Women's role in sport tackled at our networking event

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The female boss of the North Wales Rugby League squad has spoken out about how gender shouldn’t be an obstacle when aiming for the top.

Hanna Clarke, the General Manager of the North Wales Crusaders rugby league team, gave an inspiring speech at our West Cheshire Women’s Network about how she doesn’t let gender differences get in the way of her career.

The event was organised by Ellis and Co in partnership with NatWest Bank, the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce and Cheshire West and Cheshire Council.

Hanna began her career as a Leisure Manager at Llyndir Hall Hotel in Rossett where the networking event was held and worked at Brook Hotels and Total Fitness as a Sales Manager before joining the Crusaders in Wrexham.

In her current role Hanna oversees the day to day running of the club which includes marketing and business development, hospitality, sales and fundraising.

The mum-of-two also promotes the youth programme which is designed to develop Welsh talent into the professional ranks.

Hanna said: “I don’t think I notice how male dominated sport is, but I have started to think about it more as it is a topic which regularly comes up on social media.

“For instance when Gabby Logan came out and said she has had rude songs chanted at her – I’ve had that as well.

“I’ve also been asked whether I like sport, to which I respond I wouldn’t be doing the job I’m in otherwise and men sometimes ask whether I understand the offside rule.”

“There shouldn’t be sexism though as I’m just as able as any man to do the job but I don’t notice sexism at the club, people respond to me in the same way as they would do a man in my position,” she added.

“I’m also happy to challenge men if I think they’re wrong and to agree with them if I think they’re right, in the same way I would if it was a woman.”

The North Wales Crusaders are the successors to the former Super League Club Crusaders and compete in the Kingstone Press League 1 behind the Super League and Kingstone Press Championship.

The team won the championship in 2013 and has successfully launched the North Wales Crusaders Foundation to work closely with schools, community groups and other bodies.

Claire Tinston, the Marketing Manager at Ellis & Co, said: “Hanna gave a fascinating insight into what it’s like working in a senior position in a man’s world.

“She made it clear that gender shouldn’t be an obstacle to achieving your goals and anything’s possible if you approach a work situation with the attitude that men and women are on an equal footing.”

NatWest’s Relationship Manager Johanna Holehouse added: “Hanna managed to convey how it’s possible for women to work confidently and rise through the ranks in any profession, even in a very male dominated area like sport."