WEEK #2: KAITLYN LEHBERT

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

My name is Kaitlyn Lehbert. I am 21 years old and am currently wrapping up my last semester at Brock University. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sports management. My sports background is a unique one! I actually never seriously played any sports growing up. My main involvement in physical activity was and still is working out. I first got involved in sports operations during my time at M.M. Robinson High School. In Grade 9, I volunteered for the boys’ football team to film their games. I ended up LOVING helping the team and going with them for all home and away games. I continued to volunteer with the team during my four years in high school and slowly started taking on some extra responsibilities. In my last year of high school, I volunteered for the boys’ baseball team as a scorekeeper and again, would go with the team for all games. I initially had thought I wanted to pursue fashion after high school. I had an epiphany moment towards the end of Grade 12 where I realized that I was a lot more passionate about sports than I was about fashion. I applied to Brock University for its Sports Management program! I was so excited when I was accepted and took that as my sign that that’s what I was meant to pursue. I’ve grown a lot and have gained more confidence in my four years of university. I’ve discovered that even though I have a different sports background than others, I can still make a positive impact in the sports world. I have observed that there’s inequality in the sports industry for girls and women and have developed a very strong interest in that area. I am ending off my university career as one who is passionate, strong, confident and doesn’t hold back on sharing news about this topic online. This issue is more than worthy of being discussed and highlighted positively.

 

One very recent accomplishment that I will remember for a long time was helping to plan a Women in Sport and Leadership forum at Brock University. It was so meaningful to be part of the event planning process and I am so proud of the outcome. I look forward to being involved with so many more girls/women in sports events and initiatives!

What qualities of a leader do you appreciate most? Why?

 

The qualities of a leader that I appreciate the most include giving recognition, knowing people as individuals and being thoughtful. Some of my best work and volunteer experiences included a leader with these qualities and even more. When I receive recognition from a leader, it gives me a positive awareness of my work ethic and encourages me to go above and beyond. A leader who treats people as individuals and realizes that everybody is different, will have better communication and teamwork. One of the most impactful leaders and mentors in my life showed thoughtfulness on so many occasions. This mentor/leader showed that I held a valuable place through my football and baseball volunteering, nominated me for a scholarship, presented me with an award. Still, even after high school, he has given me opportunities to help if interested. (Thanks Mr. Ferrone!) This thoughtfulness has continued to immensely reinforce that I have made a difference and that people see the potential in me.

 

What are ways you demonstrate being an inclusive teammate or ally?

 

I demonstrate being an inclusive ally by standing up for those who may feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. The idea that somebody may feel excluded because of a factor beyond their control doesn’t sit well with me. I also demonstrate being an inclusive ally by starting and building connections with those who share the same interests and passions as me. I see a lot of value in this because we mutually want the same positive change. Especially for the area of girls and women in sport, the more people who are on board and working towards advancing opportunities and representation, the better.

 

 

What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?

 

The advice that I have for sport administrators to improve sport for females is to be conscious as to what will spark the interest of girls. In my opinion, the current state of sports could mean, for example, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament may not appeal to both genders the same. I learned this from observation of a tournament in university. I also believe that for sport volunteering experiences, allow girls the same opportunities as the boys. One of my first volunteering experiences in university, I was given a hesitant look when I offered to help the other male volunteers bring in pylons from outside. Perhaps he thought I wouldn’t be able to carry the pylons? I didn’t struggle at all.

 

What do you do to yourself to motivate yourself?

 

To motivate myself, I envision what I want my future to ideally look like. Visualizing what I want to ultimately achieve, how it will feel, and benefit others, helps me get through obstacles or moments of doubt. I dream big when it comes to what I want for my future. I know that as long as I persevere and don’t fear failure, each step gets me closer to my goals! If I do face failure, I see it as redirection and an opportunity to learn something new.

 

Instagram: kaitlynlehbert

 

Twitter: kaitlyn_lehbert