viaSport is thrilled to have a line-up of exceptional women in sport as Advocates for the gender equity campaign, Level the Field.
These women will be featured in traditional and social media, photos and videos and will help us inspire others to get involved in creating meaningful policies and action plans to enact change.
Click the picture below to read more on each ambassador!
Allison Dobb Ray
Allison assumed the Head Women’s Coach position in the fall of 2014. Allison has experience at all levels of the sport of rowing in the USA and Canada, domestically and internationally, including the Olympic Games. In 2013, she was selected to coach the U23 National Lightweight Women’s 4x, which made it to the finals at the U23 World Championships in Italy. Allison moved to California after she finished working as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Team, where she coached five World Championships, eight World Cups and the Olympic Games in 2012. Previous to that, she coached and acted as the program director at Victoria City Rowing Club, assistant coach at University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University Rowing Club. Allison coached at the BC Summer Games, was Head Coach of the Canada Summer Games Team, and the PanAm Games in 2007. Recently, Allison contributed a chapter in "Real Women, Real Leaders" by Kathleen Hurley and Priscilla Shumway.
Allison's goal is to help young athletes balance the technical, physical, and mental dimensions of rowing while achieving their highest performance in both sport and personal life. Allison received her university degree at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, and has her Canadian Level 4 coaching certificate.
CAAWS Executive Director
For more than 30 years, Karin has been an active participant, volunteer, leader, mentor and advocate for girls and women in sport and physical activity, both in Canada and internationally. Prior to working with CAAWS, Karin held a number of positions as coach, national team coordinator, chef de mission, administrator, manager and volunteer across a range of sports including field hockey, basketball, ice hockey, figure skating, golf. Karin’s commitment to achieving gender equity in the Canadian sport system is shared through her collaborative approach. At the national level, she contributes her experience in the sport sector and expertise on gender equity to a number of committees and working groups, sharing resources and knowledge to ensure the needs of girls and women are considered and integrated from the beginning into resulting programs and initiatives.
Olympic Basketball Coach
Allison guided the Canadian Women’s National basketball team to their first appearance in the Olympic Games since 2000 and equaled the best performance ever by a Canadian Women’s Basketball team. She has served as Canada’s Head Coach since 2002 and has led Canada to two World Championship (2006 and 2010) appearances as well. After an illustrious 13-year career at SFU, advancing to 3 NAIA Final 4’s, she served as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Oregon helping the Ducks to the WNIT title in 2002 and an NCAA tournament spot in 2005.
She is currently the Head Coach of the BC Centre for Performance, the Tri-Cities Youth Basketball Association Master Coach and a sought after public speaker.The Coaching Association of Canada awarded her the Geoff Gowan Award recognizing her lifetime contribution to coaching development in Canada.
A four-time Paralympian in swimming, Elisabeth has also worked in both the Ontario and British Columbia sport sectors. She was part of the VANOC team that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. In 2012, Elisabeth led Team Canada as Asst. Chef de Mission for the London Paralympic Games, and in 2015, as Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games.
Elisabeth has a Bachelor of Physical Education with honours from Brock University. She began her Masters of Occupational Therapy at McMaster, before her career changed paths. Elisabeth is also a certified spinning instructor.
When not working in sport you’ll find Elisabeth being active hiking, running, swimming or cycling with her family.
Lara Mussell Savage
2x World Champion
With many Regional and National Championships under her belt, Lara was a member of the Canadian National Women's Ultimate team from 1998 to 2008 and is a two-time Ultimate World Champion. Lara was named the 2005 Female Aboriginal Athlete of the year for Canada and received the prestigious Tom Longboat National Award. Lara’s Aboriginal ancestry is from the Skwah First Nation within Sto:lo Territory and she currently serves as an elected Councillor for her Band. Retired from Ultimate, Lara has been working to support sport opportunities for Aboriginal youth, having worked for five years for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and these past five years now with the BC Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council. A Wesbrook Scholar of UBC with a Kinesiology degree (Sport Management), Lara’s career in sport has also included management roles with UBC’s Department of Athletics & Recreation, the Air Canada PGA TOUR Championship, and the BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.
Michelle Pye is a soccer referee for FIFA and Soccer Canada. Michelle starting refereeing soccer at the age of 19 in Kamloops, BC and earned her international badge from FIFA in 2007. After a number of appearances on the world stage, she was chosen as part of the officials team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.
Pye is one of only seven international soccer referees in Canada. Outside of soccer, Michelle is also a teacher, wife, and mother of three.
Her achievements in rowing at the national level, World Cup Regattas, World Championships and the Olympic Games rank Krista among the top female rowers in the Canada’s history. Guloien was a member of the quad sculls crew at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and part of the silver-medal winning women’s eight crew at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Outside of rowing, she contributes her time to numerous community events and charitable causes, and is a lead ambassador and spokesperson for The 60 Minute Kids Club, a national non-profit dedicated to encouraging kids to lead more active and healthy lives.
Olympian and Coach
Lyndsay Belisle was a member of Canada’s National Women’s wrestling team for 10 years. During that time she won 8 National Championships, a Pan American games Gold medal, a World Cup Championships and a World Championships Silver medal. Lyndsay was a pioneer in Women’s wrestling and holds the distinction of being a part of the very first Olympic Women’s wrestling match when she represented Canada at the 2004 Olympics.
Since 2010 Lyndsay has acted as the Provincial Women’s Coach for BC Wrestling. During this time she led two Western Canada Games and two Canada games teams. Lyndsay is also currently a Teacher Teaching on Call in the Coquitlam School District.
Alexa is a two time Olympian in the sport of snowboarding. She competed in the parallel giant slalom event at the 2006 and at the 2010 winter Olympics. A Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, as well as a Certified Executive Coach, Alexa serves the City of Richmond as a City Councillor where she combines her drive, technical knowledge, and interpersonal skills to help make Richmond the best place to live and work.
Darcy (Marquardt) Hortness
Darcy grew up in Richmond, BC and began rowing at the University of Victoria, where she ultimately earned a degree in French and Psychology. She is now exploring a career path with RBC Royal Bank.
Darcy was a member of the National Rowing Team for 11 years during which time she helped Canadian crews win over 20 medals in international rowing events, in women’s fours, pairs and eights. Darcy is now a 3-time Olympic rower, a London 2012 Olympic Silver Medallist and a 2006 World Champion.
She is married to another Canadian Olympian, Richard Hortness, who competed in swimming at the Beijing 2008 Games, where they met, and in London 2012. They welcomed their first child in January 2015 (son, Kirin).
Darcy is passionate about giving back to the community and promoting healthy, active living with young people. She is on the board of Rowing BC, an ambassador for Kidsport, and a motivational speaker with Esteem Team.