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. 

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

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.

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