AlumniKirsty McNab

Course studied: BA (Hons) Sport in the Community, 2003

Position at time of writing: CEO of Scottish Sports Futures

Interesting fact: Kirsty broke her leg in three places when travelling round the world on her own, it didn’t stop her and just meant she had a fun three months in Mexico recovering!

Tell us about your background

I graduated from Strathclyde in 2003 after four happy and life changing years at university making lifelong friends and spending every summer adventuring to different places around the world. I’ve been fortunate to put my learning into practice in a variety of roles including local authority with Renfrewshire Council, third sector with Youth Scotland, governing body of sport with Badminton Scotland and for the last nine years with Scottish Sports Futures. I believe passionately in the power of sport to change lives and I am as active in my own life as I am leading and influencing change. I became the CEO when I was 38, something I am immensely proud of.

Why did you choose Strathclyde?

I loved the content of the course I chose – Sport in the Community. We studied a variety of really interesting subjects that have been completely relevant in my career such as sociology, psychology, and management as well as sports studies and development.

I really enjoyed the cross subject work and my dissertation tutor was the head of community studies at the time, support which prompted my career path.

What is the best part of your job?

I love the variety of the role and day to day work. I love that I can influence and lead our strategic direction and feel connected to our young people at the same time. I know we are making a real difference and I love that my job allows me to talk about that and share our approach.

What has been your most memorable moment from your career?

Being involved in the legacy from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with our Active East programme.

The Active East programme was funded by The Robertson Trust, The Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief and managed by Scottish Sports Futures (SSF). The aim was to create a legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games for young people in the East of Glasgow by increasing levels of physical activity and building skills through volunteering. With an annual budget of around £140,000, the Active East Programme was designed around two defined strands:

  • Active Champions - Active Champions are young people aged 14-25 who are willing to volunteer to support sport and physical activities for children and young people living in the East End of Glasgow; and
  • Small Grants Project - To support new opportunities for young people in the East End, the Small Grants initiative was launched to allow local youth clubs/groups/organisations to apply for funding to deliver sessions in physical activity and sport.

Those few months and the time leading up and years following were a huge career highlight. The learning from that work has influenced me, our organisation and the sector and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I’d like to grow our organisation to work with more communities and always have young people at our heart. I would love for one of those young people to have my job one day.