Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
About me. I am a mom, a teacher, and a coach. I teach Physical Education and French. I coach mostly rugby and volleyball. I played lots of sports growing up, rugby and volleyball the most- and currently enjoy playing recreational ice hockey and practicing yoga. I am most passionate about playing and coaching rugby. I’ve been playing rugby for 26 years (most recently I have transitioned to non-contact/touch rugby). I played rugby for my club (the Aurora Barbarians), for the University of Guelph and U of Toronto, for the Ontario provincial team, and for the Canadian National Team. The highlight of my career was the 2009 Rugby 7’s World Cup. I have also been coaching for 20 years at various levels, most recently as head coach of the high school team where I teach (Thornlea S.S. in York Region) and the U10 Aurora Barbs team. When I’m not playing sports or coaching, I am spending time with my family (husband and 2 kids) in the outdoors, and as often as possible, traveling.
How has sport provided you with new or different opportunities you would not have expected?
Sport has provided me with the opportunity to build long-lasting friendships, with the opportunity to learn how to communicate and lead effectively, and, to travel the world. I was fortunate enough to travel all over playing rugby in destinations such as Europe, the UK, Dubai, Australia, and the Bahamas, not to mention many venues all over Canada. Playing rugby became a core foundation in my identity and provided me with community. I have met people from all over, and have been warmly welcomed everywhere I went. I continue to do the same myself, trying my best to create an inclusive and warm environment for all the teams I coach.
What elements of leadership parallel your sport and life leadership?
I would say that the leadership skills I learned through sport have served me well in my work life – I have been able to take advantage of leadership opportunities in teaching as a head of department, and I have learned to feel comfortable taking the lead in many other work-related situations.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches, or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
Advice to parents: Your child can do anything- so let them explore many different things and find something they love. Once they find that- makes sure that the focus remains having fun; making sure to build each other up, include everyone and be kind. Everyone on a team has a role, even if that role is not a super-athletic contribution; find ways to make everyone feel loved and included.
To coaches and administrators: Athletes come in all different shapes and sizes, so make sure to give everyone a chance and feel valued. I am fortunate to come from a sport where
diversity is not only valued but needed. We need big and strong people, we need small and speedy people, we need people willing to do the grunt work, and most of all, we need people who can bring others together in a positive way. At the end of the day, athletes remember how they FELT during their experiences in sport- make that a positive feeling, for everyone.
5 words that best describe me are:
PASSIONATE | INTROVERTED | STRONG | CARING | COMMITTED