Nick joined Virtus in January 2013 as the organisation’s first Executive Director and is responsible for operational and strategic management.
He previously held a national role in sport for athletes with an intellectual disability in England and has also served on the Executive Committee of Virtus Europe.
Nick is based in United Kingdom.
Debbie van Biesen
Virtus Academy Manager
Debbie joins as the Virtus Academy Manager – a new initiative to develop a global hub of research, training, and education to be launched in 2021.
After seven years of full-time postdoctoral research at KU Leuven (Belgium), Debbie will divide her time across both organisations, leveraging on international and evidenced-based knowledge of elite athletes with intellectual disability and autism. She has published more than 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles in top journals in herfield.
Debbie’s research specialised in the domains of ‘Adapted Physical Activity’ and ‘Disability Sport’, with the focus of her research on the role of cognition on sports performance among elite Paralympic athletes with intellectual disabilities.
During her PhD, she contributed to the development of evidence-based classification systems for elite athletes with intellectual disability (ID), that led to their re-inclusion in the Paralympic Games. Afterward, she was appointed as the coordinator of the “International Research and Development Centre for Classification of Athletes with Intellectual Impairments”, which was officially recognised by the International Paralympic Committee. In that position, she coordinated a collaborative network of national and international research groups and representatives of sports organisations, to perform cutting-edge research with an impact on society.
Debbie has broad expertise as a researcher, beyond evidence-based classification. She was involved in numerous projects related to coaching para-athletes, psychosocial aspects of disabilities, health-enhancing physical activity, and performance optimisation.
Debbie is based in Belgium.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Mousumi joined Virtus as the Marketing and Communications Officer in February 2022 with the aim of enhancing Virtus brand visibility and fostering effective communication. Her responsibilities encompass crafting compelling content, overseeing the company’s social media presence, and aligning messaging with Virtus goals.
Mousumi first supported Virtus first time during her Masters’s degree in 2018 – by covering the 2018 European Summer Games in Paris and continued volunteering for Virtus at numerous events including the 2019 Global Games and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games while working on her full-time job at GEMS Cambridge International School, Sharjah, UAE. She was promoted to her current role and joined Virtus full-time in February 2022.
Mousumi has a strong passion to work in the para-sport sector and brings fresh digital marketing and communication ideas to the team.
Mousumi is based in India.
Partnerships and Events Advisor
Nithi joined Virtus in May 2020 in a marketing & communications consultancy role and from August 2023 moved into an advisory role to grow Virtus Partnerships and Events.
Nithi continues to champion the Virtus brand, through strategic relationships and engagement, providing advice and guidance to Virtus members on brand advocacy and legacy, and organising committees on brand guidelines for event development and planning.
She brings 20 years’ experience in engagement, communications, marketing strategy, branding, and event management within private, public, and not-for-profit sectors from Australia, NZ, USA, Malaysia and UK.
As an advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Nithi uses her diverse skills and expertise in storytelling to amplify the awareness for women and girls, people of colour and athletes with disabilities, specifically intellectual impairments.
Nithi is based in Australia.
Anti Doping Officer
Juliana Soares joined Virtus as the Virtus Anti-Doping Officer in September 2023.
Juliana initially served as a member of the Virtus Anti-Doping Committee from 2014-2023.
Juliana brings an impressive wealth of experience and expertise spanning fifteen years, acquired from her involvement in numerous national and international events, including the Para Pan American Games, Virtus Global Games, IBSA World Games, Para Sula American Games, and the Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her unwavering commitment to ensuring fair competition aligns seamlessly with our core values, and we look forward to her valuable contributions to maintaining the integrity of our sport.
In her new role, Juliana will oversee anti-doping areas such as testing, monitoring, the TUE application process, compliance, reporting, and the development of education and training programs aimed at athletes, coaches, and other stakeholders. Her mission is to promote a sporting environment that is both clean and free from performance-enhancing drugs.
Juliana is based in Brazil.