Most Influential Women 2014

Official; Commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL)


Brenda Andress’ true love of sport permeates every part of her life—including creating equity on and off the ice. December 13, 2014 marked the inaugural CWHL All-Star Games at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Andress not only spearheaded this All-Star game, but is one of the people who collaborated to found the CWHL. Also, one of Canada’s few level six female hockey referees, she helped secure television coverage and major sponsorship for the CWHL, a non-profit organization with every dollar going toward building a league dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey. In 2014, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women as well as the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for her vision and action focussing on opportunities for women and sport.
Follow Brenda Andress at @cwhlcommish
CWHL @cwhl_insider


Chief Sport Officer, COC; ANOC (expert); IOC Evaluation Committee (advisor)


A respected leader in the Olympic movement, Caroline Assalian has led the team at the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to ensure Canada’s successful participation at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. In 2014, she took on greater responsibility on the international stage after being named as the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) representative to the 2022 Winter Olympic Evaluation Commission that will analyse bids for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In addition, Assalian was also appointed as one of three experts on the Evaluation Commission for the 3rd Youth Olympic Winter Games – 2020, which plays a key role in assessing the capacity of Youth Olympic Games Candidate Cities to host the Games.
Follow Caroline Assalian at @cassalian26
COC @CDNOlympicTeam          #TeamCanada


WTA’s 2014 Most Improved Player; Wimbledon Finalist


In 2014, Eugenie (Genie) Bouchard’s power on the court was witnessed with pride in every part of Canada. Her “Genie” army was testament to the legions of fans across the globe that admire her aggressive style of play and competitive spirit. Her impact is being felt at the grassroots level of Canadian tennis with more and more young girls and women wanting to take up the sport. Her year was crowned by achievement after achievement—she became the first Canadian to reach the final of a Grand Slam in singles—and the knowledge that winning a Grand Slam event is a definite reality. Bouchard was recently awarded to the 2014 Canadian Press female athlete of the year. Some Canadian tennis clubs are noticing the ratio of kids, which used to be 80 boys to 20 girls, now being closer to 50-50. One day, Bouchard may face competition from a girl she inspired. Now that’s girl power!
Follow Eugenie Bouchard at @geniebouchard
WTA @WTA  and Tennis Canada @Tennis_Canada  #‎TENNISisCANADA #CdnTennis


Olympians; Ambassadors; Triple threat role-models


At the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the first Canadian set of three siblings to compete in the same individual event at the same Games—the uber competitive Justine, Cholé and Maxime—personified calm in the media storm that pursued them (NBC, CNN, CBC, USA Today…). Although Justine took gold (Canada’s first Gold in Sochi) and Chloé silver in moguls, all three earned worldwide attention and the admiration of Canadians. The sisters, who finished second, third and fourth in the overall World Cup rankings in 2014, have reached the summit of their sport while being advocates for healthy lifestyles. With a passion for fashion and the business sense to develop it, as well as very astute at branding, the @3_SDL (3 sisters Dufour Lapointe) are also ambassadors for the Canadian Olympic Committee’s iconic red mitten campaign, which coincidentally inspired them during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
Follow Justine, Chloé & Maxime Dufour-Lapointe at @3_SDL
Canadian Olympic Team @CDNOlympicTeam   #TeamCanada
Canadian Freestyle @canfreestyleski


Vice President of Operations and Head of Fitness Training, GoodLife Fitness Clubs Inc.


A global ambassador on the benefits of exercise and living well, Maureen Hagan is Vice President of Operations and Head of Fitness Training for GoodLife Fitness, the largest fitness company in Canada and the fourth largest in the world. Mo, as she is known in the fitness industry, is canfitpro, American Council on Exercise, as well as Les Mills certified. An international award-winning fitness instructor and program director with more than 30 years of experience, Mo is Director of Education with canfitpro – the largest fitness education body in Canada. She is a licensed physiotherapist (BSc PT), a physical health educator (BA PE), a sponsored Reebok fitness athlete, and a professional speaker. Mo is a popular fitness columnist and freelance writer, regular contributor to the Huffington Post this past year, and the author of a number of journal articles and books. In 2014, the “Maureen Hagan Fit for Life Award” was created to recognize the effort and determination of a student at her alma mater, T.A. Blakelock High School in Oakville.
Follow Maureen (Mo) Hagan at @MOHaganFit
GoodLife Fitness at @GoodLifeFitness


