Our Team

Chief Executive Officer

Allison Sandmeyer-Graves

Allison Sandmeyer-Graves is an experienced non-profit leader with a passion for social innovation that challenges the status quo. As CEO of Canadian Women & Sport, Allison is committed to achieving gender equity in society through the power of sport. She works extensively with organizations, governments and leaders to build knowledge, change attitudes, and develop capacity to create an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system. Previously, Allison spent a decade as a senior leader in a global youth empowerment organization where she helped to rapidly scale the organization’s impact around the world. Allison lives by the motto that our greatest potential lives just outside our comfort zone.

Programs Team

Stephanie Talsma – Program Director

Stephanie started her career as a physical education teacher in Inukjuak [pronounced Inuk-jew-ak], a remote Inuit community in Northern Quebec. After five years there, she returned to school to obtain her Masters in Physical and Health Education from McGill University. She subsequently worked with Physical and Health Education Canada, culminating with a role as the Director of Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation. At Canadian Women & Sport, Stephanie leads the strategic design, implementation and measurement of programs to drive systemic change with the aim of creating an equitable and inclusive sport system. In her spare time, Stephanie is an avid participant in sport and looks forward to being physically active with her daughter in the years to come. 

Terri Temelini – Program Manager

As a Program Manager for Canadian Women & Sport, Terri oversees a variety of projects and events including the Women and Leadership program and the WISE Fund grant program. Prior to her role with Canadian Women & Sport, Terri graduated with honours from the International Development Post-Graduate program at Humber College, with a keen interest in sport for development.

Terri has been involved in dance since the age of 3, in various capacities which led to performing and teaching opportunities both at home and abroad. She pursued this career path and graduated with an honours BFA from Ryerson in the Dance program. She is excited to be a part of this period of growth and transformation at Canadian Women & Sport.

Jenny Lim – Program Manager

Jenny Lim is a recent arrival from Auckland, NZ where her career in sport and recreation began at a sports institute starting at the age of 16 years. Graduating with a Sport and Exercise Science degree from the University of Auckland, she worked at a Regional Sports Trust in a variety of roles, including health promotion, community sport delivery, funding administration, project management and strategic leadership. During her time there, she held a number of advisory and board positions with schools, universities, community and NSOs, sharing her perspective as a woman in sport and leadership. Jenny is a Program Coordinator at Canadian Women & Sport, where she applies her diverse skills in the development and execution of programs such as Gender Equity Audits, Action Plans and Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+).

Tasia McKenna – Program Manager

Tasia is Chartered Professional Coach from Timberlea, Nova Scotia and is a Program Manager with Canadian Women and Sport. She played five years with Lakehead University Women’s Basketball team, and now finds time to give back to the sport in her home province. Whether it’s as the Commissioner of the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association, an Assistant Coach with Saint Mary’s University Women’s Basketball team, or a Learning Facilitator and Evaluator with Canada Basketball, the desire to stay involved with basketball continues. She is a firm believer in the value of helping to open doors for women on their coaching and leadership journeys in sport and because of this, she has been a mentor with several organizations; the Black Female Coach Mentorship Program established by the Black Canadian Coaches Association, the Black and Indigenous Coach Mentorship Program established by Sport Nova Scotia, and Enhanced Female Mentorship Program established by the Coaching Association of Canada.

Leah Ferguson – Program Manager (Paternal Contract)

Leah is a Program Manager with Canadian Women and Sport for the Same Game Program. She has a breadth of experience in the sport arena ranging from Olympian in the sport of wrestling, sport administrator, grass roots coach right up to university coach. She is currently focusing her coaching efforts to build up Indigenous sport in communities around Manitoba. She has a passion to bring Olympic excellence to Indigenous youth and coaches.

Leah will be applying her diverse sport knowledge and skills to program management, gender equity and coaching and consultation.

