At the INF Congress 2019, British Cycling CEO, Julie Harrington, was invited to discuss her experience in tackling bullying and discrimination through good governance. Julie is known for her considerable experience and knowledge in senior leadership roles in a sports environment and she had joined British Cycling in 2017. Julie provided the audience of congress delegates and INF Board with an insight into how she has used good governance to tackle arising issues.
Julie, who previously worked in Premier League Football, detailed her journey through British Cycling, describing the challenges she faced when first joining the organisation. She explained that whistle-blowers had identified governance issues and that a lack of trust had swept up the organisation creating a negative environment. Julie acknowledged that through an independent review of the organisation, the British Cycling board were able to identify areas of recommendations which needed focus.
As with any organisation, the importance of having independent board members to enable healthy challenge, is something that is vital for progression. The aim of the INF Congress was Governance in Action and Julie provided the delegates with an understanding of this, sharing her experience of changing the composition of the British Cycling board to provide essential independent viewpoints.
British Cycling are now two years into implementing the changes and Julie expressed her excitement of the massive benefits already experienced “it brought in an enhanced calibre of support”. Although challenging, the CEO emphasised the importance of change and the insight it provided, describing the change as “a journey not a destination”. Leaving the audience with one last message, Julie reiterated the importance on the long-term health and sustainability of sport and the journey it would take people on.
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