Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in athletics, from softball and volleyball to track and cross country. I loved sports and being included in a team environment.
I stopped playing sports after high school. I moved from a small town to a city and didn’t know how to get involved. After a few years, a friend of mine asked me to join her coed ultimate frisbee team. It was a life changing experience.
I have now been playing Ultimate for over 20 years – both recreationally and competitively. Ultimate has become a major part of my life. I have made the most amazing friendships and even met my husband. Ultimate is a community. Teammates become lifelong friends locally and around the world.
Fitness has always been very important to me. I was a personal trainer for 20 years and transitioned to massage therapy over 6 years ago. The human body fascinates me. How it works and just how complex it is. Staying fit well into my forties is very important and a constantly changing and challenging experience.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
I am all about empowering other women. Be it in sports, careers, or life.
For years, as a woman, I was always comparing myself to others. Why didn’t I get that job? Why didn’t I make that team? Why is that person regarded better than me? I grew a little chip on my shoulder that often made me doubt myself and resent others. I felt I had to be aggressive to show I had worth. I had to prove that I was good enough.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I was devastated. I was afraid. But I didn’t ask “why me?” I approached my diagnosis as one of life’s lessons. I had lost focus of my own health and needed to place myself and my health at the forefront of my priorities.
I went through over a year of chemotherapy and surgeries to beat cancer. There were ups and downs but I know that I am stronger for it today.
Cancer is something that affects all of us, whether we experience it directly or through a loved one. I was pretty healthy before my diagnosis. I ate right, exercised a lot. I was fit! I strongly believe that my mental and emotional issues encouraged the growth of cancer in my body.
Now my goal is to encourage others to ensure they have sufficient self-care. Not just the physical, but all things that help them to reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and to love themselves first.
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches, or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
I have seen toxic culture in women’s sports for years, as a coach, team captain, player, and observer. Teams suffer from clique formation, unhealthy competition with peers, and jealousy of teammates.
I would love to see parents and coaches teaching young humans to appreciate the value that each of them bring to a team or other group environment. There is room for everyone and there is value in everyone.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
Years ago a friend of mine told me, “comparison is the thief of joy”, a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. I feel that these words ring even more true today. People are constantly comparing themselves to others, often in excess. I remind myself of those words at least once a day.
Another wise human being once wrote, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There’s no one alive who is Youer than You” (Dr. Seuss).