Coaching Laid Bare with Aileen Richards

Bird and LJ talk to Aileen Richards, who was the first women on the board of directors of Welsh Rugby Union.

Here are the questions posed to Aileen:

  • Growing up what were thoughts on a career – did any female role models influence you on your journey?
  • Why rugby?
  • What is the most memorable event in your career?
  • How did you progress to the role of senior exec at Mars? What life experiences provided you with the skills to do this role?
  • You’ve been a Welsh rugby fan for over 50 years do you think there are any lessons to learn from the men’s game at community, club and International level?
  • From your experience of working in Mars a global company. In terms of brand what do you think needs to happen for women’s rugby to secure more financial backing and access mainstream media?
  • What was it like being the first woman on the board of the WRU? How did it happen?
  • Where do you feel your influence has created the greatest change in Welsh rugby?
  • What would be your advice to any female with a passion for rugby, who wants to support and make rugby a game for everyone about how to get involved at a strategic level in the game? What qualities/skills would they need?
  • You’ve just become chair of the new cricket team Welsh Fire. Can you tell us a bit more about this role and set up? What can rugby learn from other sports such a cricket?
  • What one tip you would give to a young person looking to succeed? What is your next big goal that you would like to achieve?

Aileen Richards is a non-executive Director of WRU. She was a senior executive with Mars until 2015. As executive vice president of Mars, she was responsible for the Human Resources strategy for the company’s 85,000 employees and she also led Mars Global Services (Mars IT, Mars Financial Services and Mars Associate Services). In her 30 years with Mars, she also held senior international roles in procurement and manufacturing and lived in Washington DC and Brussels.

She is currently an independent non-executive director on several boards, including Mars Nederland, Jacob Douwe Egberts, Pret A Manger and Welsh National Opera. She was also the first woman on the board of directors of the Welsh Rugby Union and chairs the Board of the new Cricket Team Welsh Fire.

She  has been a Welsh rugby fan for over 50 years, has travelled to many World Cups. Married with two children, all of whom played rugby.

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