Former CEO of British Canoeing – Paul Owen, OBE – appointed as Operations Director for The Age Diversity Forum
For more than 20 years, Paul was a key figure in the British Olympic Committee, including the success of London 2012, and the development of the Paralympic movement. And now, as well as a board member of “Get Berkshire Active” and a successful stint as Interim CEO of the German School in Berkshire, Paul has now taken on a fresh challenge with the Age Diversity Forum.
“When I finished my long career with British Sport, I thought I would be able to ease into some sort of retirement but that just isn’t the case!” he says. “I have found that many over 50’s like me are just not ready to finish work, but finding a new job is a sobering process.”
Paul has an impressive CV, as British Canoeing’s top man for over 23-years and being awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his hard work – taking canoeing from a niche sport to the heights of the 2012 Olympics and the establishment of the Whitewater Centre in the Lea Valley.
Under his leadership, British canoeing grew from a small organisation that was practically insolvent, to one which now has over 70,000 members and a further 2 million participants in the UK. Paul drove the success of this growth, with his innovative thinking and by encouraging the workforce to buy into the his aims for the sport, with the creation of a positive work culture.
Paul is passionate about equality and is prepared to stand up and be counted when he sees inequality and unfair situations. In particular, he has been a key advocate in taking forward the participation of women in canoeing and in developing the sport for people with a disability.
He is now applying all this experience to another area of discrimination, one that he has experienced personally “I have come across age discrimination when looking for a job to keep me going and I intend to challenge traditional attitudes by highlighting the positives of a diversified workforce, particularly by working with the Age Diversity Forum.” he explains.
Steve Anderson, CEO of the Age Diversity Forum, adds “We are delighted to welcome Paul to the organisation. We are at an exciting time in the growth of the Age Diversity Forum and want to show that the benefits of an age diverse workforce can provide a rich and positive return for employers.”
And Paul is already finding plenty to keep him busy – from giving talks to business organisations about his personal job quest and some of the barriers he has had to overcome, to high level meetings with employers and training providers about the various initiatives and membership options in support of the Age Diversity Forum.
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