26 April 2022

The University of East London (UEL) has appointed Hilary Lissenden as assistant chief operating officer (sport and active campus). She will take up the position in May and will be based at SportsDock, the University's award-winning sports facility on its Docklands Campus.

Ms Lissenden currently works for the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as head of sport and youth. Her University of East London role is a new position, created to help develop, implement and measure the impact of UEL's ambitious new East London Global Sports Strategy. The strategy aims to use the power of sport to transform lives through sport at elite and grass-roots levels, partnering with local, regional and international organisations to champion inclusion, health gain and belonging.

Ms Lissenden said, "I am delighted to be appointed as assistant chief operating officer (sport and active campus). Sport has the power to enrich the education and experience of every student. I am looking forward to working with students and staff across UEL to help bring the East London Global Sports Strategy to life and position the University even more firmly as a leading sports institution serving the east London region and beyond."

Dr Ian Pickup, University of East London pro vice-chancellor (education and experience) and chief operating officer, said, "We believe Ms Lissenden is the perfect fit to help us realise our ambitions to further grow our reputation in sport, not just at the high-performance level, but also in promoting the health gains and impact that sport can have on educational and societal outcomes.

"Her passion for what sport can do for equality and social change shone throughout the selection process. Ms Lissenden is an exciting addition to the team, and I look forward to working with her when she takes up the role in May."

Ms Lissenden has a wealth of academic, sporting and professional experience.

Born in Jersey, she studied English literature at Clare College, University of Cambridge, before gaining an MA in renaissance literature from Bristol University, which led to a career in publishing as a commissioning editor and freelance consultant.

In 2014, after stepping into a local boxing gym to get fit, her career took a sporting turn after seeing first-hand the power of sport for positive social change. She founded her own boxing-based charity, London Community Boxing, leading it as a director and then as chief executive before joining the Greater London Authority's (GLA) sport team in 2018.

During her time at the GLA as head of sport and youth, Ms Lissenden was responsible for the successful delivery of Sport Unites, the mayor of London's ground-breaking £10 million community sport investment programme. Since its launch four years ago, Sport Unites has engaged more than 50,000 Londoners in sport and physical activity for social outcomes, many of whom have been under-represented and facing significant barriers to active participation in their local communities.

Ms Lissenden has further worked with her team to secure strategic co-investment partnerships with several high-profile brands and organisations, including the NFL, in addition to existing partnerships under Sport Unites with Laureus Sport for Good, Nike and Comic Relief.

While working at the GLA, Ms Lissenden has continued her volunteer journey in amateur boxing. She was England Boxing's first female boxing director, serving five years on the board with a particular remit for coaching and coach development. She is an active referee and judge and has officiated at four national elite championship finals.

James Kilden, the current acting director of sport and active campus, will become director of sport and physical activity. Mr Kilden has been with the University for nearly a decade, playing a key role in growing the sport scholar programme, increasing engagement with sport on campus and developing the world-class sporting facilities at UEL.

For more information about sport at the University of East London and the East London Global Sports Strategy see our webpage.

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