June 30, 2022

3rd edition of Elle & Sport | “There is room for everyone”

“What I want to say is that we have to go for it. This is how Annie Larouche, vice-president of the Alliance de Montréal, a new team of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), summed up the reason for her presence at the Elle & Sport conference on Wednesday evening in Montreal.

Jean-Francois Téotonio

Jean-Francois Téotonio

This event, which was in its third edition, aimed to highlight the place of women in the world of business and sport.

They were seven on stage to discuss their journey. On their own, their CVs would have been enough to hold the attention of the room.

“Isabelle says it, we knock on the door, and if the door does not open, we knock on the other side, adds Annie Larouche, quoting Minister Isabelle Charest, also present at the evening. We have to believe in ourselves. There is room for everyone. ”

The two women explained to the Ausgang Plaza audience their extraordinary journey. Ironically, abnormality was the norm for the guests of this evening. Former tennis player and entrepreneur Aleksandra Wozniak, Ottawa BlackJacks assistant coach in CEBL Fabienne Blizzard, retired FIFA international referee Carol Anne Chénard, founder of the podcast series Hockey woman and Marketing and Communications Director of the Quebec M18AAA League Isabelle Éthier as well as the sports journalist and founder of the podcast They shine Geneviève Tardif were also there.


From left to right: Isabelle Charest, Alex Laganière, Isabelle Éthier, Geneviève Tardif, Aleksandra Wozniak and Carol Anne Chénard

“It’s funny, because I have known several of these women for many years,” says Isabelle Charest.

I think what they all have in common is really their completely atypical journey compared to what we hear in the business world. We must be aware of this and at the same time see what the sporting experience can bring to this paradigm shift.

Isabelle Charest, Minister for Education and responsible for the Status of Women

According to the organizer of the event Alexandre Kénol, this paradigm shift involves the “duality” of voices.

“Men, we are part of the solution, we have no choice,” he explains.

“I am very proud that it is a man who is behind [cet évènement]. Usually, when there are conversations like this, it is always a man or a woman who is leading the conversation. Now, there has to be a duality so that we are able to work together. ”

“An inspiring speech”

Kénol also says he is “proud” of the “models of perseverance and courage” represented by the guests.

In Quebec, it’s not perfect, but we have women who are leaders, role models, and not just for women. They are models for everyone. […] For me, it is a speech that is inspiring.

Alexandre Kénol, event organizer

The theme of perseverance came up often during roundtable-type discussions.

Annie Larouche, who began her career with the Alouettes as a cheerleader before occupying several management positions in the organization, had to persist in overcoming prejudices, since she was “just the daughter of the cheer “. “To go up, they wanted me to let go of the cheerleading. And I didn’t. ”


Annie Larouche, vice-president of the Alliance de Montréal, new team of the Canadian Elite Basketball League

Fabienne Blizzard’s rise to professional basketball started out in the community. She coached young people, such as under 10s and under 12s, then rose through the ranks at the University of Ottawa. His name was then mentioned to the CEBL team in the capital, the BlackJacks. Her perseverance and her contacts in the community therefore helped her to continue her journey.

Leave your mark

For retired referee Carol Anne Chénard, “it’s super important to share” her experience on a night like this.

“A lot of times we think about our careers and don’t realize how much inspiration we can leave with one girl, one woman,” she says. Our experience can help someone. ”

Annie Larouche even gives some advice.

“Since my appointment, I have a lot of young people who have written to me: ‘What can I do? How can I take my place? ” I tell them: “Go on to school, go get yourself a diploma, that’s important. But then get involved. ” ”

“There is no one who will come and get you. You have to prove yourself. You have to be good, you have to be good. There is room. If you want you can. ”