Leeds Rhinos assistant coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan will step down from the coaching team at the end of the 2022 Betfred Super League season to take on a new role at the club as the Rhinos first ever Head of Culture, Diversity & Inclusivity.
Jones-Buchanan enjoyed a twenty-year career as a player for his home town club where he enjoyed unparalleled success as part of the Golden Generation. After retiring in 2019, he joined the club’s coaching staff as was part of the backroom team that helped the Rhinos win the Challenge Cup in 2020 at Wembley. However, his new role will see him play a vital role within the organisation to evolve the culture and approach to people.
Commenting on the new position, the 41-year-old said, “When I retired from playing, the original plan was for me to have an involvement across a whole range of departments within the Rhinos as well as starting out on a coaching pathway. When the pandemic hit in my first year, that dictated that I could only be with one group so my focus was solely on coaching and being the best version of a coach that I could be. I have thoroughly enjoyed that experience and I have been privileged to be a part of the lives of this group of players, especially our young stars who have allowed me to impart on them my knowledge.
“However, I have always been proud to be part of our city and community whether that is through my work with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Leeds 2023 or a whole myriad of organisations I have had the fortune to meet through the profile I have been able to gain through Rugby League and Leeds Rhinos. My new role will allow me, with others, to help shape the future direction of the club but also allow me to go out and engage people with Leeds Rhinos whether that is our mens or womens team, our wheelchair, PDRL or LDSL sides or the latest member of the Leeds Rhinos, our Netball franchise.
“It is about making sure we are all on board and pushing in the same direction, whether that is the team, the staff at Kirkstall and Headingley, our partners and importantly our fans, to help change lives through sport. I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunities Leeds Rhinos has given me throughout my life and now this new role allows me to try and hopefully allow even more people across our city to have the opportunity to be part of the Rhinos,” added the former England international.
Leeds Rhinos Operations Director Sue Ward explained why the organisation felt the need to introduce the new role. She commented, “Jamie will be tasked with developing and implementing a Culture, Diversity & Inclusivity (CDI) Strategy that delivers on ambitious performance, employee engagement and retention goals. Jamie’s infectious disposition will enable him to partner with other Department Heads and colleagues to execute initiatives and processes ensuring all departments are aligned with the organisation’s purpose, vision, and values. These strategies will complement the group wide Environmental, Social and Governance strategy and build on existing approaches.
“The whole point of this role is to create a Rhinos culture that is inclusive and caring, and that is why Jamie is perfect for this role. We know that he will always have his colleagues best interests at heart and introduce support mechanisms to ensure that everyone brings their whole self to work.
“Jamie already has a vast amount of knowledge of the Club’s demographic and how each element interacts with each other both on and off the field. He is a perfect fit for this new role, and I am sure he will bring the same drive for success to this new challenge as he did throughout his playing and coaching career to date.”