Dr Sara Ward has begun her new role as Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community.
Sara takes the reins as the successor to Neil Hart, who has stepped up to become CEO of Burnley FC.
Both find themselves in the unique situation of starting new jobs in the wake of a coronavirus pandemic that has effectively shut down normal life.
However, Sara believes that Burnley FC in the Community is well placed to withstand the present challenges – and will come back stronger once normal business resumes.
She said: “Starting a new role in a pandemic certainly gets the adrenaline pumping, but I am a firm believer that we will get through this and come out stronger.
“Yes, we’ve have had to adapt, like everyone else in the country, but the team have been doing lots of work remotely and serve the most needy in our community, such as continuing to help families through the Foodbank.”
Sara joins the official charity of Burnley FC from University Academy 92 in Manchester, where she held the position of Dean of Academic Studies.
Previously, she worked at Manchester Metropolitan University for 10 years, covering all aspects of teaching and learning in sports management, sports participation, coaching and sport leadership.
Sara, who has a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School, added: “I have a 25-year career in business and education in sport in Manchester, and I have always been attracted to the backroom operations of a football club, and certainly the Community Trust and what football clubs deliver off the pitch.
“I was really drawn to this role because it brings everything I have accomplished in my career to the fore and I am delighted to be starting the job.
“One of the first things that struck me is the diversity of the community project. It is testament to Neil and his team in what they have achieved and accomplished over the past six years.
“I am going to continue to reflect and consolidate on the Community Trust’s growth and in a strange way, I think the pandemic can be the catalyst for reflection and future planning.
“In the short-term it’s about trying to recover from this situation as quickly as we can and then we can assess what the new life of normality looks like once the lockdown eases.
“What we need to remember is that we were strong when the pandemic hit, and I can’t see why we can’t become even stronger when we recover from it.”
Everyone at Turf Moor would like to welcome Sara and wish her well in her new role.