STA Conference 2019 Speakers

Keynote Speaker
Ayo Akinwolere

During his 5 years on Blue Peter, Ayo was pushed to his limits, spurred on by a personal quest to conquer his fears of heights and water. In his final year at Blue Peter, Ayo set a new world record for the deepest location for an open water swim by battling more than 5 miles over the Palau Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the first person to do so. This incredible feat of endurance was made more significant due to Ayo’s phobia of deep water and the fact he only learnt to swim 10 weeks prior to the challenge.

Then after appearing on several shows including Celebrity MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief, Ayo created The Swim Challenge in 2015 to prove that people of colour can swim.

Ayo is one of four people of colour with a swimming world record, and through The Swim Challenge project he took 15 non-swimming adults of various ethnic backgrounds from across London and redesigned a swimming programme to teach them how to swim.

In 10 weeks the participants went through a gruelling swimming programme helped by the Swim Dem Crew, to try and challenge their fears of the water and furthermore learn to swim. All the participants learned to swim, and even more remarkably, eight participants from the group went on to swim in open water with Ayo in the Great Manchester Swim and Great London Swim.

More recently, Ayo has been broadcasting for BBC One’s Inside Out, Big Tackle on Channel 4, The Premier League Show on BBC Two and also the Premier League for IMG.

Hear first-hand about Ayo’s amazing swimming stories and ambitions at the STA Conference 2019.

Book Your Place

Erika Gleeson
Founder and Clinical Director of Autism Swim

Erika Gleeson (GC Autism Studies, BA Behavioural Science and Communications) is the Founder and Clinical Director of Autism Swim.

Prior to founding the only certification body in the world specific to autism in aquatics, Erika was a Senior Behaviour Specialist for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other abilities.

Erika is a nominee for Young Australian of the Year and the Pride of Australia Awards. Erika is a noted speaker at international conferences and is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on wandering and drowning prevention for those with ASD and other abilities.

Positive Behaviour Support
Understanding behaviours and applying effective strategies are fundamental components in ensuring a successful lesson. This workshop is designed to equip you with the skills needed to understand the functions of behaviours of concern, generate stronger outcomes, and keep everyone safe and happy in their lessons. The evidence-based, Positive Behaviour Support knowledge and strategies taught are applicable to mainstream swimmers as well as those with other abilities. The workshop is run by Senior Behaviour Specialist Erika Gleeson.

Fiona Stevenson
Award-Winning Volunteer

Fiona Stevenson is an award-winning volunteer and an inspirational speaker who talks from her own experiences about overcoming adversity, disability access issues and how she set up Swimming After Surgery (SAS) to help ladies build confidence following a cancer diagnosis.

Fiona is a breast cancer survivor herself and uses her own story to encourage others to go swimming.

Swimming and Cancer
Would you know what to do if someone asked you for help following major surgery or a cancer diagnosis?

This session will show what you or your organisation can do to help them.

Kathleen Grehan
Director of Dot Sign Language

Kathleen is a Deaf Social Sciences graduate and a qualified teacher of British Sign Language with an interest in BSL linguistics.

Since starting Dot Sign Language in 2011, she has made it her mission to deliver first class and inspiring lessons in BSL and deaf awareness. A priority for her has always been to make the learning process enjoyable—as much a social event as an educational experience.

She enjoys going out to businesses, NHS providers, local schools and youth groups to give them a taste of BSL, deaf awareness and deaf culture. Kathleen strongly believes that we should try and engage people of all ages to get them to learn this beautiful, visual language. This way we can eliminate social isolation of deaf people.

She is also a keen swimmer!

Deaf Awareness and British Sign Language (BSL)
  • How would you communicate with a deaf swimmer?
  • Do all deaf people have the same communication needs?
  • Could you instruct a deaf BSL user to line up, jump in and swim a length of breast stroke?

If the answer to these questions is ‘I don’t know’, this session is for you.

Dot Sign Language will be running an information-packed workshop including communication tips, the basics of creating a BSL sign, and lots of swimming vocabulary you will regularly use in your role.

Taught by experienced deaf teacher Kathleen Grehan and interpreted by a qualified BSL interpreter, you can fully immerse yourself in British Sign Language. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have about BSL and deaf culture. The training is relaxed, interactive and involves hands-on practice.

The aim is for you to feel confident that when you meet a deaf person, you will be able to teach using BSL.

Lucas Karemo

One of the region’s leading experts in online marketing is returning to the STA Conference to share his knowledge and love of all things digital at the event.

