We are proud to announce the 2017 EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Mentoring Program and the twenty-five elite women athletes selected to participate. The EY WABN Mentoring Program, now in its third year, is produced in collaboration with EY. The program provides support for current and former elite athletes who are transitioning from sport to careers in business or other professional spheres. Meet the new class and their IWF mentors:
Katie Baker, Field Hockey, Canada Katie Baker is a communications and community engagement professional with experience working on major energy and infrastructure projects in British Columbia. She specializes in public communications, relationship building, and the development and implementation of strategic consultation and engagement programs. Prior to working in environmental consulting, Katie captained the Canadian National Field Hockey Team and represented Canada on the world stage from 2006-2012. She played in the Commonwealth Games, Pan-American Games and Olympic Qualifying tournaments. Katie retired from her athletic career in 2012 and switched her dedication to focusing on “getting good at something else besides sports.” Originally from Prince Edward Island, Katie has been living in Vancouver since 2006, during which time she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of British Columbia. She volunteers as a Big Sister with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland and enjoys running and playing field hockey for the Meraloma Club.
Barbara Ross-Denroche President, Chair & Co-Founder,
IWF Vancouver Mentor to Katie Baker
Ana Jelusic Black, Alpine Skiing, Croatia Born in Rijeka, Croatia on Dec 28th 1986, Ana Jelusic Black started skiing at the age of two and quickly made skiing her career. At the age of 15 she debuted at the Winter Olympic Games and went on to compete in three editions of the Games (2002, 2006, 2010). During nine years of competing at the top level in her sport, she represented her country at five World Championships, won two Junior World Championship medals, and made the World Cup podium twice. At the age of 24 she was struggling with health issues and ready to take up a new challenge. She made the transition from being a professional athlete to a different career in sports. Having a passion for events, media and communication, Ana started her second career working in communications and PR for one of the biggest sports events in her country and serving on the Croatian Fair Play Commission. She was given the opportunity to work internationally a year later and has since worked twice for the International Olympic Committee (Olympian Intern and Athlete Relations Project Manager). Ana also spent four seasons on the Men’s Alpine World Cup Tour with the International Ski Federation as Media Coordinator where she hosted a skiing-focused YouTube show (Behind the Scenes) and dipped her toes in the TV world by hosting a live show for Eurosport. Ana is passionate, naturally curious and a problem solver who performs best when under pressure. She is fluent in three languages and can get by in three more. Ana enjoys being surrounded by people, is up for a good challenge and always eager to embark on new adventures.
Carolyn Lawrence Diversity & Inclusion Consultant,
Past President & CEO,
Women of Influence Inc.
IWF Vancouver Mentor to Ana Jelusic Black
Victoria Brown, Water Polo, Australia Victoria Brown is an enthusiastic and motivated contracts manager with a proven ability to coordinate and assist in the delivery of complex projects. Her personable and dependable nature evokes successful relationships with clients and peers alike. Recently awarded her Company’s state division 2016 Annual BluePrint Award for upholding the company’s BluePrint values of integrity, determination, excellence, accountability, leadership and safety, Victoria is well regarded amongst her peers. Her areas of strength were recognised as integrity, self-determination, and accountability, as well as her un-relenting perseverance to achieve the desired project and company outcomes and successfully reach targets. Victoria was also recognised as a highly self-motivated individual, with strong determination skills to achieve the ‘best outcome’ for all parties at all times. A Bachelor of Planning and Design and a Bachelor of Property and Construction from the University of Melbourne and a longstanding sporting career, culminating in a Bronze Medal at the London 2012 Olympics, supports her professional experience. Outside of work Victoria enjoys staying fit and remains actively involved in her sport of choice, water polo, where she still participates in the Australian National Water Polo League. Victoria thoroughly enjoys giving back to the sport that has given her so much, in particular, she enjoys mentoring aspiring young players as well as assisting the coaching staff with coach / player relationships. Having learnt many skills throughout her sporting career Victoria is looking for guidance within her professional career including career direction and growth as well as managerial skills to assist her as she moves towards a project management role and beyond.
