Girls Rugby and Empodera – Transformação Social Pelo Esporte have partnered together to provide an exchange program for non-elite coaches of female sports programs who are looking for a way to improve their craft. The International Sport Program Initiative (ISPI) is a Sports Diplomacy program funded by the U.S. Department of State and facilitated through Women Win. The program will send twelve (12) coaches and administrators to Brazil to learn from other female sports organizations around the theme Advancing the Playing Field: Empowering Young Female Athletes Through Sport. The participants come from across the United States and represent several different sports and organizations. Scroll down to get to know them more.
Read more about the ISPI Program HERE.
Shaina M. is a Pacific Northwest native. Born and raised in Olympia, WA. She is a mom, wife, daughter, sister, student, and her professional job as a health insurance trainer supporting the Affordable Care Act. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling, learning, and pretty much any adventure with her family. Over the last five years rugby has been a part of her life watching her two step sons play, her husband coach, participating as a player with a women’s club, and recently supporting the Girls Rugby program in Thurston County. One of the most important things we can do as moms, leaders, coaches, and friends is encourage each individual to their potential and help lead them to opportunities to strengthen their spirits.
Rachel Huth is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington. When she’s not working, she is the head coach for Special Olympics Unified Sports (a coed inclusion program for athletes with and without disabilities). In addition, she coaches for Girls Rugby Inc. and a co-ed Vancouver youth rugby team. She has spent most of her life participating in various sports including rugby, soccer, swimming, and dance. Rachel enjoys Crossfit, coffee, and hiking with her two dogs and husband, Alex. Traveling to Brazil will be Rachel’s fourth continent and she hopes to visit all seven someday.
Olympic Weightlifting, Crossfit, Yoga
Laura Diebold, CSCS, holds a B.A. in Philosophy from McGill University, where she completed a kinesiology internship under the department of athletics. She has overseen wellness programs, trained individuals and taught group classes in a variety of settings from personal training studios and YMCAs to assisted living communities and physiotherapy clinics. She currently works with athletes of all ages and abilities in Baltimore, MD, specializing in kettlebells, Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit and yoga.
Olympic Weightlifting and Strength Training
Naomi currently serves as the Fitness Coordinator for the Wellness and Recreation department at North Carolina State University. She provides leadership and directs a personal training program that has 35 student personal trainers and serves over 175 unique clients. Primary responsibilities focus on teaching and evaluating students to become well-rounded personal trainers, coaches, and individuals. In 2019, Matley completed her Master of Science in Health Education & Promotion and Higher Education Leadership degrees at the University of Cincinnati. Additionally, she holds her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Psychology from Wingate University, where she competed as a student-athlete for the Women’s Soccer team. Naomi has worked in cardiac rehabilitation, olympic weightlifting, strength and conditioning, and youth soccer settings. She currently serves on the Diversity and Inclusion, Risk Management, and Student Development committees at North Carolina State University.
Kettie Norton is a passionate Girls Rugby coach. While rugby is her first love she has participated in multiple sports (lacrosse, field hockey, swimming, to name a few). When not coaching Girls Rugby she can be found coaching Girls on the Run or hanging out with her wife and dog exploring their neighborhood. She believes the key to women’s success in sports is investing in today girls to make them tomorrows incredible leaders!
Erin Kennedy has worked in sports administration for over 10 years, focusing most of that in rugby development and administration. She is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Girls Rugby and is currently the Regional Development Manager for Rugby Americas North. Kennedy brings experience from her time with USA Rugby, Rugby Canada, and the International Olympic Committee, focusing on grassroots development and mass participation programs. Kennedy is also a World Rugby Educator, holds a Master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology, and is a passionate advocate for the growth of youth and women’s rugby in North America. She is also the author of The Value of Rugby, a children’s book aimed at teaching the core values of rugby.
Sophie Ohaus has worked for Girls on the Run of the Rockies for three years. She is in charge of recruiting, placing and training over 1,000 coaches annually along with managing the teams in Northern and Southern Colorado. She is super excited for the exchange in Brazil and cannot wait to bring back what she learns to Girls on the Run!
