In Memoriam: Suzanne Genery, 1964-2012
Suzanne Genery lived a colourful sporting life that began with a passion for karate and led to a lifelong career in sport, spanning elite, grassroots and community involvement and leaving a lasting legacy of excellence. It is with great sadness we report that she passed away on the evening of the 30 April 2012 after a short illness, aged 47.
Suzanne acted as a consultant to British Rowing’s coaching team and UKCC endorsement, and was leading the developments on the Level 4 Coaching course – a joint venture with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). “Suzanne was a very special person, and will be truly missed,” said Rosie Mayglothling, Technical Co-ordinator of the GB Rowing Team.
Suzanne moved to the BEF in October 2005 as Consultant Coaching Manager before being appointed Head of Sports Development in June 2007. Jumping in with both feet, as was her way, she learnt to ride and took up the loan of a horse called Flyte, so as to fully understand the new environment that she was working in.
As an experienced coach educator Suzanne led the BEF to the development and successful delivery of an effective coaching system which has transformed the coaching landscape in the sport. To achieve this, Suzanne inspired all 18 member bodies of the BEF to form the Coaching Development Action Team. Chairing the forum with her usual tact, diplomacy and humour, Suzanne successfully implemented and sustained the first unified Equestrian Coaching Strategy with the subsequent endorsement of UKCC programmes at all three levels in 27 disciplines.
Her work was recognised in 2009 when the BEF won Governing Body of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards. Jo Jones, Coaching Systems Manager at Sports Coach UK commented “Suzanne, like no one else I know, had the unique ability to take a team with her on a journey to coaching excellence. She is a great loss to British sport; her leadership, enthusiasm, passion and determination for coaching should be an example to us all. I have such fond, warm and funny memories of the most energetic, witty, warm, generous and caring lady I have ever met.”
As well as her role as consultant for British Rowing, Suzanne worked tirelessly mentoring and supporting other sports to develop their coach education structure. She played an integral role in the Coaching Standards Group and was a member of the Government’s Coaching Legacy Steering Group (chaired by Steve Redgrave) and the Coaching Excellence Working Group.
Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF commented: “Suzanne has been a powerful, loyal, professional and joyous member of our equestrian family, to the world of sport and to coaches and coaching people. Her loss will be hard to measure for us all both as friends, sportsmen and women and professionals in the sporting community.”
Suzanne was a true professional and her accomplishments, as well as the spirit in which they were achieved, will continue to shape the lives of many friends, colleagues, coaches and athletes sport wide. She brought her lively, generous personality to everything she did and it is perhaps for this that she will be so fondly remembered and most missed. Her special brand of humour and wit – often gloriously inappropriate – and a penchant for self coined ‘career limiting moments’ (particularly in the presence of her CEO) endeared her to all who had the joy of knowing her.
As one colleague summed up: “A light to lighten the world has been extinguished… it was a privilege and a pleasure to work with this very special person who managed to combine sheer professionalism with total madness and do it all with such aplomb.”