Christine Zeitz Senior Vice President & Managing Director,
IWF Australia Mentor to Victoria Brown
Haley Crain Carter, Soccer, United States Haley Carter is a 2006 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where she was a three-year letter winner for the Navy Women’s Soccer team. Haley finished her career at Navy with a 1.02 GAA and was a three-time Patriot League All-Academic Honoree. After graduation, Haley served eight years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, making two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Between deployments, she competed for the U.S. All-Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team in Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) Women’s Military World Soccer Championships in Ede, Netherlands (2008) and Cherbourg, France (2010). Haley was Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Female Athlete of the Year and finalist for Marine Corps Female Athlete of the Year in 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she was stationed in Hawaii and played semi-professionally for the Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club. Following the Marine Corps, Haley spent three seasons as a reserve Goalkeeper for the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Now retired from professional play, she is the Assistant Coach for the Afghanistan Women’s National Team and winner of the FIFPro World Players Union 2016 Merit Award. She has served the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, United States Region III Olympic Development, and Houston Dynamo Youth Goalkeeping Coach and was a volunteer assistant for both Huston-Tillotson University and Sam Houston State University Women’s Soccer programs. In addition to her degree from the Naval Academy, Haley owns an MBA with Distinction from the University of Liverpool and is enrolled at the University of Houston Law Center in pursuit of her Juris Doctor. Beyond soccer, she is the Director of Indirect Procurement at Nexeo Solutions, a chemicals distribution company headquartered in the U.S. She is married to Michael Carter and together they have one son, Harper.
Angela Salinas CEO,
Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas,
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
IWF Texas Mentor to Haley Carter
Edniesha Curry, Basketball, United States Edniesha Curry was drafted by the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting in 2002 . She played professional basketball for eight years in Europe, the Middle East and for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks. Over the entire period, she worked as a coach with Team Concept AAU Basketball Organization (Portland) helping develop female and male athletes. A four-sport athlete in high school, lettering three times in basketball, three times in track, two times in tennis and once in cross country, Edniesha understands the importance and is committed to the early development of both male and female athletes. She began her journey in sports – and basketball – at Palmdale High School in Palmdale, CA. After high school, she spent the first three college seasons at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). At CSUN, she was a two-time All-Big Sky Conference team selection (1998-1999) and currently holds the school’s record for 3-point baskets made (168). Edniesha transferred to the University of Oregon in 2000 and received a Pacific Conference honorable mention in 2002, her first season with the team. She averaged 9.8 points per game at Oregon and dished out 104 assists. She led the Ducks with 60 steals, which ranked eighth in the Pac-10. Edniesha’s 2002 team won the WNIT Championship. Her WNBA career also included a stint with the Los Angeles Sparks and she spent eight seasons playing in the European league, a haven for women’s basketball. Over her decade long coaching career, Edniesha has consistently delivered leadership, training, and mentoring to student athletes while conducting basketball clinics and tournaments. To ensure total success, she interfaced with key marketing staff to promote programs, and provided expert administrative direction to ensure smooth daily operations. Her efforts resulted in increased student awareness and enthusiasm for athletic programs. Edniesha is a dedicated advocate for the physical, mental, and social development of sports programs.
