Elevating Sport Through Gender Inclusion and Mentorship

At Rowing BC our Vision is that
British Columbia is the leading rowing community in Canada.

Our Mission is to
Create and enhance quality opportunities for all British Columbians to discover, pursue and excel in the sport of rowing.

To do so, we uphold the values of

#LevelTheField is been a province-wide movement, origniating in 2015, working to create an inclusive sport culture in BC.  The movement targets under-represented groups, such as women and girls, persons with disabilities and those who identify with the LGBTQI2S community.

Rowing BC actively works to create an environment in which every individual is welcomed, respected and supported (Rowing BC Strategic Plan 2018-2021).  This statement shapes how Rowing BC makes decisions and can be seen in the development and refinement of our athlete, coach and umpire pathways, and is embodied by our staff and board members.

On International Women’s Day, Rowing BC Programs and Communications Coordinator, Sonja Lonne, joined sport leaders from across the province at viaSport’s #LeveltheField: Elevating Sport Through Gender Inclusion Workshop.

The workshop began with a panel discussion about gender diverse leadership. The panel included Ashley Wiles (Founder of Sole Girls)Marion Lay (Founder of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport)Michelle Pye (FIFA Referee)Launi Skinner (CEO of First West Credit Union) and was moderated by Shauna Taylor (Executive Director of Pacific Sport Okanagan)These women shared the trials and tribulations they faced along their career path, moulding each into the strong leaders they are today.

In both sport and business, having strong role models can be critical to individual growth and success. All of the panelists spoke of benefiting from strong mentorship along their journeys.  Rowing BC agrees and works hard to support developing coaches to access mentors through our coach education system.

The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS) has done extensive trials and research to put together a structured mentorship model to benefit the positive outcomes of mentor/mentee relationships on and off the field. Allison McNeill (Former Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s Basketball Team) was one of the coaches involved in piloting this mentorship model and was able to share at the workshop just how beneficial this additional level of structure was in the outcomes of the experience for her and her mentees.

CAAWS has made this model available FOR FREE to anyone who would like to use it! Handbooks for the sport organization, mentor and mentee are available for download from the website. The project was designed as a Female Coach Mentorship Model, but the model is equally effective for all genders and fields.  Rowing BC understands the value of mentorship, and supports the use of this resource to benefit mentorship experiences.

We are always keen to hear about your experience. If you have benefited from working with a mentor in the rowing community, share your story with us at and we would be excited to feature you in an upcoming newsletter and share that success with the rowing community across the province.