To mark International Womens Day, get to know Derbyshire County FA Chief Executive, Dawn Heron.
Dawn joined the Derbyshire County FA in January 2001 as Assistant County Secretary to support the Association Secretary with secretarial, financial and IT areas. Dawn took over as Chief Executive Officer of Derbyshire County Football Association on 1st July 2010.
Tell us a little bit about your role at Derbyshire FA?
As Chief Executive Officer I am responsible for the day to day running of the business and accountable to the DCFA Board of Directors for business and financial matters.
What have your previous roles been?
In my previous roles I’ve been engaged with Sales and finance in the Office Equipment Industry but joined Derbyshire County FA 16 years ago as Assistant Association Secretary in order to help move the business forward with IT and software packages. During my start at the organisation there were only 3 other members of staff and therefore I was involved with many aspects of the business including affiliation, discipline, league sanctioning, development planning and safeguarding. Over the years the County FA has expanded with the support from The FA and now has a workforce of 12 paid staff but none of the work of the County FA could be achieved without the support and dedication from the hundreds of volunteers that help to allow football to thrive in the county.
What are your hobbies, what do you do in your spare time?
Football wasn’t played at school by girls when I was attending and although I did have kickabouts in the park with friends I ended up playing netball, basketball and hockey in the school teams and at county level at netball and basketball. During my twenties I also played indoor cricket and outdoor cricket both mixed and women’s only. Over the years my spare time has been playing, coaching and officiating netball, all in a voluntary role and although I am still involved in netball I manage my hobbies around work and personal life. If there is any ‘spare’ time then watching football and supporting whether it be local football or the professional game.
Any advice for women wanting a career in football?
There has never been a better opportunity to get involved with football as a female and whether it is volunteering to gain skills and knowledge there are more opportunities for women in football. Get involved with local clubs, upskill yourself in all areas of business and opportunities will develop. There are more women involved in media for the game, coaching, refereeing and I would advise anyone wanting to be involved to apply for roles within football. Determination, hard work, focus and respect will help anyone succeed.
Have you noticed any changes in attitudes to females in football since you started working in the game?
There is definitely more respect for women involved now in football and the game itself is going from strength to strength. The Lionesses beating USA in the SheBelieves Cup shows how the female game has developed and this will give them a great boost heading towards the Euros this year.
I feel privileged to work in the game that some many people love and have tried futsal and walking football but due to an injury and available time I’m unable to play on a regular basis. There are many other opportunities to try the game in different formats and I would encourage anyone who has a passion for the game to get involved.
Derbyshire County FA will be supporting the day by having a stall at the Derby celebrations on Saturday 11th March 10am to 4pm in Derby’s Market Place. For more information on what’s happening during the day please visit: www.womensdayderby.wordpress.com
or internationally www.internationalwomensday.com