Our Board

The Board of BaseballSoftballUK Ltd, based on provisions of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, is made up of a Chair, three Directors appointed by each Federation and up to five Independent Directors who can bring valuable skills to the Board.  The Independent Directors are people who have no direct connection to the BBF Board or BSF Executive, but who can contribute valuable skills and experience to the BSUK Board and bring a different perspective to the challenges we face.

The Board provides policy direction and review for BSUK and for the work carried out by BSUK staff, and meets on a quarterly basis.  But much of the Board’s work is now carried out through subcommittees that meet more regularly and consist of both Independent and Federation Directors.  These sub-committees cover areas such as development strategy, diversity, employment, finance, governance, marketing and the service level agreement (SLA) between BSUK and the Federations.

Copies of minutes from meetings of the Board and sub-committees are now published in the Company Documents section.

 

BSUK Chair

John Walmsley

Board Chair John WalmsleyMy first involvement in our sports started in 2004 when I joined baseball spring training with Richmond Baseball and Softball Club.  In my first season I helped launch and manage the club's fourth adult baseball team, the Richmond Riverdogs.  In 2005, I took over as interim Club President and became the President the following year.  In 2007, I was elected to the Board of the BBF and was asked to serve as its Secretary.  I also served as a BBF-nominated Director of BSUK.  In 2008, I was re-elected to the BBF Board under a redrawn Constitution.

As BBF Secretary, I represented Great Britain at both IBAF and CEB Congresses.  I resigned from both the BBF and BSUK Boards in 2009, having served two-and-a-half years on each.  I also resigned from my role as Richmond Baseball and Softball Club President at the end of the 2010 season.

In my five seasons as Richmond President, the club won two National Baseball Championships and were finalists in two more, won two London Tournaments and other divisional titles, launched a youth baseball and softball programme and brought women's fastpitch softball into the club.  I remain involved with the club.

I and my partner Robyn split our time between Surrey and Lancashire.  I am an executive with a global consulting and technology company, where I focus on the commercial management of large-scale engagements.

 

Independent Directors

Jon Deacon

Jon Deacon HeadshotI am a communications & content specialist running my own consultancy, JDBrightly, working with people, brands and organisations in and around sport.  Over the years I have worked for and with organisations across the sporting spectrum delivering campaigns and activity at the biggest tournaments, with the biggest teams and the biggest stars.

Having been a sports nut at school & university, but not good enough to earn any money playing anything, my working career started in the early 1990’s at a couple of general PR consultancies before I got my break in the London office of sports marketing agency, Octagon.  There I spent five invaluable years learning about sports sponsorship and how to communicate it, especially in and around football (and the then fledgling Premier League), rugby and cricket.  That led to ten years in-house as UK PR for the global sports brand adidas and then three years as Head of PR at another international sports marketing agency, Fast Track, before setting up JDBrightly in 2013.

I only started playing softball regularly in 2008 but a long held like of baseball started in 1986 when I was lucky enough to go on a school exchange to Long Island during the infamous Mets v Red Sox 1986 World Series and watched an amazing sporting series showcased on TV like nothing I’d seen before.  Smitten, for years back in the UK I would follow games late at night on the crackly Armed Forces Radio Network and during summer evenings grab my souvenir glove and ball and throw at a strike zone painted on a barn wall.  Admittedly my friends thought it a bit odd but it was worth it a few years later when on a 6 month university exchange to New Jersey I amazed college friends by being a pretty good pitcher (for a novice from England) and got involved in some intra-mural games.  Going to live games at both NY stadiums has only cemented things over the years but it wasn’t until I belatedly found out slow-pitch softball was played across the parks of London and I started to play regularly.  I play regularly and now pitch for Kamikazes. Being part of the BSUK Board is a rewarding way to help both sports develop further in the UK.

 

Cate Gillingwater

Cate Gillingwater HeadshotMy experience lies in the areas of physical activity, sport and community development, managing grant funding and programme management. I am a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner and currently programme manage the £2.1m Sport England Lottery funded ‘Make Your Move’ programme across the UK at Sporta (charitable social enterprises in leisure and culture).

I have worked in the public, voluntary and social enterprise sectors in various roles mainly in project and programme management of externally funded resources.

I began working in sports development in a voluntary capacity at the Rugby Football Union, before moving to East Riding of Yorkshire Council. I held various roles there, ending with managing a professional community coaching team delivering right across the county.  I moved to London to work at Age UK on the £17m Big Lottery Funded ‘fit as a fiddle’ wellbeing programme, where as a Regional Development Manager, I strategically led and project managed six of the nine English regions.

