved in environmental sustainability as the CEO of the international charity Groundwork in the Midlands.

Recent Assignments

Strategy Developments – Welsh Cycling, London FA, ECB

Governance reviews – Go London

Commercial & Fundraising Strategies – London FA, Welsh Cycling, Scottish Football Partnership Trust

Innovation projects – University of East London, Global Cricket, Indonesia Basketball


Em has worked in the sport and sport for development sectors for over 30 years in a variety of senior leadership roles.

  • CEO of sport for development charity – Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
  • Founding Trustee of numerous celebrity sport charities. (Judy Murray, Isa Guha)
  • CEO of environment/community charity – Groundwork Five Counties
  • Director of Coaching for UK Coaching

Fun Facts

Em measures her day-to-day success on two metrics: how has she helped others? And, how many times have we laughed today? She enjoys supporting people to flourish by thinking outside of the box, even if this means challenging the status quo. Regularly found on a tennis court or jogging with her dog Wookie (yes, a Star Wars fan!) she has an infectious can-do attitude, along with fun & positivity.

Latest News

See all news