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WHO WE ARE

It is our mission to provide young girls the opportunity to become the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow through the sport of rugby. We believe by providing more girls the opportunity to play rugby that we will succeed in positively changing their lives and instilling core values that they will carry with them and use to make a positive difference in our world.

We are a passionate, driven and motivated team that believes whole heartedly in our vision to provide rugby for her.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. Robin Pace

Dr. Robin Pace

President

As a high school and college athlete, Robin developed a passion for health and fitness and began her undergrad work at Florida State University. Robin graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and a masters in Recreation Administration. Her career path included Personal Training, Parks and Recreation, and a super fun stint with the Girl Scouts.

Through all her career changes, one thing remained constant – a passion for helping others, which is what ultimately led her to begin chiropractic school at Sherman College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Robin received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 2007 and since then has opened her own practice.

Jason Harper

Jason Harper

Vice President

Professionally, Jason is passionate about improving the full life cycle of a brand’s experience. His experience across branding, operations and building unique user experiences paired with his background of playing rugby in South Africa, provides a unique perspective that will support the mission and vision of Girls Rugby. Jason is passionate about blending his professional and athletic experience to help grow the game and looks forward to supporting the organization.

Jason joined the team because he whole-heartedly believes in the mission of Girls Rugby and the positive impact sports can have on a young persons life.

 

Sarah Quist

Sarah Quist

Treasurer

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and the youngest of four children, Sarah grew up passionate about sports. Sarah was a competitive swimmer, equestrian, golfer, and tennis player. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Sarah went on to work in the finance in industry in Portland, Oregon. Today she is a partner with Vision Capital Management, a women-founded and women-led investment advisory firm.

Sarah is a mother to four children and has stayed active in sports through her children. Several years ago, Sarah was thrilled when two of her children joined Rugby teams. A game she loved but could never play as a young adult because she was a “girl.” Sarah’s love for rugby dates back to her grandfather, Dink Templeton. Dink was a rugby, track and football star at Stanford. In 1920, Dink was on the United States Olympic rugby team, and that year the U.S. upset France to win the gold medal. As an athlete, mother, and woman, Sarah believes in giving unconditional support and guidance to the next generation of women, which is why she decided to join Girl Rugby.

FOUNDERS

Jenn Heinrich

Jenn Heinrich

Mother I Wife I Sister I Athlete I Coach I Founder

Jenn, originally from Short Hills, NJ, grew up a tomboy who played soccer, basketball, softball and swam competitively. She played soccer for Vanderbilt University and stays active today either on the tennis court or with her husband and two children in the amazing Oregon outdoor playground. Jenn has spent the past 15 years building Rugby Oregon, the first Youth and High School State Rugby Organization (SRO) in the United States. Rugby Oregon became the foundational model used by USA Rugby to roll out 46 SROs across the country.

Jenn is passionate about the transformative power of sport and believes that a positive culture, steeped in respect, changes lives. Jenn knows first-hand that participation in a positive youth sports environment builds confidence and teaches valuable life lessons that prepare you for success in life. Many young people will never play another sport post-high school, but they will carry the valuable skills they’ve learned into the communities where they live, work and play.

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy

Educator I Athlete I Friend I Dreamer I Founder

Erin grew up in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania called Jim Thorpe. She was immediately drawn to sports and spent her time playing softball, basketball, and running cross country. After graduating from Marywood University, Erin made the trek across the country to pursue her passions of sports and psychology at the University of Denver. She started her career following graduate school at USA Rugby, where she managed various youth programs. She also started her own path in rugby as a player, coach, and coach educator. Erin continued her career following her tenure at USA Rugby by consulting with Rugby America’s North (RAN) and Rugby Canada, before working for the International Olympic Committee on the Youth Olympic Games. She moved back to the US in 2016 and continued consulting for Rugby Canada and other sports organizations.