Danielle M. Donehew Executive Director,
Women’s Basketball Coaches Association
Leadership Foundation Fellow Alumna Mentor to Edniesha Curry
Sahika Ercümen, Free Diving and Underwater Hockey, Turkey Şahika Ercümen is a professional freediver, a freediving instructor as well as a nutrition expert and a dietician. After completing her university education at Baskent University’s Nutrition and Dietetics department, she went on to obtain a Masters Degree at Başkent University, where she is still studying. After suffering from asthma as a child, she took an interest in sport and has achieved worldwide success. Since 1998, Şahika has won over 100 national and international medals, various special awards and cups in various swimming and underwater sport competitions. She has broken several national records and eight official World Records. As a national athlete, Şahika has participated in many advertisements, motion pictures and social responsibility projects. She is currently working on a social responsibility project which includes diving with the disabled, protecting water and endangered species. Şahika also hosts television shows and gives lectures on correct breathing, success and motivation
Bedriye Hülya Founder,
IWF Turkey Mentor to Şahika Ercümen
Manami Hino, Bobsleigh, Japan Manami Hino is an Olympian in the sport of Bobsleigh and was the first Asian woman to compete in the sport when she debuted at the Olympics in 2006. She went on to compete at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and has won 8 national bobsleigh championships in Japan. Since 2008, Manami has worked for Medical Corporation Hokuto at Hokuto Hospital in the areas of planning, operations and public relations. She currently works in their General Affairs Division. She is also an athlete ambassador of the Sapporo global sports commission, Organizer for the Hokkaido Olympian and Paralympian Committee, and a bobsleigh coach with the Japan Olympic Committee. Manami would like to increase Asian women’s participation and leadership in the sport of Bobsleigh.
Julia Rivard Dexter Co-Founder,
IWF Canada Mentor to Manami Hino
Allira Hudson-Gofers, Beach Handball and Handball, Australia Allira Hudson-Gofers first represented Australia in the sport of Handball in 2007 and Beach Handball in 2012. Since these debut appearances, she has competed in the Handball World Championships twice more, in 2009 and 2011, and in the Beach Handball World Championships in 2014 and 2016. With plans to continue her Australian representation in Beach Handball, Allira also contributes to this sport by coordinating New South Wales beach handball activities, managing the administration of the emerging Australian junior development program, and assisting with junior training camps. In 2005, Allira was awarded a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering with First Class Honours and a Master of Biomedical Engineering. She completed a Master of Industrial Property in 2007, which enabled her qualification as an Australian Patent Attorney. Allira is now a Senior Associate with Shelston IP and specialises in the provision of commercially relevant intellectual property advice. Her expertise includes drafting patent specifications, preparing design applications, local and international prosecution, and providing validity and infringement advice in engineering and related technology areas. She also has particularly strong expertise in healthcare, acquiring an understanding of research, product development and regulatory approval of active implantable medical devices while working outside the patent profession and complements this practical knowledge with significant patent experience in this technology area. Finally, Allira has recently completed a Master of Business Administration (Technology) and utilises this acquired knowledge to provide highly relevant advice which is specific to each client’s business. Demonstrating an active interest in supporting the broader community, Allira is currently a volunteer Director for a member’s lodge, provides mentorship to university students and startups, has acted in both a Treasurer and Mentoring Program Coordinator capacity for the Sydney Division of Women In Engineering, Engineers Australia, and regularly provides seminars on intellectual property.
Gabriela Kennedy Partner,
Head of Asia IP & TMT Group,
Mayer Brown JSM
IWF Global Board Director
IWF Hong Kong Mentor to Allira Hudson-Gofers
Sally Kehoe, Rowing, Australia Sally Kehoe was a member of the Australian Rowing Team for 13 years, including competing in three Olympic Games (2008, 2012 and 2016), multiple World Championships and is a World Cup medalist and holder of the World’s Best Time for the women’s double scull. Whilst rowing, she worked for National Australia Bank as a credit analyst, interned with the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ICAEW) in Beijing, completed a Bachelor of Business Economics at the University of New England, and a Master of International Finance at Deakin University. After a career in high performance sport and completing post-graduate education, she will continue to pursue a career in banking and finding opportunities to transfer her sporting and team skills into the corporate environment.