IndigenACTION ambassador; Pan American Games Assistant chef de mission


Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller is currently working with the Assembly of First Nations as the IndigenACTION Ambassador to inspire Aboriginal youth and to develop a National Indigenous Sport, Fitness and Wellness Strategy. Helping others achieve balance in all aspects of their lives is her mission. Named as an Assistant Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Horn-Miller wants the Games to help raise awareness about how essential sport is. She also sees the Pan Ams as a platform to inspire aboriginal youth. A strong advocate, she continues to work to promote sport as a tool that goes above and beyond to help prevent suicide, relieve stress, develop skills as well as future leaders. A gold medalist from the 1999 Pan Am Games, Horn-Miller inspires others with the empowerment she earned by fighting to reach the top. She wants more aboriginal youth to do the same and regularly speaks at key national events such as the Assembly of First Nations Youth Summit.

Follow Waneek Horn-Miller at @waneekhm
IndigenACTION is #IndigenACTION
Pan American Games @TO2015 @PanAmGames2015


Mental health advocate; Spokeswoman for the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign

HUGHES_Clara_2014MIWAdvocate Clara Hughes was ever present in 2014 because of her epic cycling journey: Clara’s Big Ride. This 110-day trip across our nation, saw her visit and speak to crowds in every single province and territory. Clara’s Big Ride, for Bell Let’s Talk, connected with 95 communities and has contributed greatly to making the conversation about mental health stigma-free. Hughes, an Officer of the Order of Canada who was honoured with the Meritorious Service Cross (June 2014) has dedicated much of her work to making the conversation about mental health stigma-free. Clara shared her personal experience with mental health issues with youth at schools and community organizations in order to empower youth. Her goal: she wants them to understand what mental health means to them and how they can support others who may be suffering.
Follow Clara Hughes at @ClaraHughes
Bell Let’s Talk @Bell_LetsTalk   #BellLetsTalk


Role model; Olympian


In 2014, Kaillie Humphries wowed Canadians when she and teammate Heather Moyse became the first female bobsledders to successfully defend an Olympic title in the two-woman bobsled event. Continuing her winning season, Humphries, a strong advocate and instrumental in lobbying for the opportunity to race against men, was given her chance when the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation made the four-man event gender neutral. “We live in an age now where it has become more and more acceptable in many sports to have women compete with the men,” she said. Humphries piloted a mixed-gender team to a bronze medal in the Canadian four-man bobsleigh championships. Then on the international stage, Humphries continued to dominate and break-down barriers in her sport. Humphries and American Elana Meyers became the first females to pilot a mixed-gender team in the four-man bobsleigh competition—where women and men competed alongside and against one another at a World Cup. Winner of the 2014 Lou Marsh Trophy, Humphries supports Right to Play, the “I’ve been Bullied” campaign, and the Special Olympics.
Follow Kaillie Humphries at @BobsledKaillie
Team Canada @CDNOlympicTeam     #TeamCanada


Olympic Gold Medalist (2014, Sochi)


The Jennifer Jones Rink of Dawn McEwen (lead), Jill Officer (second), Kaitlyn Lawes (third), Jennifer Jones (skip), Kirsten Wall (alternate) and Janet Arnott (coach) inspired Canadians when they won Olympic gold in the 9th end—securing their perfect 11-0 record. They set the trend to help Canada dominate like no other country has in curling at an Olympic Games. The men also won gold, the next day. Janet Arnott was the only woman coach listed on the Olympic roster of 10 coaches from the 10 competing nations (Elaine Dagg-Jackson, Canada’s national coach was an overseer at the Games but was not on the roster).  A lack of women coaches was also something Arnott saw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the previous year. The inspirational Jennifer Jones’s Rink is staying together through to the Games in 2018 and Canadians are hoping for a repeat! No Canadian curling team has successfully defended an Olympic gold medal.
Follow the Jennifer Jones rink at @teamjonescurl / @LKLawes / @JillOfficer / @02ginger / @kirstenwall3
Canadian Curling Association @CCACurling
Coaching Association of Canada @CAC_ACE   @CoachesofCanada
Team Canada @CDNOlympicTeam     #TeamCanada


