WELSH WEIGHTLIFTING: STRENGTHENING THE BOARD DESPITE COVID
Updated: Mar 29
Board diversity is a hot topic for all governing bodies but Welsh Weightlifting was facing a challenge that certainly wasn’t helped by the arrival of Covid.
The governing body had just four non-executive directors remaining – including its Chair whose term had come to an end. And then Covid hit.
Business Support Officer Hannah Powell explained:
“We faced the risk of not having enough board members to make a decision. And we didn’t have any women on the board either. We were keen to change that and we wanted to achieve the Foundation Level of the Equality Standard for Sport.
“Suddenly, there was a great deal of work to do but we were also handling the impact of Coronavirus.”
Fortunately, the Chair offered to stay in the role until Welsh Weightlifting could establish a balanced, skilled and inclusive board. Gender parity was clearly a key issue and something the organisation was keen to tackle.
First, with the support of Vibrant Nation, Welsh Weightlifting reviewed the job advertisements to ensure its recruitment was inclusive. Proactive approaches were made to potential candidates and two female appointments were made.
“A further three positions are nominated and elected by the membership,” said Hannah. “Our AGM was meant to have taken place last March but we had cancelled it, hoping that we could reschedule a couple of months later. But of course, as time went on, we realised Covid wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So we decided to host an online AGM.”
Welsh Weightlifting drew on support from Sport Wales and Vibrant Nation:
“I had never organised an AGM before and here I was setting up an online version. We had to work out how to set up a fair voting system and decide what action to take if there was a tie on the night. We arranged for an Independent Vote Counter who counted, verified and announced the results. We had a much bigger attendance than previous years and three members were voted on.”
Since the AGM, the board members have elected a new Chair, Darren Rogers, who has experience of chairing a large charity and is a highly qualified weightlifting referee.
The board has also recognised that it lacked representation of disability sport:
“Para powerlifting is a fast-growing sport and it is really important that the board reflects the diversity of our membership. Through the GLFW support programme run
by Vibrant Nation, we secured the support of a HR consultancy, Cobalt HR Limited, who redesigned our job advert. We had a fantastic response.
“Nathan Stephens, a well-known Paralympian and Para Powerlifter, has now joined us a board member and we couldn’t be happier. He is a brilliant appointment and will be a huge asset.”
Despite Covid and the havoc it has wreaked over the last 12 months, Welsh Weightlifting has made huge progress against Principle 4 of the Governance and Leadership Framework.
It has continued working with the HR consultancy and its Governance Account Manager at Vibrant Nation.
A comprehensive induction programme and updated role descriptions are in the pipeline so that board members have a better understanding of their obligations.
Sub-committees have also been established and Welsh Weightlifting is now driving ahead to achieve the Preliminary level of the Equality Standard for Sport.
It seems that Welsh Weightlifting is thriving. Covid certainly cannot prevent this small but mighty governing body from becoming ever stronger.