Liverpool waterfront


Speaker biographies

Paula DunnPaula Dunn MBE

Paula Dunn MBE is a former elite sprinter having competed at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Paula is currently the Head Coach of the Paralympic programme at British Athletics, a role she has held since 2012, the first female Head Coach at the organisation. Paula helped lead ParalympicsGB to great success in both the Rio and Tokyo games, with athletes bringing home over 50 medals.

Penny BriscoePenny Briscoe OBE

Penny is currently the Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association. She has been involved in elite sport since 1983. She represented GBR as an athlete in canoe slalom before moving to coaching and then performance sport administration as a manager and director. She has supported GBR athletes and teams across two summer Olympic Games and nine summer and winter Paralympic Games cycles. She has led ParalympicsGB as Chef de Mission on four occasions and will lead the team again at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Penny was awarded an OBE, for Services to Sport, in the 2017 Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Michel AssoulineMichel Assouline

Michel Assouline is the Head of Coach Development and Para Dressage Technical Advisor at the United States Equestrian Federation. Michel graduated from the French National Equestrian School and had extensive international dressage experience as both a rider, trainer and coach. Michel has helped both the GB and US para dressage teams to Paralympic medals.

Jon PettJon Pett

Jon Pett is the Head of Para-Cycling at British Cycling, a position he has held for nearly four years. Jon was the Team Leader for the British Cycling delegation in Tokyo, supporting the team to bring home 24 medals. Jon is also a member of the European Para Cycling Commission who’s aim is to support the development of para cycling across Europe.

Brett SmithProfessor Brett Smith

Professor Brett Smith is the Director of Research and Professor of Disability and Physical Activity in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. Brett’s research focuses on disability, physical activity, sport and health. He is the Chair of the Disability and Physical Activity Expert Working Group for the Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Disabled People.

Ali JawadAli Jawad

Ali Jawad is a Paralympic powerlifter competing in the -59kg class. Ali has won bronze, silver and gold medals across Paralympic Games, World, European and Commonwealth Championships, setting a new world record at the 2014 IPC World Championships. Aside from his powerlifting career, Ali has recently founded Accesercise, a fitness app designed specifically for people with impairments. Currently, Ali is studying for his PhD in anti-doping in Para Sport, extending his role as an anti-doping educator at UK Anti-Doping.

Maria LyleMaria Lyle

Maria Lyle is a T35 sprinter with Paralympic, World, Commonwealth & European medals, having just won two bronze medals in Tokyo. Maria hosts The Ability Podcast with Gary Heatly, where they discuss with their guests their experiences of living with a disability. As well as this, in partnership with the ParaCoach Project, Maria’s Coaching Corner was launched earlier this year. This is a webinar series in which Maria each episode Maria interviews a different guest about their experiences in para sport. Maria is in her 3rd year at Edinburgh Napier studying Sports Coaching.

Hayley FitzgeraldProfessor Hayley Fitzgerald

Professor Hayley Fitzgerald from Leeds Beckett University has researched, taught and worked in disability sport. She is particularly interested in how young people with disabilities experience physical education and youth sport. She is an advocate of listening to their expert insights. Young people with disabilities are in the best position to support us to be better practitioners.

Anthony MaherProfessor Anthony Maher

Anthony Maher is Professor of Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University. Anthony’s work focuses on centring the experiences and amplifying the voices of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Dr Emma Richardson

Emma RichardsonDr Emma Richardson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Worcester with a focus on inclusive sport and exercise research. Emma completed her PhD in disability studies and now has over 30 publications to her name in peer reviews journals.

Rebecca Foster MBE

Rebecca Foster MBE is a Principal Lecturer for Adapted Physical Education within the Rebecca FosterSchool or Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester. Prior to this, Rebecca was a PE teacher for over 20 years before becoming a Teaching Fellow at Leeds Beckett. In 2017, Rebecca was awarded an MBE for her services to inclusive sport.