Lucas Karemo, digital trainer and business coach with Google’s Growth Programme, an independent initiative known as the Google Digital Garage, will be delivering a ‘Digital Advertising Techniques’ workshop on current best practices.

Independently consulting with SME and enterprise clients, regional growth hubs and universities, Lucas provides an opportunity for business owners and delegates to learn how to maximise the use of free organic and paid online marketing techniques, planning, and strategy, content, reporting communications and data analytics within their organisations.

Lucas has developed an extensive career in traditional and digital media, specialising in digital marketing way before the ‘digital storm’ hit, and will provide inspiration and advice to those wishing to grow their business online.

Essential 101 Digital Skills: Digital Advertising Techniques
The Essential 101 Digital Skills: Digital Advertising Techniques workshop takes a hands-on, practical approach, explaining the available platforms and evaluating the free organic and paid advertising options for your organisation.

Formerly known as AdWords, Google Ads has now evolved into a complex feature-rich platform. Whilst it can offer huge opportunities, it can also be difficult to understand and navigate. As a result, a large percentage of campaigns are run at a loss, due to poor setup and management.

Social media platforms have created many new forms of advertising; from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. There are many complex options, and specific rules to follow to get results.

The Digital Advertising Techniques workshop will give attendees both strategic and practical guidance on how to plan, create, manage and optimise their campaigns, maximising the key features within the Google Ads platform, Facebook and other platforms providing attendees with practical advantages using each platform.

This workshop will illustrate the different elements of social media advertising using Facebook as an example, enabling you to return to the office with the knowledge and skills needed to launch your social advertising campaign.

Essential 101 Digital Skills workshops are very interactive, with practical video and, or demonstrations of the Google Ads and other platform interfaces throughout. The workshop also provides invaluable learning for anyone looking to take the Google Ads Certification exams in the future.

Nick Masson
Sales Director at Bigwave Media

Nick has over 12 years’ experience working in the public sector, moving into area management, then to the leisure private sector where he has worked for the last 27 years. He has enjoyed nine years with DC Leisure Management (now Places for People), one of the largest leisure management contractors in the UK working both within the company and with other leisure management providers on an advisory basis as National Operational Partnership Manager.

He has a wealth of experience in developing business performance from both a commercial, participation and service perspective.

More recently, Nick has been involved in the development of over 409 pools’ learn to swim programmes over 200 health and fitness facilities throughout the UK and Wales, worked with several sports development teams and several sport specific performance centres.

Now Sales Director with one of the largest leisure marketing companies in the country, Bigwave Media, Nick works with over 200 leisure and educational clients.

Specialties include a background in marketing, sports and business development within the leisure industry, and supporting the first leisure centre in the country to achieve Quest for Sports Development in 2008.

Nick is currently Board Member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Business Management for Swim School Owners

Toni Murch

Toni has 29 years’ experience in front line emergency medicine both with military service and civilian life. He has worked in some of the remotest and most hostile parts of the world including North Africa (Sahara), South Africa, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Norway to name a few.

This has enabled him to develop a wealth of knowledge in treating casualties in differing environments and he is considered in the medical community as the expert on haemorrhage control. He currently works for Celox™ who are renowned for their innovative, reliable lifesaving medical products for treating the most severe trauma injuries.

A Stepwise Approach to Haemorrhage Control
This session will cover:

  • The why’s and wherefore’s of haemorrhage control
  • The current guidelines for haemorrhage control based on medical evidence
  • The correct use of direct pressure
  • The limitations of pressure dressings
  • The safe and effective use of haemostatic gauze
  • The safe and effective use of tourniquets.

Nicola Milne
Training and Project Development Manager

Nicola Milne has worked for Epilepsy Scotland since 2008, in a variety of roles.

Initially looking after the one-to-one service provision, she then started delivering training for the organisation in 2012, covering epilepsy, person-centred planning, administration of medication, mental health awareness and first aid.

She took on the role of Training Officer in 2017 and joined the Senior Management Team as Training and Project Development Manager in 2018.

Epilepsy Today and Tomorrow
Nicola Milne from Epilepsy Scotland will be updating us with where we stand with current diagnosis and future treatments. Also, a brief overview of the first aid treatment for epilepsy.

Epilepsy Scotland is a national charity providing information, support and guidance to the 55,000 people affected by epilepsy in Scotland, their families and carers.

More Speakers to Be Announced Soon!

See all of these amazing speakers at the STA Conference for just £60—spaces are limited, so book now to ensure you don’t miss out!

Book Your Place