With the newly announced IRB Women’s 7s World Series, and a very busy upcoming year for the National Senior Women’s team, Rugby Canada knew that having the proper management in place was crucial to the teams’ success.
Rugby Canada is pleased to announce that they have found one of the key cogs to the Women’s programs’ future success with the hiring of Meaghan Howat as the new Manager, National Women’s Program.
After a very thorough interview process, involving a panel of General Manager of Rugby Operations and High Performance, Mike Chu, Senior Manger of Operations, Myles Spencer, National Senior Women’s team and National Senior Women’s 7s Head Coach, John Tait, member of the Rugby Canada Board of Director, Dawn Dauphinee and Own the Podium’s J.P. Lavoie, which saw candidates from around the world apply for the role, Rugby Canada is certain they have found the correct person to take on this challenge.
“There were quite a few really good applicants for the position but Meaghan's enthusiasm and desire to take our program to another level really came out in the interviewing process,” said Tait. “She has the advantage of already knowing, and in some cases working with, a lot of the stakeholders that the program deals with each day from her volunteer promotional work over the last year. Meaghan's strong background in marketing and communications will be of huge benefit for the Women's program moving forward, as marketing the team and athletes will be crucial to continued success in the future as the demands of the game increase so will the need for more support.”
Howat, a former National team player for Canada, is no stranger to the program and knows exactly what kind of challenges are ahead for her. Winner of the 2012 Colette McAuley award, which recognizes women's rugby players who embody the sport and give back to it in the true spirit of the game, Howat has also played on several age grade squads, at the University level and represented Ontario provincially, most recently at the 2012 National Women’s League.
“Meaghan was a standout due to her previous experience with the team, as well as her strong administrative and leadership skills. She also has a terrific work ethic and is highly respected by the players,” stated Mike Chu. “As well as seeking a talented program manager, we really want to drive more promotion of the Women's teams, and I believe Meaghan will deliver on both fronts.”
Aside from her playing experience, it was Howat’s understanding of how the High Performance system, specifically Rugby Canada’s High Performance system, works and it’s importance to the growth of the game nationally and internationally. Howat will bring an understanding of what kind of ethos the teams need and can contribute to the winning culture that the Women’s squads have already created.
Previously the marketing coordinator for the Toronto Rock, a professional lacrosse team, as well as working in Women’s sponsorship development for Rugby Canada’s Women’s Program, Howat comes with a solid marketing background which was something that the Women’s program sought and that the hiring panel was looking for in their ideal candidate.
"To have the opportunity to be a part of the Women's program and contribute to the growth, funding, and exposure of the team and the athletes is something I am very much looking forward to,” said Howat about her new role as Manager, National Women’s Program. “It will definitely be a big challenge to accomplish everything I hope to do in the next few years but I am excited for it. My experience as a former player has contributed to my passion for the role and what I can do in the manager position."
Rugby Canada is also grateful to Sport Canada and Own The Podium for their on-going support of rugby, and their funding which has allowed us to make this position possible.
photos Janos Schmidt