Our Senior Leadership Team

YST Our Senior Leadership Team
Our Senior Leadership Team head up the day-to-delivery of the Trust's activities.
Ali Oliver
Alison Oliver - Chief Executive Officer

Ali is the Youth Sport Trust's Chief Executive Officer, having previously held the role of Interim CEO from January-July 2015. In her previous role as Managing Director, Ali was responsible for leading the Youth Sport Trust's Sporting Start, Sporting Chance and Sporting Best strategies, and oversaw the work of the organisation's team of development staff. Ali headed up key Youth Sport Trust strategic partnerships, and her team deliver the Youth Sport Trust Membership programme, service its network of Partner Schools, and are responsible for the development and implementation of national projects such as the School Games, Change4Life Sports Clubs, Sky Sports Living for Sport, and TOP Sportsability. 

Ali has worked in education and sports development for 20 years; she joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 as Implementation Director working to establish the network of School Sport Partnerships, and became the Director of Sport before moving into her current role. Prior to that, Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath, where she was also the Director of netball. Ali was in charge of academic programmes including the PGCE Physical Education programme and worked on the English Institute of Sport project. Before moving to the University of Bath, Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as a PE teacher in Essex. Ali is also a Trustee of Chance to Shine and the Healthy Learning Trust.

Will Roberts - Director of Operations

Having previously led the development of the School Games National Finals since 2007, Will has considerable experience in the development of sporting opportunities for young people through competitive sport, coaching and volunteering, and for talented young people.

Will is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of our development programmes for young people. This includes the large scale national programmes which reach hundreds of thousands of young people each year, through to the small scale highly focussed piece of development work and our range of national camps. In this role Will also plays a key part in managing relationships with a number of major public and private sector partners in sport.

In his previous role as Head of Sport, Will was jointly responsible for the Sporting Best element of the Youth Sport Trust's strategic plan. He conceived the concept of a multi-dimensional Talent Camp for young athletes, coaches and officials and is a passionate proponent of the creation of multi-sport and multi-role environments to broaden and deepen the learning experience for young people. Under Will's leadership, the UK School Games' Athlete Education Programme grew into a transforming experience which has influenced practice at the IOC's Youth Olympic Games.

With a background in Sport, Will has received a number of national level awards as a volunteer coach alongside his career, served on the board of a National Governing Body, worked as part of an International Sports Federation Advisory Group, supported development work in Brazil, Kuwait and South Africa, and spoken on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust at the Australian National Sports Convention. 

Surinder Sihra - Director of Finance and Governance

Surinder joined the Youth Sport Trust (YST) in 2016 to head the finance team and be responsible for the governance of the organisation. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team he is responsible for the financial and treasury strategies as well as providing financial leadership to the Youth Sport Trust, ensuring that business plans and development programmes are effectively resourced and funded. 

Surinder started his career working for GEC a multinational organisation where he progressed from being a Trainee Accountant to Finance Director. Due to career progression, he moved from one subsidiary to another gaining extensive experience in all aspects of accounting and businesses of a differing nature (including R&D and manufacturing).

After moving from GEC, Surinder joined a private equity backed company named FlaktWoods dealing with the heating and ventilation industry.  Here he gained extensive experience of the manufacturing processes and systems, sales team and commercial activities and sourcing. His legacy is the setting up of the Operations Management information system that included financial and key operations metrics. 

Gerry Newton-Cross - Director of Strategy and Sustainability

Gerry joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2016, and oversees the Trust’s key funding streams: our valued Corporate Partnerships; our Membership scheme for primary, secondary and special schools; our fundraising activities; the grants team (which develops proposals for central and local Government, Trusts and Foundations); and our external products and services, including consultancy, conferences/events, training and resources. In parallel, Gerry is responsible for developing our corporate strategies around our charitable mission and broader sustainability.

Prior to joining the YST, Gerry worked in the low-carbon energy and environment sectors, for public and private organisations – developing national sector strategies; and commissioning / delivering large-scale research and development programmes to identify and accelerate new energy technologies towards commercialisation. Gerry has a background in strategy; programme and project management; analysis and insight. Outside of work, Gerry enjoys sport – especially running, surfing, squash and triathlons.

Stuart Kay - Schools Director

Stuart joined the Youth Sport Trust in January 2018, and oversees the trust’s school networks and its associated activities. As well as more than 4,300 member schools, our networks include: Lead schools, Ambassador schools, Headteacher ambassadors and our Primary PE leads / PE catalysts.

In parallel, Stuart holds a number of key stakeholder relationships with educational partners. He also oversees the trust’s national conference which is a showcase event for bringing together many of these networks and partners. In the context of the 2018-22 YST strategy, ‘Believing in Every Child’s Future’, Stuart oversees the ‘Transforming Physical Education’ objective.

Prior to joining the YST, Stuart has worked as an English teacher, senior leader, deputy head teacher and Acting headteacher across a number of schools in the East and West Midlands. Stuart brings close to 20 years’ experience in education, having also previously had a stint as a Literacy consultant in the days of the National Strategies. This experience has allowed Stuart to see, first-hand, the life-changing impact PE and school sport can have on young people. Stuart is also a trustee at a secondary academy in Leicestershire.

James Kyte - Commercial Director

Having held senior roles within the consumer goods and retail sectors James joined the trust in 2018 to oversee the commercial function of the organisation. James will provide leadership and guidance in supporting the trusts ambition to grow new revenue streams at the same time as strengthening existing partnerships.

James has worked for multinational businesses including General Mills and Lidl before moving into consumer goods nine years ago. The change in sector saw him leading sales teams to develop and deliver product ranges into many of the UK and North America’s biggest retailers by working collaboratively with license owners such as Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It is this background which means he is well placed to identify new opportunities for the trust and ensure it is innovative in its approach to generating both funding and recognition in support of its objectives.

Prior to his commercial roles James served as an officer in the Royal Air Force and played rugby for Leicester Lions in National League 2.

Lisa McHendry - Development Lead - Innovation

Lisa joined the Youth Sport Trust (YST) in 1997 as an area Development Officer managing the development and delivery of the Primary TOP’s programmes. Over the subsequent 20 years she has had numerous roles and been responsible for leading and managing a number of key strategic areas of work, across health, sport, leadership and inclusion. This has involved the creation and implementation of a number of key Government and Corporate funded programmes. 

In her current role as Development Lead for Innovations, she is responsible for overseeing the ‘thought leadership’ work of the organization,  ensuring that the YST develop innovative programmes and services  that support schools and settings, to maximize the impact of PE, School Sport and Health related activity, and support the aspirations and achievement of all pupils. 

With a background in Sport Development, Lisa graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 1993 and prior to joining the Youth Sport Trust gained a wealth of sport development experience working in units across the country, including Birmingham CC,  Stratford-upon-Avon, East Riding of Yorkshire and Wigan MBC. Internationally, she has supported the delivery of key Sport for Development initiatives including The 2012 legacy programme International Inspirations working in Azerbaijan, India and Brazil.