I am an Associate of the Institute of Directors, and a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s ‘Directors Club’. I grew up in Loughborough before studying at the University of Hull, and staying on to work in the area. I moved to London about four years ago and have used sport and physical activity as a great way to meet new people.

 

Chris Greenhalgh

Chris GreenhalghI first experienced baseball at the age of five on holiday in Canada watching the Blue Jays at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) in 1991. Then in 2007 I visited my aunt in St Louis and watched the Cardinals at the new Busch Stadium with Albert Pujols launching a huge home run over left field. He may have moved on but I still follow the Redbirds from afar.

I have been employed for the last six years in an evolving sports development team which has moved from a district to a unitary authority then to a charitable leisure trust. I have been involved in a number of diverse projects, originally delivery focused around national products such as Sport Unlimited and Sportivate; more recently focusing on local strategic work and embedding an improvement culture through the team.

Personally, I am a keen cricketer playing, coaching, and acting as club welfare and development officer for my local club. I live with my wife and young son in South Cheshire.

 

BBF Board Representatives

Cody Cain

My love of baseball began when I was eight years old and my dad started me on my first Little League baseball team.  Since that first game in Portland, Oregon in 1976, I have played 35 consecutive years of baseball and softball.  I had an eight-year hiatus from baseball when I lived in Asia, where I played in slowpitch softball leagues and tournaments in Taipei, Shanghai, Manila and Hong Kong.  The highlights of my career have been playing in the College World Series in 1990 with my university, and the BBF Championships my teams have won in England: 1993 with the London Warriors, 2006 and 2010 with the Richmond Flames.

I also have a passion for coaching youth that has included four years (1986-1990) coaching at a week-long baseball camp for ages 14-17 and numerous programmes throughout London and the South East from 1994-2011.  A number of kids I have coached have gone on to play at the highest levels of British baseball.  I have also enjoyed a stint with the Great Britain National Team as a player and as a coach for the GB Juniors.  In 2012, I again helped with the Junior National Team as a pitching coach.

My professional career has always followed a parallel path to my baseball career, rarely if ever intersecting, even though my career started with a job I got through a relationship on my softball team in Taiwan.  I have lived all over the world with roles in technology and finance.  Over the course of my career I have founded seven companies and raised over £60 million pounds for companies I have been involved with.  I am looking forward to the intersection of my favourite sport with my career experiences in hopes of further developing the sports of baseball and softball in the UK.

I currently live in Weybridge, Surrey and am the father of two active children, a daughter (15) and a son (11) who have their passions in horse riding and football respectively.

 

Gerry Perez

I have been active in baseball, both in the US and the UK, for over 20 years.  Before moving to the UK I  played and coached baseball in the US in Little League, high school and college, developing MLB draft picks and college baseball players at NCAA Division levels I-III.

In the UK, I’m the Travel Team coach for the UK's largest youth baseball club, London Sports, and also the development coach for one of the UK’s largest adult baseball clubs in Richmond.

I specialise in developing players through the use of evidence-based coaching and I’m certified to coach baseball in both in the US and UK.  Currently, I’m working on a baseball research project which I hope to publicise next year.

In private life, I am the Managing Director of a financial services company, a former Compliance Officer and a registered and certified institutional trader in the US and Europe.  I am also a public speaker about financial markets and have appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC Europe, New Dehli TV (NDTV) and others.  I am also active on various advisory boards.

 

BSF Board Representatives

Stella Ackrell

BSF President Stella AckrellI have been playing softball in the UK since 2002.  I have been involved in sports committees (badminton and softball) holding the positions of Treasurer and Secretary, and I am the current Chair of the Oxford Softball League.

As a member of the BSUK Board since 2008, I have been involved with all aspects of both fastpitch and slowpitch softball, and sit on various committees within BSUK.

 

Mike Jennings

Mike Jennings I sit on the British Softball Federation Executive as a Director and Treasurer, and I am also a long-time member of the Executive Committee of the British Association of Softball Umpires (BASU).  Apart from umpiring, I act as a training tutor on a selection of BASU courses, including the main two-day BASU Qualifying Course, which I have run some 40 times over the last 10 years.

I am one of the softball-nominated BSUK Directors and I serve as chair of the Finance Committee.

I previously served for six years as President of the European Softball Federation and as a European Vice-President for the International Softball Federation, with positions on the Administration, Rules and Umpiring Commissions.

In Europe, I have been a member of the ESF Technical Commission, where I have typically inspected two venues each year in preparation for ESF competitions and have subsequently acted as Chair of the Technical Commission when these events are running.  In 2013, I have been appointed as the ESF’s Technical Director.

 

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