Blog post -
Getting to know London Sport's new CEO Emily Robinson
London Sport’s new CEO Emily Robinson sat down with Communications Manager Andrew Lawton to share her hopes for the capital, her ambitions for London Sport, and what she enjoys getting up to when she’s not busy with colleagues and partners at House of Sport.
Welcome to London Sport, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve lived in south east London for the past 14 years with my husband and, more recently, two little girls. They’re three and six now so I spend a lot of time watching children’s TV. At the moment, my favourite programme is Bluey which is an Australian cartoon - if people know, they know; there’s lots of funny jokes within it.
What’s your favourite thing about London?
My favourite thing about London is the diversity; the people you meet, the types of food you can buy, all the activities that are going on, it’s so busy and vibrant. There’s a very good Nepalese curry restaurant in Sydenham that I like, but I’m a fan of Thai and Italian food too. It’s just so easy to step out of your door and find something magical and different.
If you could change one thing about the capital, excluding physical activity levels, what would it be?
I think it would be the huge inequalities, you can get a really poor deprived street right next to a rich and wealthy street. I don’t think those big inequalities are good for anyone so I would like there to be equal opportunities for everyone. I do think the pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities that already existed, you could see that very early on by who had green space to use. Suddenly having a garden or not became a real marker of inequality, that was really sad.
What’s your favourite sport or physical activity?
I tend to have phases of what I like to do, but my favourite thing at the moment is my weekly Zumba class at my local leisure centre. It’s loads of fun, I love the music and there’s lots of other women there who I wouldn’t normally meet. It’s easy to book on the app and it’s an eight-minute walk from where I live which is really helpful.
I enjoy watching football, I’m a Liverpool fan and I’m a big fan of Jurgen Klopp who, I think, is the most wonderful charismatic leader. I like watching lots of sports, the Olympics and Paralympics, but don’t tend to watch too much in-person.
What do you enjoy doing away from the office?
I don’t have a lot of time but I do seem to go to a lot of children’s parties. It’s interesting to see all the different activity-related ones like trampolining and inflatable obstacle courses. I watch box sets on Netflix (I’m behind but catching-up on Succession!) and I’m interested in politics and current affairs, I like reading biographies related to politics.
What attracted you to London Sport?
I’m really interested in behaviour change; how do you get people to do something they might not have considered doing before. I love the power of physical activity and sport has to change people’s lives in terms of mental and physical health, combating loneliness, and building connections between people. I did a lot of thinking during the pandemic about what I wanted to achieve, and I was looking for something where I could make a difference to inequalities.
How do you hope London Sport will look in 12 months’ time?
Firstly, I hope the organisation will be more reflective of the community it serves in London. Equality, diversity and inclusion is really important. I think the organisation can do more in terms of making sure that programmes are developed with that in mind, consulting and speaking to groups who may be impacted, but also widen the pool of candidates who work at the organisation.
Secondly, our profile could be higher, people will hopefully see this as an organisation which has something interesting to say, something valid to contribute and understand what we’re trying to achieve. Lastly, I hope there will be all sorts of interesting campaigns and partnerships which make people sit up and think ‘That’s a really good idea’.
Finally, what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Trust your instincts.
Generally, if you think it’s the right thing to do, be confident and go for it. Most of the time, you probably do know the answer, it’s about getting on and doing it and not being too scared.