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. 

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

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.

Christianne Varty – Program Specialist

Christianne is a researcher, educator, and former national team athlete. She has a PhD in Organization Studies and her research focused on workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives and how organizations can be authentic in their efforts.

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 and the Same Game Challenge.

Operations Team

Alison Spitzer – Director of Finance & Operations

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. 

Lucia Jhamba – Finance & Operations Coordinator

Lucia has a background in Statistics with project management experience. Paired with a desire to impact positive change within her community and numbers, she has joined the team as a Finance and Operations Coordinator. She aspires to engage in lifelong learning and appreciates discovering innovative tools that can lead to long term sustainable development. She enjoys exploring creativity through art and culinary means.

Samiah Mumtaz – Business Operations Intern 

Samiah is currently a student at McMaster University, in the Honours Bachelor of Commerce Program. Taking an interest in data, analytics, and research, she aims to apply her theoretical knowledge to assist the daily activities at Canadian Women and Sport. Furthermore, as a Muslim, South-Asian woman, she diversifies the perspective of sport norms within the organization. 

Corporate Team

Marijke Vandergrift – Director of Corporate Partnerships 

Marijke is a seasoned relationship builder with over 14 years experience in international and national not-for-profits. With a track record of success creating mutually beneficial partnerships with corporations that are grounded in shared purpose and values, Marijke leads Corporate Partnerships for Canadian Women & Sport. As a lifelong athlete, Marijke is invested in achieving equity and inclusion for women in society through the power of sport. In her spare time, Marijke loves cooking and being active and chasing after her two daughters.

Marketing and Communications Team

Claudia Larouche – Manager, Digital Marketing & Communications 

Claudia is an experienced bilingual writer and communication specialist with over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Journalism from the UQAM and a post-graduate certificate in Sports Journalism from Centennial College. CBC Sports, Right to Play, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the YMCA are a few of the organizations Claudia is proud to have worked with. At Canadian Women & Sport, Claudia brings knowledge, expertise and lived experiences to her role as Manager, Digital Marketing & Communications. In her spare time, Claudia loves spending time with her family in nature and on the water, walking, biking, swimming and travelling.   

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 Engagement Coordinator

Natasha is a communications professional with a degree from Toronto Metropolitan Univeristy’s Sport Media program. Her experience in sport ranges from live broadcasting experience at CBC with the 2018, 2020, and 2021 Olympic Games, community level sport at the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, and provincial level sport at the Coaches Association of Ontario. As a lifelong athlete, Natasha has first-hand experience of the benefits sport can provide to women and girls. In her spare time, Natasha enjoys travelling, playing volleyball and rugby, and a good book.  

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