Bath Rugby’s Rugby Operations Manager Fran Leighton and Bath Rugby Foundation Chief Executive Lynne Fernquest have been voted two of Bath & Somerset’s most inspiring women.
Ahead of International Women’s Day 2023 on Wednesday 8 March, the Business Exchange Bath & Somerset asked its social media followers to vote for the most inspirational women in the region.
Twenty women were shortlisted, including Fran and Lynne, all of whom will be championed across the Business Exchange’s website and social feeds throughout March as well as featuring in the spring edition of their Bath magazine.
Fran joined Bath Rugby as Rugby Operations Manager in 2022, continuing her long, successful career in sport.
As an athlete, she was a leader. She captained the first ever Olympic Great Britain Women’s water polo team at the 2012 London Olympics, 10 years after winning a Commonwealth bronze with England.
The skills gained during Fran's time as water polo skipper, both in and out of the pool, have stood her in good stead for a multitude of roles since she hung up her cap.
Those positions included her time as Team Operations Manager for England & Great Britain’s men's rugby sevens team as they claimed Olympic silver at Rio 2016. She has also worked at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament.
She was a key part of Eddie Jones’ backroom staff whilst he was England men’s Head Coach and continued in the world of multi-sport events, helping to oversee the organisation of athletics, judo, wrestling, Cricket T20 and rugby sevens at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Fran is now instrumental in the day-to-day rugby operations at Bath Rugby.
Lynne became Bath Rugby Foundation’s first CEO in July 2017 with a vision to make the charity the ‘go to’ organisation for vulnerable children and young people in B&NES.
Before joining BRF she was editor-in-chief of Bath News and Media, where she led their online and social media growth as well as supporting the company’s business development.
During her time at Bath News and Media Lynne was connected to the region’s many charities and was perfectly-placed to understand the challenges faced by marginalised young people living in or around such an affluent city.
She said: “The pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn have had a disproportionate effect on youngsters who have already had a tough start in life. Annually the Foundation works with around 3,000 children and young people, but there are at least 10,000 in our region who need support. We will continue to spread the word and champion their cause."
The Business Exchange are also hosting a special International Women’s Day event at Walcot House on the evening of 8 March from 19:00 until 21:00.
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