Who we are

Ken Ken Cowen devised the School of Hard Knocks concept in 2007, and has been CEO of the charity since is creation in 2012. His background is predominantly in the creation and development of bespoke training solutions across a wide range of settings. He has worked in the private, public and charitable sectors and has a rich background in public speaking and communications. CEO
Jack Jack Lewars has served as a trustee of two charities and brings a wealth of knowledge in charitable governance and project management.  He is also deeply involved in rugby, having worked for Cambridge University rugby club and the RFU, as well as refereeing with the London Society. Operations Director
Nathan Nathan Persaud is a trained sport psychology consultant with a background in sport for social change. Having also worked within education, he brings a unique knowledge of effective employability delivery and how to have maximum positive impact on a person’s behaviour. Programmes Director, England
Greg

Greg Cann has a strong record in sport development and coaching through working with the RFU, Scottish Rugby and currently North Glasgow Homes, where his role is to oversee their Sports Legacy project.  Greg works for NG Homes delivering our joint Pit Stops programme.

Programme manager, Pit Stops
DEBORAH GRIFFIN OBE Deborah is one of the great influencers behind the amazing growth in women’s rugby in England having been a founding member of the WRFU and Chair of the first Women’s World Cup. She is a chartered accountant and is currently the Bursar at Homerton College, Cambridge University. Chair of Trustees
ANDY GOMARSALL MBE Andy played rugby union for England 35 times and was involved in the World Cup winning squad of 2003. He played a central role in the 2007 World Cup, as well as playing in the final. He has a strong standing in the business world as well as in the sporting arena and is a passionate supporter of SOHK.
JONNY BARRETT Jonny played professional rugby for London Wasps between 2001-07 and played for England at various representative levels. He was a member of the squad that won 2 Heineken Cups and 4 Premiership Titles. Since his retirement through injury, he now works for as a broker in the City.
JON TECKMAN Jon’s career history includes CEO of the BFI, Treasurer of the BBFC, faculty member of the Ashridge Business School and member of BAFTA. He has also previously served as Chief Executive of a national education charity.
OLLY SPRY Olly is a Director at RBC Wealth Management and a registered Investment Advisor. His previous experience is as an Equity Sales Trader, but outside of work he is a keen sports fan.
ADRIAN McCORMICK Adrian is a Finance Manager at TalkTalk, with previous experience within strategy and finance at RBS. Treasurer
NEIL RUDGE Neil has worked in Financial Services for over 20 years. He is currently Head of UK Corporate and Commercial Treasury Sales Risk Solution Group at Santander.
DAVE THOMAS Dave runs the bootcamp business City Strongman, as well as being a performance coach for RugbyDump and working as SOHK’s Head of Marketing and PR. If you are interested in a marketing opportunity for SOHK, he can be reached via dave@schoolofhardknocks.org.uk
SCOTT QUINNELL Former Welsh captain and rugby legend, Scott represented his country at rugby union on 52 occasions. He toured with the British Lions twice, and has represented the Barbarians. Scott is a pundit for Sky Sports and presents School of Hard Knocks alongside fellow Lion, Will Greenwood.
ANDY GRANT Andy Grant is a former Royal Marine Commando who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before he was severely injured, eventually losing his right leg.  Rather than see this as a barrier, however, Andy has adapted and overcome, his inspirational story across the country. He encapsulates perfectly the attitude and values of SOHK.
NIGEL OWENS Nigel Owens is one of the world's leading rugby referees. Highly respected, he has officiated in many of the sport's key matches, including 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups and the 2014 Rugby World Cup Final. Openly gay, Owens was recently awarded Sportsperson of the Decade by the charity Stonewall. He is a longtime friend of School of Hard Knocks, having refereed the final match for both the Birmingham and Cardiff series.
MAGGIE ALPHONSI MBE Maggie Alphonsi MBE is the face of international women’s rugby and arguably one of the most well-known names in women’s team sports on the planet. Most recently she was a crucial member of the team that won the 2014 Rugby World Cup for the first time in 20 years, and was part of the team that was crowned the BBC’s Sports Personality Team of the Year.

This is the main SOHK management team – we have other integral staff running our courses, based in our office and making sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

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