Rosie MacLennan & Dave Ross

Rosie & dave

In London 2012, Rosie MacLennan entered the Olympic final in the fourth and final spot and within reach of the podium. What she did next would define her athletic career – she won Canada’s only individual gold medal of the London Games. With an engaging smile and gracious spirit, she quickly became Canada’s sweetheart.

As the Pan Am Games made their way to her hometown, Rosie renewed her focus on defending her title in Toronto and doing something in Rio 2016 that has never been accomplished in women’s trampoline – three triple flips in a single routine. With a near-perfect performance in front of a sold-out Canadian crowd – including her family and closest friends – she jumped to another gold medal in Toronto. For the clearly-appreciative fans, Rosie had delivered the performance of the Pan Am Games.

Rosie’s ambition extends to her academic life as well. A graduate student at the University of Toronto, she’s currently completing her master’s thesis on social change through sport. She hopes that her athletic experience and education will provide her with a solid foundation to build a better Canada through her research insights about athletes beyond high performance sport and her work with charitable organizations like Jumpstart and Active at School.

In Rio 2016, as Canada’s Flag Bearer for the Opening Ceremonies, Rosie lead a promising Team Canada into Maracana Stadium. And after a year of battling through two head injuries that lead to vision problems and headaches that nearly derailed her career, she entered the Games with an opportunity to do something no other summer Olympian had ever done for our Country – defend an Olympic title.

Then, on August 12, after a shaky preliminary round, she steadied her focus, stayed high and centered on the trampoline, and bounced her way to a second consecutive gold medal.

Jama Mahlalela

Jama Mahlalela - Head Shot (2)

Jama Mahlalela enters his fourth season as Assistant Coach of the Toronto Raptors. Mahlalela moved to the bench following two seasons working in the Raptors’ front-office as Director of player development.

He started with the Toronto Raptors on the community development staff in 2006, leading the Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. Mahlalela was named Director of basketball operations for NBA Asia in 2009 and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

Mahlalela played collegiately at the University of British Columbia and served as Assistant Coach at the University of Toronto for four seasons.

Kent Austin

May 29, 2016; Hamilton, Ontario, CAN; 2016 Hamilton Tiger-Cats at training camp. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski

Kent Austin joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on December 17, 2012 as Vice President of Football Operations, General Manager and Head Coach. In four seasons at the helm, he has led Hamilton to a combined 36-36 record, two East Division titles, three Eastern Final appearances, and Grey Cup games in 2013 and 2014.

Austin was named a finalist for the CFL Coach of the Year award in 2013 when the Ticats became the first team in league history to reach the Grey Cup without a single CFL all-star. The native of Natick, Massachusetts has captured a Grey Cup championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach in his career.

Prior to his time in Hamilton, Austin spent five years in the NCAA from 2008 to 2012, the latter three as Head Coach at Cornell University. Austin also spent two seasons (2008-09) as Offensive Coordinator at the University of Mississippi, his alma mater.

Austin’s first stint as a head coach came in 2007 when he was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year after leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 12-6 record and the franchise’s first Grey Cup championship in 18 years. His previous CFL experience includes serving as Quarterbacks Coach with the Ottawa Renegades (2003) and Offensive Coordinator with the Toronto Argonauts (2004-06). Two quarterbacks under Austin’s guidance have been named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player; Damon Allen in 2004 and Kerry Joseph in 2007.

As a player, he enjoyed a successful 11-year pro career at quarterback that began with the St. Louis Cardinals after they selected him in the 12th round of the 1986 NFL Draft. Following one year with the Cardinals, Austin spent 10 seasons in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1987-93), B.C. Lions (1994), Toronto Argonauts (1995) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1996).

Dr. Dean Kriellaars

Dr Dean Kriellaars is a faculty member of the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Rehabilitation Sciences in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

He has advocated on behalf of physical literacy for nearly 15 years, working with such organizations as the Children’s Hospital Research Institute, PHE Canada, Aspen Institute (Project Play), Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, the National Circus School and Cirque du Soleil. He has pioneered programs that have been adopted nationwide and was one of the primary contributors to PHE Canada’s “Passport for Life”, as well as the creator of the Physical Literacy Assessment for Youth (PLAY) tools. Dr. Kriellaars has earned many accolades including two major university teaching awards, national and international awards for scientific research and innovation, and recognition for his impressive outreach activities.

