WEEK #10: IVY L.


Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


Hello! My name is Ivy and I was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am currently a member of the Canadian National Women’s Table Tennis Team and a Commerce student at the University of British Columbia.


Growing up, I remember always being super active, whether it be playing tag, practicing my technique on the monkey bars, or joining all the sports teams available at my local community centre and elementary school. I loved volleyball, basketball, track and field, and badminton, but a local union strike when I was seven years old restricted my access to these activities. This led to a family friend introducing me to table tennis as a recreational activity, and I immediately fell in love with the sport. Now, as a Pan American Games Bronze Medallist, a three-time Canadian Champion in U21 Women’s Singles, and the secretary of Table Tennis Canada’s Athletes’ Commission, I am aiming for the Olympics and hope to continue promoting table tennis and healthy living amongst youth in North America.


Academically, I owe my love of learning to the phenomenal teachers, coaches, and mentors I have had in my life. I graduated as Valedictorian of my high-school class and am now pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce at UBC’s Sauder School of Business on a full scholarship.


I know that my athletic and academic journeys so far would not have been possible without the incredible amount of support I have received from my family and community, which has sparked my love of giving back. Currently, I am involved with various sustainability initiatives and programs that support female-identified youth in Vancouver’s inner-city. I also enjoy trying new sports, playing the piano, reading, and spending time with family in my spare time. Looking forward, I hope to continue immersing myself in diverse opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience so that I can give back to my community in a greater capacity in the future.

What is something you have done outside of a sport you’re passionate about?


Outside of sports, I am especially passionate about empowering and supporting female-identified youth. It is no secret that girls and women face numerous systemic and day-to-day challenges that can prevent them from pursuing their dreams, regardless of how much talent, creativity, and passion they have. When combined with additional factors including other forms of discrimination and disadvantaged backgrounds, this issue is amplified.


A personal goal of mine is to help open doors for youths in the same way that doors were opened for me. I feel so blessed to have had many role models and mentors encourage and guide me though the challenges I have faced, and this has led to my involvement with non-profit organizations, including Girls Who LEAP and ShEvalesco, that focus on empowering female-identified youth.


Two specific initiatives that I have helped spearhead are HerStory and Well & Wise. Through the HerStory project, we have been able to empower and inspire youth by inviting female-identifying individuals to share about significant experiences and lessons they have learned in their personal lives through short videos. With Well & Wise, we have been able to stay connected with and support the girls in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic through weekly Zoom calls, where we provide academic assistance and create a safe space to chat about life and important topics related to mental health. Not only did these initiatives provide me with the opportunity to connect with and support amazing individuals, but the girls also inspired me immensely through their resilience, passion, and perseverance. I’m so excited to see where their dreams take them in the future.

How has sport contributed to the person you are today?


I believe that my experiences with sport have contributed to the person I am today by pushing me to develop a mindset of continuous growth. Throughout my sporting career, I have constantly been working with my coaches to improve my skills and learn from my performances in my matches. Regardless of whether I had just experienced my biggest win, worst loss, or a fun practice match, there would always be so much to learn and improve upon, and this is a mindset that I have also applied to the other areas of my life.


Additionally, my sporting endeavours have taught me that there is so much to be grateful for. Even though there are often a lot of unexpected and unideal circumstances that pop up in our lives, it’s so important that we make the most out of these situations, are grateful for the opportunities we have been blessed with, and strive to give back whenever possible.


Now, I am not as afraid of failure and am always exploring ways in which I can improve myself and better support others. The opportunities I have had through competing internationally and regularly experiencing situations that are outside of my comfort zone have also led me to develop many other skills and qualities including attention to detail, time-management, resilience, leadership, and teamwork, which are all transferable skills that continue to help me with my diverse endeavours.


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?


An eye-opening thought that was once shared with me was that diversity and inclusion is not just the responsibility of the minority group – it is everyone’s responsibility. In order to improve inclusion in sport, I believe it is essential that all parents, coaches, and sport administrators lead with their values and push for transparency and accountability. By publicly stating values, goals towards inclusivity, and the strategies and progress towards them, a greater percentage of the sports community will be aware of these initiatives and help hold each other accountable.


Additionally, it is so important that those in leadership positions are attentive listeners to the challenges faced by minority groups, engage in dialogue, and turn that dialogue into action. By truly understanding the obstacles faced by diverse athletes and implementing sustainable initiatives to be inclusive rather than simply offering one-time gestures or acts of tokenism, sporting clubs and organizations will be able to foster healthier, safer, and more inclusive environments, which will hopefully encourage more individuals to get involved with sport!


5 words that best describe me are: