Rebecca Wood is the youngest ever board member at Huddersfield Giants and is one of only a handful of women at boardroom level in Super League.
Rebecca, 25, is a tax advisor with accountancy firm BDO and was appointed to the Giants board in April this year. As the grand-daughter of Giants owner Ken Davy and his late wife Jennifer, Rebecca has been a familiar face in the directors’ box at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Jennifer Davy passed away in 2017 and Rebecca hopes to make her grandma proud in her new role.
“My grandma supported the Giants from when she was a young girl,” said Rebecca. “As she grew up she met Ken and they got together. Ken bought the club in 1996 after being encouraged by grandma when it was in financial difficulty and could have gone out of business.
“I think it would be huge for us to win something and it would be redemption for me and Ken in memory of grandma. Ken deserves it for the amount of time, effort and money he has put into the club. He has been chairman and owner my whole life.
“I have never known any difference and so I know how much they love the club and will always love it. If we won something it would be very special for me.”
That love between two generations of family was clearly seen when the Giants lost to Wigan in the 2022 Challenge Cup final as Rebecca and Ken stood side by side at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after the game.
She said: “I got very upset at the Challenge Cup final. Ken went down to the pitch and I went down with him because I didn’t want him to feel alone, it was difficult at the end of the game.
“I think because we had that little taste of a final and to come so close it hurt when we lost. All Ken and Jennifer have ever wanted is the club to be competitive and succeed.”
Rebecca enjoyed her first season at the club and says now she has got used to her new role she wants to take things forward and try new ideas out to help increase the club’s supporter base.
She said: “I’m still figuring out how a professional club runs. There are lots of things that happen that a supporter doesn’t see. It has been a big learning curve for me, I have found it interesting and enjoyed the first few months in my role so far.
“I don’t think I’ve been able to have the impact I wanted to make straight away just because there has been so much to learn. However I am hoping now that I have my bearings I can make more of a difference.
“A lot of the board members are older than me and they are male. So the reason I was asked to join is because I can help to bring a fresh new perspective to the table.
“I can bring ideas to the club. I’m not saying my ideas are the best or that they will work but I am here to help the club grow. Obviously my knowledge of social media and how it works means I can understand what people my age want to see and then I can suggest things which might help boost our crowds.”
Rebecca is not fazed about coming into a male dominated sport and is pleased that females are now being given more opportunities to get involved in the sport than ever before.
She said: “At boardroom level it is still a male dominated sport. However, times are changing and the RFL have rolled out a project to encourage clubs to have a more diverse board.
“Hopefully that will help make clubs think about how to bring more women into senior positions. At Huddersfield 30% of our supporter base is female and I’d love to expand that.
“Every club is different and I don’t think a board position can just be handed to anyone. However, I’m not going to sit here and say there shouldn’t be more women in the sport because there should be.”
Finally, Rebecca reflected on last season and her hopes for the future.
She said: “We had a great season last season. If you would have said to us at the beginning of the year we would have finished third, got into the play-offs and been in a Challenge Cup final I think we would have taken that at the start. I am really proud of the boys and staff. It made my first year very easy, which was good.
“Obviously we didn’t get what we wanted and with the amount of games we had I think it just ground us down a bit. It was disappointing in how it ended, to what was a great season.
“We want to be successful on and off the field as a club. We want to help the team be as good as possible whether that’s through new recruits, better training equipment or increasing the supporter base which will make the stadium a real fortress of noise.”