Dr. Stephen R. Norris

Steve norris

Dr. Stephen Norris is a leading performance consultant and sport scientist currently working with a select group of international organizations engaged in the performance of sport, business, and military objectives. Stephen is specifically assisting Hockey Canada with a broad strategy of targeted initiatives encompassing grass roots development, elite performance, and the very soul of the organization. Previously, Stephen, as the Chief Sport Officer at WinSport, was part of the visionary team that laid the foundation for the WinSport Winter Sport Institute based in Calgary and Canmore, Alberta.

Recognized as a leading authority on child and youth activity & athletic development, Stephen is also one of the five founding contributors to the ‘Canadian Sport for Life’ movement concerning long term athlete/participant development and the concept of ‘physical literacy’ within Canada.

Previously, Stephen was the Director of Sport Physiology & Strategic Planning at the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary where he was focused on Canada’s Winter Olympic teams for three Olympic cycles (Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, & Vancouver 2010) within the multidisciplinary team headed by Dr. David Smith. He continues to work with Canada’s Winter Olympic Teams as a lead performance consultant, including the preparation for the most recent Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Dr. Amanda J. Visek

Dr. Amanda J. Visek, CC-AASP is an Associate Professor and scientist-practitioner at The George Washington University, Department of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C. Her federally funded applied research includes the FUN MAPS – the latest sport science advancement capturing attention from grassroots communities to national sport organizations.

The FUN MAPS are the scientific blueprints for the fun integration theory, the first-ever fully conceptual framework for optimizing youth’s positive sport experiences in childhood and through adolescence. Her work has been featured in USA Today,  the Washington Post,  the Huffington Post, CBS Radio, ABC News, NBC News, FOX News and has also been featured in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Poland, and India. She has authored over 25 peer-reviewed papers, 5 book chapters, and given more than 116 refereed and invited talks. The recipient of early career achievement awards from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the American Psychological Association’s Division 47, she is committed to leveraging children’s fun in sport.

Paul Shaw 


Paul Shaw is currently the  Coaching Education Director for the Virginia Youth Soccer Association. He is also a National Instructor with  US Soccer and US Youth Soccer. His over 27 years of coaching experience includes: Canadian Professional Soccer League, United Soccer League (PDL, W-League), various US colleges, and roles as a Technical Director of various youth soccer clubs. Shaw holds a  US Soccer “A” License and a National Youth License from United Youth Soccer, a High Performance Coaching Diploma from the Canadian National Coaching Institute and a Masters in Physical Education  from Western Illinois University. He has been a guest Instructor for the US State Department, presented at various national conferences, coaching seminars and participated with the VCU/US State Department on social/sport development tours of China and South Africa. Currently, a Head Coach for one of  Virginia’s Olympic Development Program’s teams, he has represented the state in Region events and on International tours.

Shari Hollett

Shari is a facilitator/teacher, Second City alumnus, director, and writer/performer.  She is  Co-founder  of both The Corner Office and the night kitchen theatre company. She has led scores of workshops over the past 20 years, for clients such as Wells Fargo, Toyota, Xerox, CPA, Morgan Stanley, PWC, Coca Cola, CIBC, Rogers, and Wind Mobile. Previous to her work in theatre, Shari spent several years on the ground floor in the world of advertising and marketing working for NOW Magazine.

As an actor, Shari has appeared in her own work, as well as Video Cabaret’s City For Sale, Chris Earle’s Russell Hill and The Proceedings, and The Martha Stewart Projects, For the Second City, London, she appeared in 5 revues as a writer/performer. Selected T.V appearances include Stir of Echoes 2, The West Wing, Wild Card, Guilt by Association, Walter and Henry, Blue Murder, The Dan Jansen Story, and SCTV. Stage directing credits include If it’s Tuesday this must be Belleville(Second City National Touring Company), The Dysfunctional Holiday Revue, Michigan Impossible(Second City Detroit). Shari has specialized in dramaturging and directing original works including Sean Reycraft’s critically acclaimed One Good Marriage, and Chris Earle’s award-winning playsRadio:30 and Democrats Abroad in both Toronto and New York.

She has worked as  a director across the country. She also teaches for The Second City Conservatory Program, Cawthra School for the Arts, The Etobicoke School for the Arts as well as many other high schools in the GTA.