Anne Loveridge Non Executive Director,
National Australia Bank
Non Executive Director,
Platinum Asset Management
IWF Australia Mentor to Sally Kehoe
Nadine Khouzam, Field Hockey, Belgium Nadine is a young entrepreneur and Olympian in the sport of Field Hockey. She participated in the London Olympic Games (2012), and was named player of the year and European Cup Best Goalkeeper (2009). Nadine studied Computer Science in Artificial Intelligence while goalkeeping for the Belgian hockey team. She is currently a Big Data Consultant at Real Impact Analytics a technology start-up where she is able to combine her technical background and team-work skillset. Nadine excels at bridging complex technology opportunities and business value, lives for challenges and focuses on people’s happiness at work.
Nabila Toubia Marcos Owner & CEO,
IWF Jordan Mentor to Nadine Khouzam
Mariya Koroleva, Synchronized Swimming, United States Mariya Koroleva is a two-time Olympian, four-time Pan American Games medalist and four-time Collegiate All-American in Synchronized Swimming. A duel United States/Russian citizen, she received a Bachelors in Communication from Stanford University and is completing a Master of Arts in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco. Mariya recently began a new position as Sponsorship Coordinator for the Cal Berkeley Alumni Association and is the Athlete Executive Council President for USA Synchronized Swimming. She is also a coach for the Walnut Creek Aquanauts 11-12 age group synchronized swimming team. Mariya is passionate about sport and seeks to explore career opportunities that leverage her skills and experience.
Denise Brosseau CEO,
Thought Leadership Lab
IWF Northern California Mentor to Mariya Koroleva
Jeane Lassen, Weightlifting, Canada Jeane Lassen first made the National Team at 14 and went on to represent the Yukon Territory and Canada for twenty years in Olympic weightlifting. In the course of her athletic career, she won medals at the Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and multiple World Championships. Jeane was the first Yukon athlete to compete at a Summer Olympic Games when she participated in the 2008 Beijing Games. Having completed her elementary and secondary schooling in Whitehorse, Jeane moved south to train with the National Team where she studied full-time and earned a Bachelor of Education from McGill University. During her time in Quebec, she became fluent in French. After finishing school, Jeane returned to the Yukon in 2007 to be surrounded by the positive community spirit in her last leg of her Olympic journey. Jeane is a former Executive Board member of AthletesCAN, the voice of Canadian athletes, and is currently on the Development and Education Commission for the International Weightlifting Federation. When training for the 2012 Olympic Games, Jeane attended Camosun College in the Sports Performance program and was an Instructor at the Canadian Sport School in Victoria, B.C., the first sport academy of its kind in Western Canada. In 2013 Jeane finished up her diploma and returned to the Yukon to apply what she had learned in B.C. to the formation of the Yukon Sport 4 Life School, an experiential learning program run out of her former High School. The program is the first of its kind in Northern Canada, and has helped students from all over the territory engage in positive school and sport experiences. Jeane’s position at Sport Yukon as Physical Literacy Coordinator fulfilled her passion for youth and community engagement by enabling her to travel and connect with communities across the North. Her strong connection with Yukoners inspired her to run as a candidate in the 2016 Territorial Election.
Mitzie Hunter Minister of Education, and MPP,
Scarborough-Guildwood Legislative Assembly of Ontario
IWF Canada Mentor to Jeane Lassen
Élise Marcotte, Synchronized Swimming, Canada Passionate about performance, two-time Olympian Élise Marcotte is uniquely transitioning her experience at the top of sport to her professional pathway in marketing and consulting. Fluently bilingual, Marcotte holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing (B.B.A) from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a Masters of Science in marketing (M.Sc) from HEC Montréal. Upon retirement from the Synchronized Swimming National Team in 2012, Élise led the marketing efforts of a business start-up and launched the Synchro Academy. The latter venture utilizes the experience and expertise of retired Olympians to deliver national and international seminars, creating a platform that ensures knowledge transfer to future generations and celebrates athletes’ post-career value. Élise made her Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games finishing fourth in the team event. She earned two more near-podium results at the 2012 London Games, finishing fourth in the duet competition with partner Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon, and in the team event. Élise is a Pan American Games double gold medalist (Guadalajara 2011) in team and in duet. She also competed at the Rio 2007 Pan American Games, winning a silver medal in the team event and is a two-time FINA World Championship bronze medalist (2009 and 2011). Élise is an NCCP certified coach in the Competition-Development context for synchronized swimming and a member of the Coaching Association of Canada board of directors. She was the Deputy Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015. Currently, Élise is the Marketing and Communication Manager for Game Plan, a Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee program delivering services and programs to transition national team athletes from peak performance in sport to peak performance professionally and personally.
