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CAAWS – Ottawa, May 31, 2016 – After completing a thorough search for the new leader, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) is excited to welcome Allison Sandmeyer-Graves as the new CEO of the organization.

“I am privileged to announce the hiring of Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the non-profit sector to CAAWS”, said Jennifer Fenton, Chair of the CAAWS Board of Directors.  “We believe Allison is the right leader to leverage CAAWS’ extensive expertise, resources, programs and relationships to fundamentally influence gender equity in Canada’s sport and physical activity system. With growing public concern for achieving gender equity, CAAWS is well-positioned and poised to support organizations and stakeholders to respond and adapt constructively. Allison’s leadership during this pivotal time will be key to realizing the real and lasting change that we seek on behalf of all Canadians.”

Sandmeyer-Graves joins CAAWS after a decade in senior leadership roles with Free The Children, a Toronto-based organization that built and leads a national and international movement challenging the status quo for young people and their communities. She brings with her significant experience in scaling social impact through innovative partnerships, programming, fundraising and operations. Her past work includes designing the year-long program to accompany the We Day events across Canada, engaging and supporting young people to raise millions of dollars and contribute volunteer hours to Canadian causes annually in a coordinated effort.

Sandmeyer-Graves’ academic and professional career has largely focused on supporting excluded populations to access opportunities and assert their rights and entitlements. She is thus steeped in CAAWS’ core values and principles. For Sandmeyer-Graves, the sport and physical activity system is an ideal point of influence to improve the lives of Canadian women and Canadian society as a whole.

“I believe that sport and physical activity offer powerful avenues for people to realize their full potential in every area of life. Involvement in sport and physical activity from a young age was key to me developing a strong sense of self and of community. My goal is for every girl and woman to feel as encouraged and well-supported as I was then and am today,” said Sandmeyer-Graves. “CAAWS’ achievements over the past 30 years in advancing equity for women and other marginalized groups to benefit from and contribute through this space is remarkable.  I am honoured to carry this mission forward.”

“Allison’s experience helping to develop a national movement will without a doubt assist her in CAAWS’ mission to achieve gender equity across the sport and physical activity sector in Canada,” said Fenton. “She is focussed on making a positive impact in this field, and we are confident she will.”

A detailed bio for Allison Sandmeyer-Graves can also be found on the CAAWS website.

CAAWS thanks Lighthouse Search for their exceptional work in leading the CEO search process.

The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating an equitable sport and physical activity system in which girls and women are actively engaged as participants and leaders.  CAAWS provides a number of services, programs and resources to a variety of clients, including sport and physical activity organizations, teachers, coaches, athletes, volunteers, health professionals and recreation leaders.  Since 1981, CAAWS has worked in close cooperation with government and non-government organizations on activities and initiatives that advocate for positive change for girls and women in sport and physical activity.

Follow @CAAWS on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Haley Wolfenden

Communications, Marketing and Events Manager

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity

613-562-5667 |