Skip to content

Tunji Akintokun: England Athletics

Name of project / organisation

Diversity in Sport Leadership programme

Sport / activity


Athletics has always been Tunji Akintokun’s passion. From his younger years as an elite competitor to later years as an avid spectator, the sport has given him a platform on which to build his professional career.

Now established as a director at a global professional service firm with various non-executive director roles at social enterprises, Tunji felt a longing to give back to the sport he fell in love with.

But with no direct professional experience in the sports industry, he knew he needed to go through a period of education before he was ready to take the leap. 

That is when we and international executive search firm Perret Laver approached Tunji about the Diversity in Sport Leadership programme.

"I was very interested as it would give me the necessary insight into how national governing bodies in sport worked,” says Tunji.

"The programme provided an excellent platform of understanding to wait for a suitable role to become available within the athletics arena."

Tunji then set his sights on a role with England Athletics. He says the programme with us and Perrett Laver provided him with the necessary skills and confidence to take on the role. 

"It gave me vital preparation by outlining the structures within sporting bodies, the relationship with UK Athletics and the home countries, funding and most importantly that diverse skills from a range of backgrounds were required at the board level, which gave me the confidence that my experience would be valued."

Tunji says the role has been a hugely rewarding one to take on alongside his full-time role. "It has offered me an opportunity to combine my passion for sport and professional skills to make a difference at grass roots level," he adds. their search capability."

Anyone thinking of taking on a board role in sport that should reach out to someone from a diverse background on a sporting body board and ask them what it is like.

Tunji Akintokun

Non-executive director, England Athletics

Since taking up his role in England Athletics, Tunji has been active in driving diversity initiatives at all levels of the organisation, and he believes diversity at board level is key to this.

"In any organisation, you can only drive diversity by ensuring people see people that look like them at the top", he says. "In sport this is no different. Boards should reflect the people they represent, and this in itself encourage wider participation and a feeling of inclusiveness." 

Tunji’s advice for others considering a board role? "Anyone thinking of taking on a board role in sport that should reach out to someone from a diverse background on a sporting body board and ask them what it is like. 

"They should certainly consider completing the Diversity in Sport Leadership programme and then apply for roles in sporting bodies they are interested in. Sport England and Perrett Laver have been excellent in running the Diversity in Sport Leadership programme and also highlighting opportunities within sporting bodies through

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.