Moyra Rodger CEO,
IWF Vancouver Mentor to Élise Marcotte
Alice McNamara, Rowing, Australia Alice McNamara is an Australian national rower and doctor (Intern) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). She will rotate through surgery, emergency, anaesthetics, orthopaedics and general medicine. She currently also holds a position at the RMH in anaesthetic research. Alice graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2015 with a Doctor of Medicine. After finishing school at Loreto Mandeville Hall, Toorak she began at the University in 2004 completing a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce. Alice is a two time World Champion in the Lightweight Women’s Quad Scull (2007 and 2008). She represented Australia on the Australian Rowing Team for 11 years between 2005 and 2015, beginning with a bronze medal in 2005 at the U23 World Championships. Alice is a six time representative in the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, returning three World Cup medals and 11 A final performances at World Championship and World Cup events. After narrowly missing selection for the LW2x boat, she was an alternate athlete for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, and 2012 games in London. Alice has competed as a rower for the Melbourne University Boat Club and Victoria since 2005. She holds a position on the Rowing Australia Athletes Commission, coaches rowing, and enjoys mentoring younger aspiring athletes. She is an 11 year Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) scholarship holder, and 3 year Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder for Rowing. Alice also enjoys leading school talks and seminars as an ambassador for combining study and sport. Alice is also an international Tower Runner, having won the Empire State Building Run Up, Eureka Climb Melbourne 6 times, Willis Tower, Chicago, KL Tower Malaysia, and Taipei 101 in Taiwan. She finished in 2nd on the Vertical World Circuit for 2016.
Dr. Susan Neuhaus General Surgeon & Surgical Oncologist,
Clinical Associate Professor,
Department of Surgery
Associate Professor, Conflict Medicine,
University of Adelaide
IWF Australia Mentor to Alice McNamara
Michelle Phillips, Ultimate Frisbee, Australia Michelle Phillips started playing Ultimate Frisbee at University in 2006. In 2008 she was selected for the Australian National women’s team, the youngest player by six years. She has continued to represent Australia at the highest level, including competing at the World Games in Colombia in 2013, and captaining the National team at the most recent World Championships. She was awarded the 2016 Female Player of the Year by Ultimate Australia in 2016. As well as being one of the top athletes in her sport, she is also heavily involved in coaching the next generation of players. Whether it’s through online mentoring programs, International skills clinics, or coaching club teams, Michelle is devoted to providing opportunities for growth. She is the Head Coach of the Under 24 National Women’s team, due to compete in the junior World Championships in early 2018. Outside of sport, Michelle’s main interests are her numerous pets and revegetating her garden with native plants. She loves any kind of creative pursuit, her recent projects include ceramics, mosaics, painting, and spoken word poetry. She works as an editor for the esteemed Thought Leaders program, and enjoys the exposure to a wonderful range of interesting manuscripts. Michelle also works as a volunteer with the HUSH Foundation, a program that creates original music to be played in hospitals as a calming influence on patients, family members, and staff. She was an integral part of the creative process for the most recent album launch, writing lyrics for the music with artists Lior and Idea of North. Her desire for the future is to take the lessons she’s learnt from leadership in sport, and transfer them into a broader context through speaking, writing, and mentoring.