Erin has seen first-hand the difference that sports can make in a young woman’s life and believes that every girl needs an opportunity to play. She is incredibly passionate about empowering women to do better and be better in every aspect of their lives. Young girls become great women when they are given the right opportunities early on.

Hannah Harper

Hannah Harper

Mother I Wife I Sister I Athlete I Coach I Founder

Hannah grew up in a small town in Oregon called Canby. She grew up playing youth soccer from a young age and also spent time playing volleyball and basketball. She started playing rugby at the age of 16 and immediately fell in love with the game and culture of the sport. Throughout her time at Oregon State University, she earned her first cap (where you play in an international game for the first time) for the United States as a USA Rugby All-American. After graduating from Oregon State, Hannah followed her passion for rugby to San Diego to pursue her dream of representing the United States at the highest level. While competing at the Olympic Training Center she earned her international USA Rugby 7s Cap. During the same period she worked at ATAVUS Rugby growing and developing youth rugby in Southern California. In 2015, after completing her time at the international level, she founded the Institute of Rugby with the mission to elevate rugby in Southern California.

Hannah has personally been transformed by the positive culture of the sport of rugby and the supportive coaches and mentors throughout her time as an athlete. She is passionate about creating positive rugby experiences for young girls and inspiring the next generation to fall in love with rugby just as her coaches and mentors did for her.

GIRLS RUGBY CHAMPIONS

Shaina Mittlestead

Shaina Mittlestead

Program Coordinator, Washington

My favorite Girls Rugby value is empowerment because I feel that is something lost in young girls. Feeling empowered helps fuel so many other values and quality characteristics. When you’re empowered you can take on the world!

Kettie Norton

Kettie Norton

Program Coordinator, Southern California

My favorite thing about Girls Rugby is watching the girls progress throughout the season,  as they develop their skills, game knowledge and confidence on and off the field. The difference between the first and last game is awe-inspiring!

Sharyn Boedeker

Sharyn Boedeker

Program Coordinator, Ohio (Columbus)

Rugby for Her to me means that we are FOR girls and not just as athletes, but that we are here to grow girls as leaders and role models. It means we value girls and women and SEE them for the strong, confident, persistent athletes and people that they are.

Rachel Huth

Rachel Huth

Community Champion, Oregon/SW Washington

My favorite Girls Rugby value is Bravery. Nothing gets better than the moment when a girl who is nervous about meeting new people, stepping on the field, or running forward with the ball is able to make the change to be brave and try those scary things. You can see it on her face and it’s amazing!

Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson

Program Coordinator, North Carolina

To me, “Rugby for Her” means inclusion for everyone. “Rugby for Her” means bridging the gap between genders and largely supporting growth of the game of rugby for females, and doing so by promoting strength, acceptance, bravery, and toughness.
Monica Schafer

Monica Schafer

Program Coordinator, Colorado

My favorite memory was being a part of the Eagles/Barbarians games and watching the excitement on the girls faces while they got to interact with that level of experience and see what their future could hold!

Morgan Wisehart

Morgan Wisehart

Program Coordinator, Northern California

Why I wanted to be part of the Girls Rugby team is because I believe in the mission of Girls Rugby and am passionate about female empowerment and understand the importance of instilling these values in young girls. 

Elizabeth Mackenzie

Elizabeth Mackenzie

Program Coordinator, Oregon/SW Washington

I am looking forward to the smiles. One of the best parts! I love seeing the girls feeling like they have had the best day and had so much fun with friends. 

Nicole Gaynor

Nicole Gaynor

Community Champion, Southern California

My favorite Girls Rugby value is Leadership because there are a lot of opportunities at practice and games for the girls to step up and come out of their shell!

Jessica Sang

Jessica Sang

Intern, Ohio (Cincinnati)

I wanted to work with Girls Rugby because I want to see rugby grow in the US. But more than that, I know how much rugby has to offer; new skills, memories and most importantly, family. And I want all of these young girls to enjoy all of it!