David Ellis


CEO, Harlequin FC
In March this year, 4,837 rugby fans packed into Twickenham Stoop to watch the hosts’ 62-0 rout of Gloucester-Hartpury – the largest ever crowd for a women’s club game. Chief executive Ellis – who quit his career in social housing to head up the club – is leading the way in growing support for the women’s game and pushing for parity in sport. He launched Harlequins Ladies four years ago; female players train using the same facilities as the men, have the same access to support staff, and are fully integrated across all branding and marketing campaigns. The club also runs The Game Changer, an annual celebration of women’s rugby.

She Says: "I speak for every female at the club when I say he empowers us every day to challenge stereotypes and discrimination and to be part of the solution, not the problem. His uncompromising attitude to push boundaries enables us to lead the way for women in sport." Imogen Gaunt, director of communications, Harlequin FC