CEO, Coaching Association of Canada


Lorraine Lafrenière completed her first year as CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), leading the transformation of the organization and building on a culture of innovation, accountability, excellence and high performance in coach development and education. During her first year, Lafreniere also led the successful merger of Coaches of Canada with CAC in a bid to further entrench the profession of coaching in Canada. The year was capped with the very successful CAC Petro Canada Sport Leadership Conference in November featuring a break-through Olympic and Paralympic profile in Canadian Sport. This annual gathering is Canada’s most prestigious conference for coaches, sport administrators, and their peers. A leader in the sport community for many years, Lafrenière who is the first female CEO of the organization, continues to demonstrate strategic leadership and build partnerships to advance Canadian sport for current and future generations, supporting a culture which values the Olympic and Paralympic communities.
Follow Lorraine Lafrenière at @ltlafreniere
Coaching Association of Canada @CAC_ACE   @CoachesofCanada
Petro Canada Sport Leadership Conference sponsor @petrocanada


COO, Vancouver Whitecaps


Even in 2014, Rachel Lewis was a rarity in professional sport as the Chief Operating Officer of a professional sport organization. She continues to help break the glass ceiling with her work heading Vancouver Whitecaps FC, building a model franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS). Lewis is the sole female top executive in the MLS’s 19 teams—and is also the only female C-suite executive within Vancouver’s professional sport teams (soccer, football, and hockey). She has overseen all aspects of the club’s business operations as they’ve transitioned to MLS. Under her stewardship, Vancouver Whitecaps FC has become one of the league’s best-attended franchises. Lewis has a strong passion for sport and community. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Covenant House and previously on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Gastown Business Improvement Society, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum and Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. Lewis is also a former director of KidSport Canada, Sport BC, and trustee with the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Vancouver Whitecaps at @WhitecapsFC


Vice President, CPC; President & CEO, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario


Debbie Low is President and CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) where she leads the development and delivery of provincial and national high performance sport programs.  She is responsible for the daily operation of the Sport Institute and for leading the transition to Ontario’s first facility-based sport institute as a legacy from the TO2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games. Amongst her many volunteer roles, she is Vice President for the Americas of the Association Sport Performance Centres (ASPC). Low’s other volunteer activities in 2014 included serving on a number of Boards and Committees in leadership positions, such at the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors (Vice-President), Sport Alliance of Ontario’s Strategic Planning Committee, and is also a member of the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Follow Debbie Low at @DeB_Low
Canadian Paralympic Committee @CDNParalympics
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario @CISONTARIO #CDNSportInstitute  #CSIO


CEO, Own the Podium

MERKLINGER_Anne_2014MIWA highly respected person in Canadian sport administration, Anne Merklinger’s work is always in the forefront of Canadian sport and is scrutinized by media. As Chief Executive Officer of Own the Podium, she leads a team that prioritizes and determines performance investment-strategies for national sport organizations—all in an effort to deliver more medals for Canada at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Among the many awards and recognition she received for her work in the past year, Merklinger was named executive of the year at the 2014 Sport Media Awards (only the second woman to receive this award since 2006). Her dedication and decisions helped Canada to another outstanding season in winter sports, capped by third place finishes overall at both the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Winter Games. Her ongoing work also focuses on developing the next generation of podium potential athletes. OTP sets the bar going forward which enables Canada to create the optimum environment for future high performance sports excellence.
Follow Anne Merklinger at @AnneMerklinger
Own The Podium @ownthepodium
Sport Media Awards #SportsMediaAwards


CEO, Canadian Paralympic Committee; Board Member, TrueSport Foundation

ONEILL_Karen_2014MIWKaren O’Neill has long been recognized for her dedication to Paralympic athletes and equity in sport. During her first full year as CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee in 2014, O’Neill led the Paralympic community through a full strategic review. This exercise has enhanced clarity, focus and guidance to all stakeholders. The resulting plan focuses on identifying the key elements that will define Canada’s unique path to world leading—namely athletes, coaches, and daily training environment. This new strategic plan, called “Forward with Purpose,” will take the Canadian Paralympic movement boldly and purposefully into the future. An essential move as the environment has shifted and more nations are winning Paralympic gold medals. Achieving podium performances is harder than ever before and O’Neill is setting the groundwork for future success. Formerly COO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, O’Neill serves on the board of TrueSport Foundation.
Canadian Paralympic Committee @CDNParalympics
TrueSport Foundation @TrueSportpur


