Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Matt Allen

Position: Member

Ontario

Matt Allen, Head Coach of Laurier University’s Women’s Softball Team and Level IV Umpire, contributes to the game in ways that extend well beyond the playing field. Allen, a cofounding member of the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association (CCSA) and former board member for the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA), has also volunteered his time with Softball Ontario's Coaching and Long-Term Player Ddevelopment (LTPD) committees. 

Using his skills to ensure marginalized individuals have positive sport experiences, Allen has contributed to numerous National Sport Organizations (NSOs) and Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs), including the PGA of Canada where he worked to develop an e-learning module for Diversity and Inclusion. His role with Softball Canada, the PGA of Canada's D&I Taskforce (Chair) and Co-Chair of the Sport Inclusion Task Force all speak to Allen’s character and reflect his commitment to DEI.  

Area of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+

 

 

Andrew Castiglione

Position: Member

Ontario

With over 20 years of coaching behind him, Andrew Castiglione is a known name throughout the softball community. A father of three and former president of Chinguacousy Girls Softball and executive member with Brampton  Minor Softball, Castiglione has worked to make softball a more inclusive and welcoming sport for all. Having spent time in several communities explaining the game throughout his coaching career, Castiglione continues to share his love for softball with others.  

Areas of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • Socio-Economic Status
 

Yvonne Constant

Position: Member

Saskatchewan

Yvonne Constant, an Indigenous woman from small-town Saskatchewan, helps make sporting opportunities possible for youth within her community. A survivor of the residential school system herself, Constant and her husband have gone on to raise a family of their own – working tirelessly to ensure each of their three children are able to pursue their passion for softball. 

Sacrificing her evenings and weekends to ensure her children were given every opportunity to succeed in sport, Constant has come to know numerous Indigenous players that were not as fortune. Realizing that many Indigenous youth are not provided with the same opportunities as their non-Indigenous counterparts, Constant uses her voice to break down barriers to participation.  

Area of Focus:

  • Indigenous Peoples
 

Brent Foote

Position: Member

Newfoundland & Labrador

A recreational athlete himself, Brent Foote’s passion for softball began in high school after making the transition from Baseball. Foote’s experience winning gold as part of Newfoundland’s SSNL Provincial Championships was a highlight of his sporting experience and factored into his decision to pursue a career in community sport and recreation. As a recreational admin, Foote has experience coordinating programs and outreach initiatives targeted at new Canadians, the 2SLGBTQ+ community, women and girls along with other underrepresented groups. He also uses his lived experience with severe fluency disorder, a type of speech impediment, to advocate for disability awareness.   

Foote’s contribution to Softball Canada’s DEI committee will support his effort to drive systematic change within the sporting community.  

Areas of Focus:

  • People with a Disability
  • Women in Sport

Jennipher Gee

Position: Member

Ontario

Jennipher Gee, Board Member of Leadership Advancement of Women in Sport (LAWS) is a true advocate for female participation. As a professional Health Promotion Specialist herself, Gee works to alleviate systematic barriers that impact the ability for young girls/women to access sport such as stigma, gender bias and socio-economic status. Illustrated through her work with Softball Canada’s DE& I Committee, Gee knows keeping girls engaged in sport is vital for their self-esteem, their self-confidence, and their ability to become active members of their own community. 

Areas of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • Socio-Economic Status
  • Women in Sport
 

Rebecca Goudy

Position: Member

Ontario

Rebecca Goudy, Assistant Coach of the Western Mustangs (2017 CCSA National Champions) started her coaching journey as a board member for her daughter’s local softball association. Joining with the ambition to create an opportunity for young females to flourish has evolved into a commitment to equitable programing – from grassroots to high performance.  

Goudy’s portfolio now extends well beyond her success on the field and includes a mentor role as part of Softball Canada’s Female Mentorship Program, Canpitch accreditations and several NCCP certifications. Goudy processes the knowledge, skill, and dedication needed to offer positive sport experiences to athletes and remains focused on finding ways to ensure opportunities for women in coaching are valued, supported, and appreciated. 

