Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Ailish Forfar, I’m a former professional hockey player now working in the world of sports media at Sportsnet. I grew up in a sports loving family playing hockey, soccer, lacrosse and all the sports offered at my elementary school. I was able to represent my country playing for Team Canada before I retired and began my professional career in media. Aside from sports, I also love to travel (when we can!), love music and concerts, and design/fashion. I’m always working actively to amplify women’s sports in my professional career, especially with it being a male-dominated environment covering men’s sports. I’ve been fortunate to work for many major sports media platforms in my career including TSN, Sportsnet, Yahoo Sports, theScore, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays, The Paralympic Winter Games, and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
As an athlete, I have seen firsthand the lack of media coverage female sports continue to get and the various inequalities we face from youth to professional leagues. I try to actively promote and share stories of female athletes of all ages breaking barriers and doing the extraordinary, every day. Major media outlets are responsible for finding, promoting, and creating opportunities for female athletes to share the stage with their male counterparts. This trickle effect of seeing this normalized media coverage will lead to positive sharing, promoting, and commenting on social media platforms where most youth interact.
What would you like to see parents, coaches or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport?
“If you can see it – you can be it.” This is the simplest way I can think of to make meaningful change in sport, by actively seeking and developing diversity in our leaders, decision-makers, and faces of sport. As an athlete playing multiple sports my entire life, I can count on one hand the coaches, managers, directors, scouts, skills coaches and trainers, and who were not white males. I think about the missed opportunities my teammates and I had to learn from other voices, to see other individuals in positions of power, and to encourage a safe space for diverse athletes to participate. It’s not only about putting diversity on display at the professional levels, the change is most meaningful and important at the grassroots levels where so many youth can be discouraged or stop playing sports before they can reap the benefits.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
If you had 25 words worth of advice to share, what would you say?
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Treat yourself with patience, accept that you’ll make mistakes, and praise yourself when you grow from them!
I read a book called The Defining Decade – it’s an enlightening book written by a psychologist about how your 20’s (not your 30’s as most people think) are the most important time of your life. It allowed me to reflect on relationships, goals, values, career aspirations, and what I want next in my life!