Pam Danis



Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 


Well, growing up I played ALL sports – I was your typical TOMBOY and loved being on the ice, baseball diamond and in the gym. I was considered your “natural” athlete who played with the BOYS because there were no teams/programs for girls. My first experience playing basketball which was the sport I ultimately excelled at did not occur until I was in grade 7 which in today’s standard is very late to be picking up a sport BUT because I was athletic and had played other sports, I was able to pick up the game quickly. In my grade 9 year I played high-level ringette, basketball, volleyball, badminton, soccer which again is unheard of now but for many females of my generation this was common. Eventually I narrowed my sports to basketball and volleyball and was recruited heavily in both — in my first year of university I still couldn’t decide on which sport I wanted to play so at the University of North Dakota recruited for me for both and I played on the volleyball team and was a red shirt on the basketball team – Ironically I ended heading back to Canada to play basketball and played 4 years at the University of Winnipeg where I won three national championships and tied a North American record for most wins (88 Games).


How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?


Growing up and playing on a number of sports teams I learned invaluable lessons and would not be the wife, mother, coach, mentor, friend and professional that I am today without those experiences …. I have experienced tremendous “LOSSES” and tremendous “WINS” from playing sports and being part of teams and it is through those lived experiences that I have been able to navigate my own path ……. I AM WHO I AM BECAUSE OF SPORTS – I also believe that when one door closes, three will open and when there were times when I struggled as a player or as a coach and thought the world was UNFAIR ….… I eventually found that circumstances happen for a reason and although it is not pleasant at the time things do turn around and they typically make your stronger from them.

Who is a leader you admire and why?


I have been very fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life — early on my primary mentors were my male coaches — including my dad, my high school and university coaches but over time I have had outside influences who have really shaped me — those include women in my life who were female University Coaches who showed me that you could be a COACH and still raise a family, my date (husband) has had a tremendous influence on me and that he has showed me how to be more compassionate and look at the world thru a different lens — my daughter Maya who has been raised by a mom who is a COACH has taught me to remember I need to be a MOM first and coach second and I like to think I am a better coach now because of that life lesson and to my son Luc who has taught me the importance of gender equity and that as much as we need to invest in our young women we also need to invest just as much in our young men.

Have you experienced failure or a barrier that you have learned from? From that experience, what advice would you share with young athletes?


I have experienced many failures both as a player and as a coach and failure is part of being involved in sports …… My advice for young female athletes who are facing their own struggles either on the playing field or in life is to seek out others. When I was growing up especially as a female it was seen as a weakness to ask for help or to show a weakness ….… I believe that is a LOAD OF BULL ….. as human beings we are all vulnerable and part of growing as a person is realizing we are not all perfect and that is okay – we should never SETTLE on the court, in the classroom or in the community we should strive to EXCEL but when we do fail and we will – try and learn from those failures and DO BETTER the next time.