Area of Focus:

  • Women in Sport
 

Alexis Huggart

Position: Member

Alberta

Alexis Huggart, a CCSA National Bronze (2018) and Silver (2019) Medalist, leads the Dino's both on and off the playing field. While studying Kinesiology at the university of Calgary, Huggart earned herself WCSA’s Top Hitter (2017, 2019), First Team All-Star Outfielder (2017, 2019) and National First Team Left- Fielder (2017) – all while receiving Academic Achievement Medals each year.

Between her time with Team Manitoba, Huggart took the field with Canada’s 2017 Junior Women’s National Team. Off the field, Huggart was developing her passion for socio-cultural aspects of sport and continues to explore the lived experiences of athletes to better Canada’s sport and inclusion policies. Huggart, a high-performance athlete herself, continues to address the financial barriers faced by athletes by helping develop solutions to lower cost of participation so that all children are able to enjoy the power of sport.

Areas of Focus:

  • Socio-Economic Status
  • Women in Sport
 

Terry Klein

Position: Member

Saskatchewan

Terry Klein, Softball Saskatchewan’s first female Umpire in Chief is a known trailblazer in the softball community. Klein, a retired physical education teacher and B Certified Instructor/Evaluator was also Saskatchewan’s first female Level V Umpire. While continuing to supervise at major events such as Softball Canada’s U14 Girls Canadian Championship, Klein also devotes her time to the organization’s Female Mentorship Program. Klein’s lived experience as part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and undeniable passion to make softball a safe space for all will serve Softball Canada’s DEI committee well.

Areas of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • Women in Sport
 

Patrick Leask

Position: Member

Manitoba

A lifelong athlete himself, Patrick Leask uses his experiences at the provincial and senior levels to inspire youth within his own community. Spending the last three years coaching U12-U14 age categories with the Westman Magic program (MB), Leask hopes to encourage young indigenous athletes to stay active and involved in the game. Leask's commitment to developing himself speaks to his desire to grow the game and reintroduce softball to Indigenous communities across Manitoba.

Area of Focus:

  • Indigenous Peoples
 

Kalli MacIntosh-Houlder

Position: Member

Ontario

Involved with the PWSA since 2012, Kalli MacIntosh-Houlder’s passion for the game is reflected by her success on the field and her commitment to addressing barriers to participation. The 2018 Ontario Provincial Champion went on to attend the 2019 Canadian Championships, held in Kitchener ON, where her team took home a gold medal. Following a successful season, Houlder stepped on the field with Canada’s 2019 Junior Women National Team and now attends University of Akron, a NCAA D1 school.

As a member of Softball Canada’s DEI committee and a bi-racial female herself, Houlder hopes sharing her experiences will help provide younger athletes with the knowledge and confidence they need to navigate high performance sporting environments.

Areas of Focus:

  • Black & People of Colour
  • Women in Sport

Johanna Malisani

Position: Member

Ontario

From an early age, Softball was the sport Johanna Malisani fell in love with. Having explored all facets of the game, from player, coach, instructor, to administrator, Malisani took her passion for the game from Canada to the United Kingdom.

In 2016, she assumed a role at BaseballSoftballUK, which allowed her to promote and build the game in another country – providing the opportunity for her to share her enthusiasm and knowledge to spark further interest, development, and advancement of the sport.

In 2019, Malisani became the Executive Director of the Toronto Ultimate Club (TUC) and was elected to the Provincial Women's Softball Association's (PWSA) Board of Directors. Malisani’s work in the U.K., and now with TUC and the PWSA has centered around equity, diversity and inclusion of Women in Sport, 2SLGBTQ+, low-socioeconomic communities, and black, indigenous and people of colour.

Having faced personal barriers herself, the softball field has always been a safe space for Malisani - a place of acceptance, and where she could be her true authentic self. Malisani’s lived experiences will be an asset to Softball Canada’s DEI committee as will her continued commitment to alleviate barriers for the next generation.