Dominique Rios Ochoa
Dominique grew up in San Diego and has always had a passion and love for sports. She has played on soccer, basketball, softball, and rugby teams. She moved to Chicago, IL and graduated from Loyola University Chicago where she played and assisted coaching rugby. While in Chicago, Dominique had the opportunity to intern with US Soccer Development Academy and the NFL Draft. Since moving back to San Diego, she has started coaching for Girls Rugby and has loved every minute of it. She has loved seeing how young girls grow in confidence and skills over the season and looks forward to what skills and knowledge the next seasons will bring.
CEO and Co-Founder of Girls Rugby, Inc. Jenn believes deeply in the transformational power of sport and has dedicated much of her career to building athletic programs that empower young people to become the best versions of themselves. She has applied this belief in her professional as well as her personal life as a youth coach and team captain. Jenn earned a degree in Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she and her husband raised their two children and love taking advantage of the phenomenal Pacific Northwest outdoor playground.
Alpine Skiing, Weightlifting, and CrossFit
Meghan is a certified, active, coach in three sports, Alpine Skiing, CrossFit and Weightlifting. She also owns three businesses. Meghan’s primary organization, Skiing is Believing, is on a mission to “promote, support and ease access to (snow) sports.” A portable ski slope and year-round children’s sports camps help SIB increase participation in (snow) sports while also diversifying the industry. Despite striving for constant improvement, Meghan accepts she will never be the best coach, skier, or athlete. However, she absolutely strives to have the most energy, dedication, and passion. It’s her mission to share the physical and mental benefits of sport with as many people as possible.
Weightlifting and Strength Training
Jillian Seamon is an athletic trainer at St. Luke’s University Health Network, where she initiates and grows female programs as a member of the Sports Medicine & Performance staff, such as the strength training based “Empower with Power”. Jillian is also a nationally ranked weightlifter for Team USA, most recently having taken gold at an international competition in Switzerland. Previously, she had been a conference champion and school record-breaking javelin thrower in college at the University of Delaware and played basketball and softball through childhood and high school. She hopes to inspire girls to be the best versions of themselves.
Hannah Harper, CMO and co-founder at Girls Rugby, Inc. Hannah grew a true passion for sports from a young age and through her personal journey as an athlete and coach experienced the transformational power that sports can have on a life. Along with her passion for sport, Hannah also is inspired by the power of marketing and the role it can play in positively impacting the world through building relationships and delivering compelling stories. Hannah earned a degree in Communications from Oregon State University and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations. This mission is accomplished through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges that engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries. The Sports Diplomacy division uses the international language of sports as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding and the peaceful resolution/prevention of conflict; to increase awareness among young people of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness in order to prevent illness, substance abuse, and negative behaviors; and to increase the opportunities for women and girls around the world, and throughout the U.S., to participate in sports.
Women Win is the global leader in girls’ and women’s empowerment through sport and has impacted the lives of over 2,822,400 adolescent girls and young women in over 100 countries since 2007. Women Win’s mission is to advance the playing field that empowers her through sport and play. Learn more about Women Win by visiting www.womenwin.org
Girls Rugby, Inc. empowers girls to reach their potential through sport by combining flag rugby programming with a values-based curriculum. Established in 2018, Girls Rugby has programming in a number of states throughout the U.S. and believes in helping young girls become the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow. Learn more about Girls Rugby by visiting www.girlsrugbyinc.com
Empodera – Transformação Social Pelo Esporte is a non-profit organization based in Rio de Janeiro, which was founded in 2017 by two young women with 10 years of collective experience in gender and sport. Empodera – Transformação Social Pelo Esporte (‘Empower’ in English) was created to address a large gap in the way sport for development organisations in Brazil approach gender equity through sport. Learn more about Empodera – Transformação Social Pelo Esporte by visiting http://www.empodera.org.br