13 female leaders join advisory group for girls and women in sport

Mar 23, 2016

Vancouver, BC – Thirteen female sport leaders have joined the second term of viaSport’s Girls and Women Advisory Group (GWAG) for sport and physical activity in British Columbia. viaSport welcomes seven new members, including B.C. Olympians Karina LeBlanc and Allison Forsyth, and Paralympian Elisabeth Walker-Young.

“Creating more equitable opportunities for girls and women in sport is a priority for the Province of B.C.,” says Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “Having the right leaders around the table is crucial as we start to translate our goals into action.”

Most recently, the Girls and Women Advisory Group played a key role in the development of the viaSport Gender Equity in Sport and Physical Activity Policy, followed by the launch of the #LEVELTHEFIELD gender equity campaign.

“viaSport’s goal is to see 50 per cent female representation across all levels of sport in B.C. by the year 2020,” says Sheila Bouman, viaSport CEO. “Currently at 42 per cent, we are proud to have some of B.C.’s top thought leaders and sector experts working with us to achieve this goal.”

GWAG was founded in 2013 to provide advice and recommendations to viaSport on strategy and policy development, best practices, and program delivery for achieving gender equity in sport and physical activity in British Columbia. The latest GWAG membership represents a variety of expertise across sport, recreation, and physical activity.

“Soccer has given me confidence and been a platform for me to realize that my voice is for a reason,” says Karina LeBlanc, Olympic medalist and new member of GWAG. “I love knowing that I can play a role in helping to empower girls and women because I believe [when] you empower women, you empower a community. Joining the Girls and Women Advisory Group is one of the many ways that I’ve continued to ensure that I’m giving back to a sport that gave me so much.”

Learn more about the viaSport Girls and Women Advisory Group at www.viasport.ca/advisory-groups



  • Bryna Kopelow (Vancouver): Consultant, JW Sporta – Health, Physical Activity and Sport Education Consultant
  • Dominique Falls, PhD (ABD) (North Vancouver): Regular Faculty, Douglas College Sport Science Department Dominique Falls, BSc, MA, PhD (ABD)
  • Jaci Edgeworth (North Vancouver): North American Manager, ivivva athletica
  • Joan Wharf Higgins, PhD (Victoria): Professor and Canada Research Chair (Health & Society) in the School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education at the University of Victoria
  • Loreen Barnett (North Vancouver): Secretary General, International Triathlon Union, and viaSport Board Member
  • NEW – Robyn Butler (Comox): Marketing Specialist, Comox Valley Regional District
  • NEW – Allison Forsyth (North Vancouver): Director, Brand and Community, ivviva athletica, and Olympian in alpine skiing
  • NEW – Annabel Kehoe (Vancouver): CEO, BC Rugby
  • NEW – Devon Brown (Vancouver): Executive Assistant, viaSport
  • NEW – Elisabeth Walker-Young (North Vancouver): Project Specialist, viaSport, and Paralympian in swimming
  • NEW – Karina LeBlanc (Vancouver): Mentor, speaker, advocate, and Olympian in soccer
  • NEW – Sharon White (Victoria): Sport Consultant, Sport Branch, Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
  • NEW – Shauna Taylor (Kelowna): General Manager, PacificSport Okanagan

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Photo: Left to right: (Back row) Joan Wharf Higgins, Shaunna Taylor, Robyn Butler, Karina LeBlanc, Loreen Barnett, (Bottom row) Dominique Falls, Bryna Kopelow, Allison Forsyth, Elisabeth Walker-Young. Missing: Devon Brown, Jaci Edgeworth, Annabel Kehoe, Sharon White


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About viaSport British Columbia: viaSport British Columbia is a not-for-profit organization created by the Provincial Government in 2011 as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Our mandate is to increase awareness, opportunity and participation in sport across the province – at every stage of life and in every community. By leading the province’s sport sector in building a stronger, more effective system, we will bring more families to the field of play, more fans into the stands, more athletes to the podium, and more sports events to the province. Learn more at viasport.ca


Media Contact:

Elisabeth Walker-Young
Project Specialist, Sport Development