Chef de Mission, 2014 Commonwealth Games

Petitclerc_chantal_2014MIWIn 2014, Chantal Petitclerc continued to shine on the world’s stage as the chef de mission of Team Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. A former competitive athlete, she brought passion and her A-game to this volunteer role of team leader and spokesperson for Canadian athletes. She knew what the athletes were experiencing because she competed at the 1990 Games in Auckland (where wheelchair racing was a demonstration sport); won gold in the 800 metres at both the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games (when Paralympic sports were given official status); and was Canada’s flag bearer at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 2014, Petitclerc also contributed her time to numerous sport and physical activity organizations. She worked to promote FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. A highly sought after public speaker, member of the Order of Canada, winner of the Lou Marsh Award—she capped her year by being named Canada’s chef de mission for Rio Paralympic Games. More great things to come!
Follow Chantal Petitclerc at @CPetitclerc
Canadian Paralympic Committee @CDNParalympics
Commonwealth Games Canada @cgc_jcc


BECKIE SCOTT, Vermillion, AB
Member, WADA Executive Committee; Chair, WADA Athlete Committee

Scott_Beckie_2014_MIWBeckie Scott was appointed to the World Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) prestigious Executive Committee in 2014, which allowed her to continue her long-running campaign for doping-free sport. Working with WADA’s Executive Committee—the ultimate policy-making body for clean sport policy—allowed Scott to share her vision of competition where all athletes face one another in a doping-free environment. Scott was also appointed Chair of the WADA’s Athlete Committee. In 2014 she also completed her eight-year term on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Scott spent a great deal of time participating in discussions leading up to Olympic Games, while providing an important voice for Canada’s athletes. She put to good use her years of competitive racing in her role as analyst for cross-country coverage during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on CBC/Radio-Canada.
Follow Beckie Scott at @BeckieScott4
Team Canada @CDNOlympicTeam     #TeamCanada
Cross Country Canada @cccski


Captain, Canada’s Women’s National Soccer Team

SINCLAIR_Christine_2014MIWIn 2014, Sinclair won her 11th straight Canada Soccer Canadian Player of the Year award. As the country prepares to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015TM, Sinclair, the best player this country has ever produced, was actively promoting the competition to ensure its success. She says that everything she has done in her sport has been building towards a FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil. Sinclair plays for the Portland Thorns in the American-based National Women’s Soccer League but has participated in promoting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015TM, which will be held in six Canadian cities from coast to coast. Sinclair—who is winner of both the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award and has been inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame—is using her legend power to help ensure more young girls embrace soccer. The first Canadian soccer player to make over 200 appearances with the Women’s National Team was also called “the best player in the world” by a number of rival players.
Follow Christine Sinclair at @sincy12
Canada Soccer @CanadaSoccerEN
Canada’s Women’s National Team #canWNT


Coach; Assistant Chef de Mission, Sochi Olympic Games

ST-LOUIS_France_2014MIWFrance St-Louis added to her extremely busy schedule in 2014 by accepting the very demanding position of Assistant Chef de Mission for the Canadian Team competing at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. St-Louis was selected to this leadership position because of her background, expertise and work ethic. An Olympian, she was seen as an excellent candidate to support Canadian athletes and coaches. A number of sport representatives in Sochi commented on the key role she played and the positive impact she had on preparation and performance. In addition to being a physical education teacher at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, St-Louis is also an advisor for the Carabins women’s hockey team at the University of Montreal. In 2014, the former women’s national team captain received the Order of Hockey in Canada in recognition for winning five world championships in the 1990s as well as many other accomplishments and for her outstanding contributions to the growth and development of women’s hockey in Canada and abroad.
Follow France St-Louis at @fstlouis03
Team Canada @CDNOlympicTeam     #TeamCanada
Hockey Canada @HockeyCanada
Canadian Lacrosse Association @LacrosseCanada


