Meet the Directors

Tess RobinsonWho are you?
Tess Robinson
Chair and Director of Internal Affairs

Which league are you affiliated with?
The London Rollergirls. I previously skated with Bristol Roller Derby after transferring from Swansea City Roller Derby in 2011.

Why did you stand for a seat on the UKRDA board?
I’ve spent last year as the Secretary of the UKRDA board. I feel like my passion for being a director in the organisation has only grown as the potential for the UKRDA has been revealed over the last year. I’m very happy to be continuing on as a director for 2016.

What are you most proud of achieving for/in Roller Derby?
I’m proud to have been part of teams who really strive for excellence and to be a part of London Rollergirls. I’m just generally proud and excited to be a part of such an inspiring sport.

What is your vision for UK Derby in the next few years ?
Regulation is something that has come up a lot in 2015. Regulation, recognition and certification for our officials, more regulated gameplay, more regulation and certification also in coaching and leadership. Education and empowerment is also something that is going to drive the direction of the organisation in 2016.

What’s your favourite thing about roller derby?
Right now my favourite thing is that as a sport, we’re small enough to affect change. If someone in the community wants to be the change they want to see, it’s genuinely attainable. But we’re still big enough for those changes to make a meaningful impact on the sport regionally, nationally and even globally.

B reF GWho are you?
Gareth Lowson, a.k.a B reF G
Director of External Engagement

Which league are you affiliated with?
I got involved with Kent Roller Girls running their scoreboard at my girlfriend’s first bout for their B-Team, and then started training as a Ref shortly afterwards. Annoyingly I broke myself before fully earning my stripes but this has given me the time to focus on mastering all of the NSO goodness!

Why did you stand for a seat on the UKRDA board?
Since getting involved with roller derby I have been interested in finding ways to help grow and promote the sport in the UK. I see derby as a sport with huge potential and want to make sure the UK is at the forefront of the global development and organisation we are seeing at the moment. In my day job I work for a company providing infrastructure, management and TV production for a high profile international sport and I hope to be able to apply some of what I have learned there to help build on the work done by the UKRDA so far.

What are you most proud of achieving for/in Roller Derby?
In terms of what I have done to date, probably the first time I saw NSOs that I had helped train confidently take up a clipboard in a public bout. I love helping others and seeing someone go from being terrified by the idea of Stats Book, to lineup tracking like a pro makes me smile. There are a few projects on the horizon that I believe will make a real difference to the UK scene, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves until the work is done…

What is your vision for UK Derby in the next few years?
Wow, that’s not a question that lends itself to a quick answer…

Derby feels like it reaching a tipping point; the meteoric growth in popularity that we have seen in the last few years is something I would like to see continue. The more people we have involved in the sport the more credible we become, but we need to work closely with the various other national and international bodies to ensure the sport is able to fulfil it’s potential. Working to organise and legitimise the sport is a large part of our role and I believe developing a programme to help standardise officiating practices, as well as a robust ranking and divisional structure and building on the success of previous tournaments will really bolster our standing.

What’s your favourite thing about roller derby?
Quite simply, the DIY ethos. I love how dynamic and inclusive the sport is the tactical side of the game really fascinates me and I have met some of the most amazingly focused, driven and talented people since getting involved, but the fact that such a massive movement can be borne out of the efforts of dedicated individuals volunteering their time is amazing to witness. I feel privileged to be part of it at such an exciting time, and honoured to be chosen to represent the UK derby scene at this level.

RockyWho are you?
Christopher Gorman a.k.a. Rocky
Director of Officials

Which league are you affiliated with?
As an official, I am affiliated not with a league, but with the sporting organisations. Both the WFTDA & MRDA, as well as representing our homegrown interests here, within the UKRDA.

Why did you stand for a seat on the UKRDA board?
Having been nominated by my peers, I realised that my experiences over the years have given me a wealth of understanding and awareness of the things that affect us on a daily basis, and that maybe I was now in a good position to make a difference in my community.

What are you most proud of achieving for/in Roller Derby?
After 5+ years in the sport, there has been many moments to be proud of. From the personal sense of achievement in gaining a level 3 WFTDA status, to representing my country as an official on the international stage. But primarily, it just has to be for being part of the growth of the sport over that time and for helping people enjoy themselves on any given day.

What is your vision for UK Derby in the next few years ?
My current vision is to help build a better infrastructure for the long term future of our officials. From grassroots training, through to the desired certification route. With more options for varied long term career paths and the ability to harness all the skills that our membership has to offer. To not just accept what’s on the table, but to realise that we can set the tone for where we want our officials membership to be heading on a national scale.

What’s your favourite thing about roller derby?
My favourite thing is probably the acceptance that the sport offers to so many people, as well as the respect and support that can be found within it’s community. If I’m anything to go by, then everyone’s welcome 😉

Katie ThomasWho are you?
Katie Thomas a.k.a. The Valkyrie
Director of Gameplay

Which league are you affiliated with?
Milton Keynes Roller Derby.

Why did you stand for a seat on the UKRDA board?
I’ve been heavily involved in the development & management of the British Championships tournament, and want to streamline the relationship between Champs and the UKRDA.

What are you most proud of achieving for/in Roller Derby?
I’m proud of my team every week, for coming together to work as individuals and as a team to take part in this amazing sport, and always pushing to improve. I’m incredibly proud of the British Championships Tournament. We couldn’t possibly have predicted its growth and popularity, evolving from 6 teams to over 80 in the course of just a few years. I’m proud of the teams who have signed on to the format, and all the people who have helped make it what it is today. We still have a lot to learn, and we look forward to collaborating with the skaters and officials at all levels to make it the best it can be.

What is your vision for UK Derby in the next few years ?
Being part of offering support to teams driven to top-level WFTDA and MRDA competition, as well as teams who are still just finding their feet. Creating structures for progression within the sport, which ideally lead to greater national and international awareness of roller derby. Making processes more efficient, so we can all get some sleep!

What’s your favourite thing about roller derby?
I love that roller derby continues to teach people around the world that there’s no limit to our strength and capabilities, and what we can do when we work together, once we decide that anything is possible. I also really love roller skating!

Photo credit for Tess Robinson’s picture: Graeme Willetts Photography
Photo credit for Christopher Gorman’s picture: Floyd King Photography
Photo credit for Katie Thomas’s picture: John Hesse.

3 thoughts on “Meet the Directors

  1. Great to see this line up of awesome board members! Thanks for all the hard work done, and here’s to another exciting year!

    Derby love, Kit LRR.

  2. It is so good to see a part of British Roller Sports which is enthusiastic, committed, well run and expanding; with a board of its membership striving to make their skating discapline the very best that it can be.

    Good on ya.

    Chair of ISC (Ipswich Skating Club)

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