Kristen Hansen Founder and Director,
IWF Australia Mentor to Michelle Phillips
Madison Poplawski, Lacrosse, United States Madison Poplawski is a four-time Ivy League Champion and All-American in lacrosse. During her athletic career she served as team Captain, was selected as a unanimous pick for First-Team All-Ivy League and set a new Ivy League record for draw controls. Madison graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Societies, concentrating in Environment and Health, and obtained a minor in Technology and Society. Academically, she thrived which is evidenced by her selections as Academic All-Ivy League and as a member of the Dean’s List. At her alma mater, Madison acts as a formal mentor to a current women’s lacrosse player, is a color commentator for live broadcast lacrosse games and interviews prospective Penn students. She currently works at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals as a Respiratory Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist in New Jersey. Post-collegiately Madison underwent microfracture surgery on her right patella and subsequent arthroscopic debridement of her knee. This experience deepened her passion for making a meaningful impact in her career field. Madison presently works out with the November Project Philly group to both maintain a healthy lifestyle and prepare for her future.
Pam Baker Director,
IWF Northern California Mentor to Madison Poplawski
Sarah Cowley Ross, Track and Field, New Zealand Sarah Cowley Ross is a New Zealand born Samoan passionate about sport with strong connections to both family and community. She is married and mum to a one year old son, Max. Sarah holds a variety of leadership roles within sport including being a New Zealand Olympic Ambassador, a National Selector for Athletics New Zealand and a presenter for the International Olympic Committee Athlete Career Program in the Oceania Region. She is a qualified physiotherapist, has a degree in Communications and regularly contributes to various media outlets in presenting, commentating and columnist roles. Sarah competed in track and field internationally for fifteen years as a heptathlete and high jumper. Her career highlights include competing at the 2012 London Olympics, fulfilling a twenty year dream, competing in two Commonwealth Games in two different events, and being a member of the Asia Pacific Team at the IAAF Continental World Cup. Sarah is ranked second all time in high jump and heptathlon in New Zealand. Since retiring from competitive athletics, she enjoys an active lifestyle with her young family, exploring her beautiful country and the world. She enjoys sinking into a good book and as a foodie creating delicious meals for family and friends. Sarah is seeking to give back to the community using sport as a medium of excellence. She wants to be in a position where she can promote sport, not only for health benefits, but for developing life skills no matter the age or gender.
Bronwyn Klei General Manager,
South Australian Cricket Association
IWF Australia Mentor to Sarah Cowley Ross
Maria Samson, Rugby, Canada Maria Samson holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining with a Minor in Management from McGill University, graduating at the top of her program. While juggling training and a full-time job, she joined the Canadian Women’s National Rugby Team in June 2011. Maria was named as Rugby Canada Player of the Year in 2012 and in 2013 went on to win the Canadian Rugby Foundation Colette McAuley Award for giving back to the sport in the true spirit of the game. She was a key member of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup Silver Medal winning team in Paris – Canada’s best finish to date. She has been an active leader on the National team, being a member of the Player’s Committee from 2012 to 2014. She has been the Secretary on the Board of Directors of AthletesCAN since 2014. In 2015, Maria was recognized as one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 for her role in sport advocacy and community leadership. Maria is an advisor at Imperial Oil, specializing in commercial business development. She continues to give back to sport as an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, Fast & Female and KidSport Calgary. Although she retired from international sport in September 2016, Maria is determined to remain active in sport advocacy.
Valeria Strappa Chief Administrative Officer,
Chase Merchant Services
Leadership Foundation Fellow Alumna Mentor to Maria Samson
Nikki Symmons, Field Hockey, Ireland Nikki Symmons is the Digital Manager for the International Hockey Federation (FIH – Field Hockey) and was head of media for Hockey at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. As a passionate sports person she thrives on using her twelve years of experience as an elite athlete to excel in the dynamic setting of the sports business world. In 2015, Nikki was inducted into the European Hockey Hall of Fame. She has experience as coach in both Hockey and Cricket, been a sport commentator and was a mentor/coach on the television series Irelands Fittest Family. She is constantly challenging herself and her colleagues to become better and stronger. Having experienced many wins and defeats during her sport career, Nikki has learned how to work extremely hard and never stop pushing the boundaries of what she can achieve. Having been a highly motivated leader in her sport, she brings her positive and creative skills to her role as an EY Women Athletes Mentoring Program Mentee.
