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Lisa Wainwright

LisaWainwrightLisa Wainwright is the Chief Executive of Volleyball England, an organisation involved in both the preparation and legacy of Volleyball at the Games. She graduated from Warwick in 1993 with a BA with Qualified Teacher Status in Physical Education and has fond memories of her alma mata. "Wherever I go and whatever I do, I take a little piece of Warwick with me", Lisa said, adding that Warwick provided a "great foundation" for her career.

"From start to finish, my whole life at university was sport" said Lisa, who was intermural rep in her first year and captain of the netball team. "I also started playing rugby at university; I played for two years and then realised it really did hurt!" Lisa was elected Sports Sabbatical Officer in the Students' Union for 1993-1994, where she succesfully campaigned for old sports facilities that were ear-marked for removal to be replaced with new buildings and pitches.

Lisa took her first role in sports development as Regional Netball Development at De Montfort University and has since worked in various governing and government bodies, including England Netball, the Russell Commission and the Home Office. Before being headhunted by Volleyball England, Lisa was Head of National Sport for Sport England.

Lisa also completed an MA in Learning and Teaching, and sees her career as an organic development from her original foundation in teaching. "There’s no real difference" she said. "I want to make a difference and sport can, and does, make a huge difference. I felt as a teacher in one school, I could affect a small group of people...and then I thought, if I go to government and help government write policy I can probably help even more.

"I’ve always been very clear in my career: whenever I worked on policy, I’ve then dropped back to implementation. I drove forward some child protection work for government, led it from a governing body and then did some volunteering work in terms for both LOCOG and Sport England. It’s always a case of 'don’t do things in isolation': if you're going to write a policy on it, see how you can implement it; if you’ve implemented something, see if you can inform policy to change direction in the future."

Lisa has now been Chief Executive of Volleyball England for four years, providing leadership and management for delivery of their overall strategy: getting more people to play Volleyball and creating pathways for people with sporting, coaching or volunteering potential.

volleyball.jpgVolleyball England has been involved with Olympic planing for the last five years. A new website,, enables people enthused by the games to find out more about Volleyball, whilst sand released from the Olympic venues is to be used to create beach sports facilities for the public: six have been completed, with another six planned. Eventually, a total of 30 beach volleyball courts will be created across the UK. Volunteers and technical volunteers (NTOs - judges, scorers, etc) have also received four years of training for the Games, which means the sport will benefit from the expertise of these people after the Olympics.

"There are some really great stories about people who started out at Warwick and are now leading in sporting arenas." says Lisa, as the Games approach. "Take every opportunity that life provides, and remember that sport does change lives – let your life be enhanced by it."