Vanessa Wallace – Program Coordinator

With her experience in grassroots advocacy, event management, high-performance sport, and sport for development, Vanessa brings a diverse background in community engagement to Canadian Women & Sport. Vanessa supports the development and execution of the organization’s core projects and events including the Women and Leadership program and the WISE Fund grant program.

In 2015, Vanessa’s career interest in sport as a means of social justice started when she became an Ambassador for You Can Play leading workshops for youth on how to identify and address casual homophobia in sport. Vanessa passes along her knowledge from playing basketball at the University of Toronto teaching life-skills through sport at MLSE LaunchPad.

Christianne Varty – Program Coordinator

Christianne is a researcher, educator, and national team athlete. She is currently completing a PhD in Organizational Behaviour where her research focuses on workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion and she has a particular interest in understanding women’s leadership experiences.

Christianne has played ringette for twenty years and been involved in the sport as an athlete, coach, advocate, and committee and board member. At Canadian Women & Sport, she combines her commitment to advancing equity and inclusion with a passion for sport and supports the development and delivery of programs including the Gender Equity Playbook.

Operations Team

Alison Spitzer – Director of Finance & Operations (Interim) 

Alison is a CPA, CA with over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. She is passionate about driving success and building highly effective teams. She’s at her best when taking on new challenges, harnessing resources, and building collaborative platforms to drive innovation. At Canadian Women & Sport Alison oversees our operations and finances. In her spare time, she loves being outside in nature either running, hiking, or biking. 

Baijul Parikh – Senior Manager, Data & IT Operations

Baijul has recently immigrated from India wherein she was a business development professional, an ICT4D innovator, a development practitioner, an engineer, and an academic researcher committed to social impact in all areas of her work and academic research throughout her brief career in the not-for-profit space over the past 8 years. As a trained engineer, she is passionate about digital inclusion and ICT for development to uplift the marginalized communities at the Bottom of the Pyramid market.  

Currently, she is working as the Senior Manager, Data and IT Operations with Canadian Women & Sport where her core responsibilities are resource planning, process optimization, and formulating standard IT strategies and procedures to reinforce data-driven decision making in the organization. Apart from her professional and academic pursuits, she practices Heartfulness Meditation, reads modern classics and studies philosophy and spirituality. 

Marketing and Communications Team

Danielle Cyr – Knowledge Mobilization Manager

Danielle supports women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people to have a positive experience in sport through researching, inspiring and celebrating stories. They are an associate faculty member, researcher and doctoral student at Royal Roads University exploring sport, gender, communication and organizational studies. Danielle previously completed her MA in Professional Communication at RRU and brings experience as a communications professional working in non-profit sport and health.

A multi-sport athlete from rural Nova Scotia, Danielle fell in love with coaching at a young age. She is the head coach of the Mount Saint Vincent University women’s soccer program (her varsity alma matter) and is a coach and leadership developer with CCAA and U SPORTS Female Apprentice Coach Programs and Canada Soccer.

Mia Johnston – Regional Consultant

With experience in fundraising and marketing, Mia brings partnership and relationship management skills to her role as Regional Consultant at Canadian Women & Sport. She has a passion for social innovation and recently graduated from Queen’s Master of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. She brings an entrepreneurial mindset to her work and loves to take on a challenge and develop new ideas. Mia is a proud Haligonian and is excited to make an impact in Nova Scotia by helping advance gender equity and inclusion through sport.

Natasha Cyrille – Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Natasha’s career in sports began during her post-secondary degree in Ryerson University’s Sport Media program. Her first job in sports media would begin at the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation as a content curator and rugby facilitator. After spending four summers at the organization, Natasha has developed a strong attachment and passion for the rugby community. Her journey in the sports industry has involved organizations such as U Sports, CBC and the Coaches Association of Ontario. 

Natasha has a passion for storytelling and championing women leaders in all levels of sport. Outside of her professional duties, Natasha enjoys playing rugby and volleyball, reading world history and spending time outdoors. 

To contact any of our staff, please email info@womenandsport.ca.