The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) has named 20 women in its Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity list for 2011, including trailblazing boxer Mary Spencer of Wiarton, Ont., an aboriginal woman who is expected to win an Olympic medal as women's boxing makes an appearance at the London Games this summer.
Spencer moved up from last year's Ones to Watch list issued by CAAWS.
Among other names listed as influential women this year are Anne Merklinger, the former top curler who was in charge of Canadian canoe-kayak sport when it rose to be an Olympic power and now director of summer sport for Own the Podium. Also included is federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq who is from Nunavut.
"CAAWS publishes its Most Influential Women list to celebrate and honour Canadian women who are influencing change in their area of expertise of sport and physical activity," said CAAWS Executive Director Karin Lofstrom of Ottawa. "These leaders share a passion for sport and physical activity – and use it to improve the lives of others. These women are game changers who motivate others to become leaders."
The CAAWS list – which has been published for 11 years – includes athletes, officials, coaches, politicians, professors, administrators and volunteers. Some women have been named to the list several times, such as Paralympian and coach Chantal Petitclerc; and some are new to the list like Olympic boxer Spencer, and Karen Rackel, who is the first woman president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association in its 116-year-old history.
Nine women are first-timers on the list, while Olympian Beckie Scott and Paralympic wheelchair racing legend Petitclerc have each been named six times, and Olympian Charmaine Crooks has appeared a record seven times.
The CAAWS Most Influential Women For 2011
(in alphabetical order)
Dr Jodi Abbott, Official and volunteer with Skate Canada, (Edmonton, Alberta)
Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, (Gjoa Haven and Iqaluit, Nunavut)
Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO, Women's Tennis Association, (St Petersburg, Florida/Welland, Ontario)
Caroline Assalian, Chief Sport Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee, (Ottawa, Ontario)
Claire Buffone-Blair, President and CEO, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, (Calgary, AB)
Canadian Women's National Soccer Team (2011 team)
Charmaine Crooks, Board of Directors, Canadian Olympic Committee, (Vancouver, BC)
Dr. Wendy Frisby, Chair of Women's and Gender Studies, University of British Columbia, (Vancouver, BC)
Wendy Gittens, Executive Director, Wheelchair Basketball Canada, (Ottawa, Ontario)
Andrea Grantham, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Physical and Health Education Canada, (Ottawa, Ontario)
Dr. Vicki Harber, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, (Edmonton, Alberta)
Lindsay Hugenholtz, Deputy CEO, 2011 Canada Winter Games, (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Clara Hughes, Olympian and advocate, (Winnipeg, Manitoba / Glenn Sutton, Quebec)
Élaine Lauzon, Director General, Égale Action, (Montreal, Québec)
Anne Merklinger, Director Summer Sports, Own the Podium, (Ottawa, Ontario)
Kelly Murumets, President and CEO, ParticipACTION, (Toronto, Ontario)
Chantal Petitclerc, Spokesperson, volunteer and coach, (Montréal, Québec)
Karen Rackel, President of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, (Edmonton, Alberta)
Beckie Scott, Olympian and advocate, (Vermillion, Alberta)
Mary Spencer, Athlete and volunteer, (Windsor, Ontario)
CAAWS also nominates emerging leaders as Ones to Watch. The two outstanding women selected for 2011 are:
Andrea Carey, Director of Operations & Community Engagement, Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (Victoria, British Columbia); and Alexandra Orlando, Marketing Associate, Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee (Toronto, Ontario). We look forward to following their careers in sport and physical activity. Boxer Spencer was on the Ones to Watch list for 2010.