Garnet is currently employed as Head of Equality at Sport England and the youngest member of the RFU Council. Garnet has played rugby for over 10 years; been part of the England U20s squad, gained England 7s caps and played for Premiership Clubs including Saracens, Wasps and most recently Exeter Chiefs. Although she officially retired earlier this year, Garnet is still involved in 7s in a social capacity and aims to drive the women and girls section of her local club, Okehampton RFC.
Garnet is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion and excited to be a part of organising an event that could have a significant impact on her community.
James spent over two decades in professional rugby, playing in the premier leagues in England and France, and as an England Sevens International on the World Series. Post-playing career, James became the first professional Black head coach of an England rugby team. In this capacity, through culture-driven leadership, James lead the England Women’s Sevens team to a Bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, through a Rugby Sevens World Cup and qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
His continuing role in the game, means that James has advisory roles particularly with regards to Diversity & Inclusion at the highest levels within the sport.Increasingly drawing on his twenty-years of experience working in high-performance teams, and using his unique insight and cultural understanding, James works with leaders and teams to create cultures that maximise their diverse talent.
Marissa is incredibly passionate about giving others an opportunity to experience rugby and the benefits it can bring, both on and off the pitch. She has worked for the RFU for 7 years, in roles across the Community Rugby team and now Inclusion & Diversity. Prior to this, she undertook an internship with the London Youth Games, which emphasised the positive impact of sport on young people across the capital. Marissa formerly played for Wasps in the Women’s Premiership, with her rugby playing career included county and divisional honours. She currently volunteers as the Women’s Team Manager at a local club.
An entrepreneur cum activist, broadcaster turned filmmaker, Leon Mann MBE has devoted his career to bringing life to incredible stories throughout the world of sport. At the heart of his passion for the industry, his filming and campaigns present inspiring athletes, coaches, and sports executives with a platform to tell their piece. In doing so, he saw an opportunity to launch his own consultancy and production agency, and is now collaborating with some of the world’s top sporting talents. Leon is also working to enable inclusivity across the sport and media landscape, wholesale, by supporting content creators and advocating greater diversity within sport’s media and governance.
Ralph is currently employed as the Head of HR at UK Athletics, supporting the organisation to maintain the advance level of the equality standard in sport. While also being the Vice Chair of the RFU I&D Implementation Working Group. He is a former Bristol rugby player making 436 first XV appearances, represented England RFU at B, U23 and Sevens.
Ralph is an accomplished Senior HR Business Partner with over 30 years’ experience, gained through working with small to medium business enterprises and global blue chip organisations. Possessing strong leadership abilities and extensive experience across the full range of HR generalist functions.
In recent years he has become a mentor to a number of young business leaders from the ethnically diverse community. In July 2022, Ralph was appointed to as a Non-Executive Director for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation.
As a former RFU Community Rugby Coach and Club Developer, Sagan has been involved in the growth of community rugby for close to fifteen years. Mainly based in Middlesex and inner London but operating all over the Southeast of England. Sagan’s involvement with community clubs, Saracens Foundation and the RFU, has allowed him to be well placed to champion underrepresented groups or those from non-traditional rugby playing backgrounds.
He as always strived to develop meaningful opportunities and pathways within Rugby and wider society. Sagan is incredibly proud and passionate about his involvement in the women’s game and those he has mentored and supported via coach and match official development.
West African born, with eclectic interests and experiences, Sagan has had a diverse working background in performing arts, radio, and filmmaking. Always managing to keep up with youth and community engagement via various volunteering environments, workshops and facilitating discussions.
For Sagan, The Rugby Black List marks a huge opportunity for a step change in society, to amplify the achievements of black people in rugby and make it attainable for more black communities.
Simon is a current professional player for Sale Sharks, and a member of the Players’ Union Diversity and Inclusion Board. Simon has been playing rugby for the last 14 years, starting at the Sale Sharks Academy before moving to play for Wasps. He spent 10 years there before moving back to his hometown club.
Away from the pitch, Simon has been vocal in championing fair opportunities for ethnically diverse communities and has actively participated in consultations in the D&I space for various organisations, including the RFU. Recently, he used his Masters degree research to explore and deepen his understanding of the issues surrounding representation at board level in Rugby Union in this country.
His desire for the legacy of the Rugby Blacklist, is to celebrate all of the black community within rugby and to use the role models commemorated to encourage greater engagement with underrepresented groups.