SARAH STOREY, Ottawa, ON; Lausanne, Switzerland
President, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton; Director of Legal Affairs, SportAccord

Storey_Sarah_2014MIWSarah Storey is a lawyer specializing in sport, communication and intellectual property.  In 2014 she was elected President of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton after serving as Vice President for two years. While maintaining her volunteer work in Canadian sport, Storey has established herself internationally, working with National Sport and International Sport Federations, in the fields of right protection, law and strategic consulting. In 2014, Storey joined SportAccord, (formerly the GAISF) the recognized international organization representing Olympic and non-Olympic International Sport Federations, as Director of Legal Affairs. Storey holds a BA degree in international affairs from Dartmouth College (NH); an LLB from Dalhousie University (NS), Canada; and Master of Laws (Sport Law & Practice LLM with distinction) from DeMontfort University, (Leicester, UK). She started her Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton mandate with a clear vision of creating even more and better opportunities for Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton athletes so that they “can win more medals for Canada in 2018 and beyond”. Sarah is the daughter of Bob Storey, a former president of the Canadian and International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federations.
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton @BobCANSkel


Member, IOC Athletes’ Commission; Team Captain

WICKENHEISER_Hayley_2014MIWAs flag bearer for Canada at the Sochi Olympic Games, Hayley Wickenheiser was front and centre representing her teammates with class and leading by example. At the Olympic Games, she was also elected by her fellow competitors to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. Her legacy project, Canadian Tire Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival hosts 80 teams and over 3,000 people competing in not just hockey, but in a series of off-ice clinics and workshops that contribute to the development of not only the player, but the young women who attend as a whole. All proceeds go to Right to Play and JumpStart to ensure kids from around the world have the opportunity to participate in sport. Hayley continues to lead in empowering women and promoting healthy lifestyles for children through sport. She juggles school and University hockey while being involved in several charities, and being a member of the Women’s National Hockey Team. Wickenheiser’s passion for sport is matched by her desire to give back to organizations such as JumpStart, KidSport, Project North, Right to Play, Ovarian Cancer Canada and many others.
Follow Halyey Wickenheiser at @wick_22
Team Canada @CDNOlympicTeam          #TeamCanada
Hockey Canada @HockeyCanada
Wickfest @wickfest
JumpStart @ctjumpstart
Kidsport @KidSport
Project North @ProjectNorthCDN
Right to Play @RightToPlayCAN


Each year, CAAWS also highlights the names of women who are emerging as leaders. These are young game-changers are making a difference in sport and physical activity. There are more great things to come from these strong individuals.

COLLEY_Justine_2014MIW_OTWJUSTINE COLLEY (Halifax NS) is a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) all-time scorer in basketball who decided to give back to her community and her sport by officiating for the locally-run Metro Basketball Association, Halifax. A graduate of Saint Mary’s University who also works full time at RBC Royal Bank, she says officiating allows her to contribute to her game while staying in her home province. (@jcolley5 / @CIS_SIC / @CanBball / @hfxgov / @SMUHalifaxNews).

Harvey_Magali_2014MIW_OTWRising-star MAGALI HARVEY (Québec, QC) helped her Canadian team to its first-ever silver medal at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris and was the only woman nominated for the International Rugby Players’ Association Try of the year. (@MagaliHarvey / @RugbyCanada / @villequebec).

KISS_Kristina_2014MIW_OTWAmbassador for the U15 CONCACAF Championship in August 2014, KRISTINA KISS (Ottawa, ON) is one of the few female technical directors at the club level in Canada—she works at West Ottawa Soccer Club the second largest club in Canada. She also ran a soccer camp for children this past summer in Iqaluit. (@WOSsoccer / @CanadaSoccerEN).

SENDEL_Samantha_2014MIW_OTWOlympic trampoline hopeful SAM SENDEL (Aurora, ON), an advocate for the You Can Play campaign, came out to inspire other LGBT athletes. She is also part of the CIBC’s (a lead partner of TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games) “Team Next”, which is a $2 million program to help the next generation of athletes realize their dreams. (@SamSendel / #CIBCTeamNext / @TO2015 / @PanAmGames2015 / @CANGymnastics / @YouCanPlayTeam).