Areas of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • Socio-Economic Status
  • Women in Sport
 

Sarah Manfred

Position: Member

Quebec

Participating in eight consecutive seasons with the Quebec Rebelles and attending over ten Canadian Championships, Sarah Manfred is no stranger to the softball community. Wrapping up her athletic career with the 2017 Canada Games, Manfred transitioned from athlete to coach. Continuing with the Quebec Rebelles, Manfred has held the position of Assistant Coach for several teams including her current role with the program’s U19 team.

In addition to coaching, she now holds an administrative position with Softball Quebec. Having experienced softball through many lenses, and being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community herself, Manfred strives to provide an inclusive environment for all participants and hopes to diversify representation so that all participants have positive role models to look up to.

Areas of Focus:

  • Indigenous Peoples
  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • Women in Sport
 

J.R. Simpson

Position: Member

Saskatchewan

An umpire with over 34 years of experience behind the plate, J.R. Simpson brings experience and passion for equitable representation to Softball Canada’s DEI Committee. As a person of colour himself, Simpson believes in the importance of diversity – on and off the playing field.

Having worked with several national, provincial, and local organizations throughout his time as an umpire, Simpson possesses the knowledge, skill and experience to influence positive change. 

Areas of Focus:

  • Black and People of Colour
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • People with a Disability

Shahrukh Towheed

Position: Member

Ontario

Shahrukh Towheed’s softball journey began when he was just seven years old. As a child, Towheed played with the Kingston Kobra’s Selects before becoming a certified Softball Canada umpire at the age of 14. With over a decade of experience behind the plate, Towheed now shares both the technical and tactical components of his role with young umpires.

With a desire to make softball more accessible for visible minorities like himself, Towheed works to promote the game to those who may otherwise feel excluded from the sport. Towheed’s enthusiasm towards making softball a welcoming environment for all races, gender identities and socioeconomic classes make him a valued asset to Softball Canada’s DEI committee.

Area of Focus:

  • Black and People of Colour
 

Dane Woodland

Position: Member

Newfoundland & Labrador

Dane Woodland, a recreational slo-pitch and fastpitch athlete, has decades of experience on the playing field. Woodland began his journey in softball participating as a female before transitioning to male. Having experienced his own discrimination as both a woman in sport and a trans person in sport, Woodland has also been exposed to the physical barriers athletes face during his time as a para coach.

Through his career as a personal trainer and a public speaker, Woodland advocates for safe and inclusive environments and works to combine his advocacy with his experience to offer important feedback on policies and procedures.

Areas of Focus:

  • LGBTQ2IS+
  • People with a Disability

Kareena Zanolli

Position: Member

Alberta

As the mother of an autistic child, Kareena Zanolli yields a passion for the rights of those within the Autism & Disability community. Since becoming a mother, Zanolli has witnessed firsthand the value behind supportive environments and continues to push for more inclusive education within sport organizations. Hoping others can flourish in similar ways as her son, Zanelli continues to advocate for inclusivity and underrepresented groups.

Areas of Focus:

  • People with a Disability
  • Socio-Economic Status

Scott Neiles

Position: President

Scott Searle

Position: Director

Angela Ballantyne

Position: Manager - Sport Development

223 Colonnade Road, Suite 212
Ottawa, ON
K2E 7K3

Phone: 613-523-3386 x3107

Fax: 613-523-5761

aballantyne@softball.ca

  • Women's National Team
  • Long Term Player Development (LTPD)
  • Timbits Softball
  • Canpitch
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Adapted Softball (Wheelchair, Blind, Special Olympics)
  • Coach Education, Development, & Certification
  • Safe Sport 
  • Future initiatives

Gilles LeBlanc

Position: Manager - Operations

223 Colonnade Road, Suite 212
Ottawa, ON
K2E 7K3

Phone: 613-523-3386 x3105

Cell: 613-795-1996

Fax: 613-523-5761

gleblanc@softball.ca

  • Revenue Generation
  • Sponsor/Supplier liaison
  • Hall of Fame and Awards
  • Canada Games