Liz A. McMahon Managing Director,
Madison Muir Group
London 2017 World Athletic & Para-Athletic Championships
Sport Safeguarding Partnership
IWF United Kingdom Mentor to Nikki Symmons
Cecelia Townes, Tennis, United States Cecelia Townes, the Sporty Esquire, is a proud graduate of Howard University and the University of California, Los Angeles-School of Law. As an undergraduate at Howard, Cecelia was a member, former team captain and four-time Academic All-American of the Women’s Tennis team. Her experiences as a student-athlete helped propel her success through law school. Following graduation and bar passage, Cecelia worked for the District of Columbia government where she focused on administrative law. She went on to work with the federal government where her focus is administrative, personnel, environmental and torts law. In addition to her work with federal and local governments, Cecelia remains dedicated to sports. She is focused on improving the image of female athletes and women in sports and on improving the experience of student-athletes. She created the blog GladiatHers.com, a site dedicated to discussing female athletes and issues related to women in sports. In an effort to improve the student-athlete experience, Cecelia founded Beyond the Game LLC, a company that provides student-athletes with workshops that focus on wellness and rights, financial literacy, professionalism and personal branding. These workshops help prepare student-athletes for life after college sports. Cecelia makes regular appearances on podcasts, like N the Zone and the Urban Sport Scene and has been featured in Angela Lewis’ latest book, Post Moves Vol 1: The Female Athlete’s Guide to Dominate Life After College. Cecelia has participated as a guest speaker on the Winning Edge’s Pep Talk series and was a panelist on espnW’s Campus Conversations tour at Howard University. She also provides sports law commentary on espnw.com. Follow Cecelia on Twitter and Instagram at SportyEsquire and visit her website at ceceliatownes.com.
Jane E. Smith Vice President for College Relations,
IWF Georgia Mentor to Cecelia Townes
Kim Vandenberg, Swimming, United States Kim Vandenberg is an American Olympic bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympic Games in swimming (4×200 freestyle relay) a silver medalist from the 2007 World Championships (200 butterly) and a two-time gold medalist from the 2011 Pan American Games (200 butterfly and 4×200 freestyle relay). She is also a 3 time U.S. National Champion (200 butterfly) French National Champion and 16 time All-American at UCLA. Kim is an Ambassador for Kids Play International, an organization using sports as a catalyst to promote gender equity in communities impacted by genocide, and Up2Us Sports, an organization encouraging youth development through sports programs within the United States. She currently works for Excelle Sports in New York City, a sports media company covering women in sports like never before and is a mentor for RISE Elite, a unique program connecting Olympians with athletes through individualized mentoring. After the Beijing Olympics, she trained and traveled throughout Europe developing new insights into the elite mindsets of international Olympians and volunteered in Cambodia at women’s shelters, local schools, and orphanages. She traveled throughout Asia teaching at international schools on the importance of Olympic sports values and motivating children to pursue the highest level of athletic and academic excellence. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. In her free time, she enjoys painting, writing, yoga, and meditation.
Jane DeFlorio Lead Director,
Perry Ellis International and
New York Women’s Forum Mentor to Kim Vandenberg
Kristie Wetterer Phillips, Volleyball, United States Kristie Wetterer Phillips is General Counsel of Confluent Health, LLC. She practices in the area of civil defense, with a focus on products liability, pharmaceutical device, and medical malpractice litigation. Kristie attended the University of Louisville graduating in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing. She was selected the Most Outstanding Marketing Graduate of her class and graduated with highest honors. While attending the University of Louisville, she was a member of and served as captain on the University of Louisville Women’s Volleyball team. The team was the Big East Conference Champion all four years she was a member of the team and also reached the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament each year, including the Sweet Sixteen in 2005. Kristie held many leadership positions during her undergraduate career, including serving as President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Following her undergraduate career, she attended the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, graduating with her Juris Doctor in 2012. While in law school, she participated in many extracurricular activities and served as the Student Bar Association President and as an Associate Editor of the University of Louisville Law Review. Currently, Kristie serves as Immediate Past-President of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law Alumni Council, member of the Board of Regents of Whitehall, and volunteer for the Domestic Violence Assistance Program through Legal Aid of Louisville. She previously served as a board member and Secretary for Girls on the Run Louisville and participated in Leadership Louisville’s Ignite Program in 2015.
