WEEK #16: KARIN LOFSTROM
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and found my love of sport through the encouragement of my Phys Ed teachers and parents. I was not a superstar in any one sport but played many over the years. Coming from a less populated province I was able to make provincial teams and club teams and went to National Championships in Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Broomball, Team Handball. I got to play in the 1st ever Women’s Ice Hockey Championships in Branford, Ontario so will always be part of “herstory”.
My passion for sport pointed me in the direction of a degree in Physical Education but I found I liked organizing sport events more then teaching so moved to sport administration. When I moved to Ottawa for my first real job working at Canada Basketball I also continued playing sports: touch football, ice and field hockey, softball, skiing, cycling and golf. I think I have tried most sports but after a bad break of my leg I had to stop running so put my competitive energy into playing golf. I joined a golf club and started focussing on my golf game. It took awhile but I won the Club Championship at my course, Greyhawk Golf Club last summer. Besides playing sport I got be involved in sport through my career with jobs as the National Teams Coordinator at Skate Canada, a Researcher at Sport Canada, Project Manager and Chef de Mission at U Sports, and then CAAWS – Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (for almost 20 years) until a semi-retired in March of 2016.
At CAAWS I got to assist all kinds of girls and women pursue their dreams in sport as athletes, coaches, administrators, board members, coaches, volunteers and officials. It was a dream job, getting to work in something I am so passionate about. Helping sport organizations across Canada and internationally create more opportunities for girls and women to participate and lead in sport. I got to travel across Canada and around the world sharing what I know about gender equity and learning from other women and men who share this passion for women in sport. Also got meet lots of interesting athletes and coaches involved in sport.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.
I think as women we are often not as confident in our abilities as we should be. It is an internal barrier that we put on ourselves. We often think that we have to know everything before taking on a new challenge. While working at CAAWS as Operations Manager, the Executive Director (Ex Dir.) left for a new job and I did not apply for the open position as I did not think I had enough experience.
How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport that helped you overcome your barrier?
CAAWS hired a new Ex Dir who stayed about 2 years and when she took a new job elsewhere I then quickly applied for the Ex Dir position and got it. I think like in sport where we keep practicing skills until we get it we need to think about how we practice being confident. People sometimes say “fake it until you make it”. Act like you have confidence even if inside you are nervous. Keep doing that until it feels natural or you prove to yourself you can do it.
We often underestimate what we are capable of doing. Girls and women need to support each other and encourage each other to take on these new roles, be it in your job, trying out for a new team, starting to coach, or taking on a volunteer role. Like we do in sport on a team, we need to be there for our teammates.