WEEK #19: LAURA L.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I always had some sort of sport I was involved in growing up including baseball, volleyball, field hockey, badminton, curling, cross country, track, and more. Though when I was younger I had a stronger passion for Music, as I gained my Gr. 8 in Piano, and also played drums and ukulele. I was really torn between the two when it came time to choose a program for university, and after applying to both I just decided to do Sport Management at Brock which ended up being one of my best choices. I started volunteering in sport wherever I could, from game-day for the Niagara IceDogs, stats for the men’s hockey team, and helping local sports club with social media. For a few years I helped the KW Titans of the NBL with their marketing during their summer which I fell in love with. For my third year of University I did a year abroad in England, where I got to learn about sport from a different perspective – learning new sports like netball, and volunteering at rugby festivals. During that year, many of my projects had a focus on women’s sport and how to create programs that would be more inclusive and encouraging for women and girls to participate in. As a female wanting to work in the male-dominated sport industry, this struck a chord with me, and I started to look more into gender equity in sport. That year I started writing for Shescores.ca which provides news for women’s professional sports leagues, and it made me aware and passionate about the inequalities faced at that level. In the fall I will be starting my master’s degree with a focus on marketing women’s professional sport, and hopefully will be able to help make some positive changes there.
What qualities of a leader do you appreciate most? Why?
I really appreciate leaders who live out what they say and believe in. Leaders who push but encourage, and take the time to get to know those they lead are inspiring to me. I think it is important to have relationships instead of just telling people what to do.
What is a barrier you have faced in sport? How did you overcome that barrier?
On the participation side, I think a main barrier for me was just myself honestly as I was really shy and held back which was partly why I switched sports so much. The sports where I had a coach who would take the time to talk to me and push me to be better were the ones I stuck with.
On the working in sport side, there haven’t been too many barriers thankfully. There was one organization I was volunteering with doing social media that had some frustrating moments as when it came time to decide who would do what during the games, they often gave the better roles to the guys they were more friendly with even though they didn’t put in a strong effort. Once they saw the work ethic I had they gave me more opportunities though which was nice.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?
My advice would be to make sure the team environment is inclusive and not “clique”-ish. I think especially as girls there can be a lot of insecurities but if everyone on the team supports everyone then people will be encouraged to stay and work harder. Getting to know each girl as well I think is important so there is a sense of belonging on the team or in the program.
What is a song that motivates you?
Currently “The Man” by Taylor Swift is my go-to.