Nelea Absher Senior Vice President, Managing Director,
Corporate Development & Associate General Counsel (Ret.),
IWF Kentucky Mentor to Kristie Wetterer
Rhian Wilkinson, Soccer, Canada Rhian Wilkinson is the third most capped player in Canadian Soccer history. She has participated in four Women’s World Cups, three Olympic Games and is a two-time Olympic Bronze medalist. In 2015 she was voted to Canada’s All time XI team and was voted Canada’s Fan favorite in 2007. She has played for club teams in both Norway and the US, and credits sport with instilling in her a love of travel. She has lived in Canada, the USA, Norway, Wales, and Italy. Rhian believes strongly in giving back and works closely with Right to Play, Because I am a Girl, Special Olympics and Suitcases For Africa. She frequently donates time to speak with local youth programs, and mentors youth through her website, email and one on one meetings. Winning Olympic medals is the highlight of Rhian’s sporting career, and sharing those medals with all Canadians brings her tremendous satisfaction. She has a passion for inspiring and empowering the next generation and has worked closely with the Canadian youth programs, working as an assistant coach for the 2014 World Cup in Canada. She loves the cello, has played it on and off since 2005 and is still struggling to hold it correctly. She knits, enjoys spending time with loved ones, and is an avid reader, favorites include: Into Thin Air, Little Women, The Alchemist, and Farewell to Arms. She started her company iS4 with teammates Karina LeBlanc, Diana Matheson and Christine Sinclair as a way of continuing to influence and motivate, no matter the audience. She believes that there are no shortcuts and speaks to the work, character, and mental fortitude needed to achieve balanced success.
Andrea Shaw Founder & Managing Partner,
Twenty Ten Group and
IWF Canada Mentor to Rhian Wilkinson
Shannon Willoughby, Rugby, New Zealand Shannon Willoughby is a world champion rugby player. As a member of the New Zealand (NZ) Black Fern’s she won the 2006 Women’s World Rugby Cup. She also won a National Championship with the Auckland Storm and previously won 7 consecutive Club Championships with Otago University, the highest wins by any female rugby player in NZ. Shannon retired from competitive rugby in 2008 to work towards her childhood dream of becoming a pilot. After qualifying as a Flight Instructor, in 2014 at the age of 32, she suffered the first of two Strokes and was told she would lose her aviation medical permit and would likely never fly again. She made it her mission to prove that she was healthy enough to continue flying and started playing representative rugby again. In 2015, 7 years after retiring, six months after the two strokes and three months after a heart operation, she won her first National Rugby Championship with the Auckland Storm. In 2016 after only 18 months, she was granted her aviation medical permit once again and cleared to fly. Playing sport again was a major contributor to getting her medical permit back and motivated her to encourage more women to participate in aviation and sport. She hopes to do this through social media and her online presence as @pilotchick. An online entrepreneur, Shannon runs online businesses selling products and also acting as a mentor to those starting in the eCommerce space. After the first stroke, she also went back to work full-time as a recruitment consultant as she missed being part of a team and working towards a collective goal. Shannon is hugely driven and passionate about helping others achieve their goals. She would love to use her background, skills, experiences and setbacks to help encourage others that anything is possible!
Helen Wiseman Co-Founder,
TEC Chair, CEO Mentor,
The Executive Connection
IWF Australia Mentor to Shannon Willoughby