Heather Mannix

Mannix head shot (3)

Heather Mannix, MS, an independent research contractor, works closely on projects to enhance the understanding, facilitation, and program development of fun and physical literacy in youth sports. She earned her Master’s degree in Exercise Science from the Department of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences at The George Washington University (GW), where she later held a Research Associate position working with Dr. Amanda Visek and managing the exercise physiology laboratory. During that time Ms. Mannix co-authored the original #funmaps paper entitled, The Fun Integration Theory: Towards Sustaining Children and Adolescents Sport Participation,  published in the  Journal of Physical Activity & Health.   Passionate about sport psychology and research, she currently resides in Michigan and continues to work towards facilitating access and increasing opportunities for children to have the most positive, fun sport experiences at all levels of competition. The  recipient of the GW Department of Exercise & Nutrition Science’s 2013 Excellence in Research Award  for her outstanding thesis research, Ms. Mannix continues to co-author refereed research presentations and co-present invited workshops with Dr. Visek both domestically and internationally.

Dr. Katherine Tamminen

Katherine Tamm

Dr. Katherine Tamminen is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Her research and teaching in  sport psychology focuses on two main areas: (1) stress, coping, and emotion in high performance sport, and (2) young athletes’ experiences in sport. Her current research examines how adolescent athletes learn to cope with stressors in sport and how parents and coaches influence athletes’ coping. She also conducts research on interpersonal emotion regulation and social processes of coping in team sports, to understand how athletes’ coping impacts their teammates and how it can improve sport performance and enjoyment. Her research is supported through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Province of Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (Early Researcher Award), and by the University of Toronto (Connaught New Researcher Award). In addition to her research in sport psychology, Katherine also works as a consultant with athletes at all competitive levels, from recreational to high-performance and elite athletes.

Bruce Craven

Bruce and his wife Karen are proud owners of  Craven SPORT services  in Saskatoon.  Bruce is a consultant providing expertise in the areas of Exercise Physiology, Strength and Conditioning, Performance Analysis and Sport Physiotherapy for the Sport Medicine and Science Council of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Sport Center Saskatchewan.  Bruce has been  involved with Own the Podium’s National Sport Science and Medicine Advisory Committee.  He has also been the Integrated Support Team lead for the Canadian Paralympic Committee for the Canadian Sport Center Saskatchewan. Bruce is an Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Saskatchewan and a Sessional Lecturer in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Joseph (Joe) Raso


Coach Raso has over 30 years of experience and excellence at every level of basketball in the world. At the NBA level Coach Raso is currently an advanced scout with the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets. At the International level Coach Raso is currently the Head Scout for the Canadian Men’s National Team and served as the National Team Assistant Coach for 4 years coaching in World Championships and Olympic qualifiers. He has had the privilege of coaching some of the greatest players to ever play in Canada including 2 time MVP Steve Nash and 2014 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins.

At the University level Coach Raso has become the all time winningest Coach in McMaster University history and one of the most successful coaches in CIS history with 440 wins in 18 seasons. While at McMaster he had 17 seasons with more than 20 wins coaching his teams to 6 OUA West Championships, 4 OUA Champions, competed at 12 CIS National Championships winning 4 Silver medals and was awarded OUA Coach of the year 6 times.

In working with school aged children, Coach Raso has been a high school teacher for 30 years at St. Mary’s in Hamilton. He has created and developed the McMaster Basketball Camp, coached Provincial club champions and lead St. Mary’s High School to OFSAA gold. Coach Raso has won International Gold, Silver and Bronze at the World International Children’s Games and also served as Technical Director. Coach Raso is also the developer and founder of “Basketball vs. Bullying,” which became the largest Bullying seminar in the world and holds the Canadian record for the most attended University basketball games in Canadian history.

Kyle Paquette

Kyle P

Kyle Paquette is the co-founder of MarbleLabs Inc. He works as the Mental Performance Consultant for both Curling Canada and Volleyball Canada’s National Team Programs. He is a Professional Member of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association, and he is currently completing the final stages of a doctoral degree at the University of Ottawa, specializing in sport psychology and coach education. Kyle has supported Canadian athletes at the last two Olympic Games – Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

Hilary Findlay

Hilary Findlay is an Associate Professor at Brock University in the Department of Sport Management. She teaches a number of courses touching on legal issues facing sport organizations and athletes including human rights issues, contractual rights and property rights such as image rights, trademark and copyright.

Her primary research focuses on various aspects of the regulatory systems underlying sport including organizational policies, rules and regulations and governmental legislation than directly impact sport organizations. Another current interest is the contractual relationship and power balance between athletes and their governing sport organizations.

Hilary has been a working member of 2 recent sport working groups, including the CCES Working Group on Trans Inclusion in Sport Policy and the AthletesCan Working Group on Athlete Agreements.

More speakers and their secrets to coaching to follow! Keep checking back.