This article is written by Lisa Aucoin, Owner and CEO of Spring CDT. Spring CDT is a cheer, dance & tumbling, and international instructional cheerleading company that teaches scholastic, collegiate and all-star cheerleading teams in over 42 countries worldwide. For more information about our partnership, click here.Each year on International Women’s Day, I take a moment to draw attention to the amazing women I have been lucky to work with around the world. Some are business owners; others are coaches, specialty instructors or vendors. Whatever their role, they are all remarkable and inspiring to me.
I own an international instructional cheerleading company and our sport is predominantly female. I’m surrounded by powerful, confident, hardworking and determined women and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
As an industry and a community, we have a responsibility to the girls and young women who participate in cheer to provide opportunities, develop leadership and mentor them through their involvement in sport.
Extracurricular activities shape young people and influence the type of person they will ultimately become. I take my responsibility as a role model seriously and always try to be the type of woman I admired and looked up to as a young girl.
Female leadership became an important theme for me during my early years. I had the opportunity to work for The Honorable Sharon Carstairs, PC, a Canadian cabinet minister who was the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
During my time with her, I worked in an all-female office in my post-secondary years. It was the first time in Canadian parliamentary history that this was done, and it made a tremendous impression on me — one that would motivate me in every aspect of my life to promote girls and young women, and to coach them both on and off the mat.
For me, cheerleading is the vehicle— but to be honest, it could have been anything. As much as I enjoy competitive results or seeing an athlete master a new skill, there is nothing that makes me happier than watching the young women I coach grow into driven, motivated, trailblazers who can change the world!
I have been lucky enough to be a part of three World Championship victories during my coaching year with Cheer Sport Great White Sharks.
For an all-girl team from Canada to win a world championship in cheerleading against several established and decorated American teams was unimaginable. Thanks to the sheer will and determination of the girls, led by Head Coach Ali Moffatt, her dream became a reality, along with all of ours.
Our team motto became, “She believed she could... so she did.” When we won the second time, we adjusted that to “She believed she could, so she did... and then she did it again.”
That theme is present with me every single time I coach an athlete, receive a message that they are looking for guidance, or when I am interacting with other women in our sport looking to chase their dreams and build their empire.
So, what can we do in our gyms, teams and programs to encourage the involvement and promotion of women? How can we make a difference? How can we create more girl bosses?
1. Speak up: Be vocal about opportunities in our sport for females. Look for ways to involve young women.
2. Celebrate female athletes: Share their stories, tell their successes, attend female-based sporting events.
3. Train and certify female coaches and officials.
4. Recruit female leaders: Ensure that the female’s opinion is represented by female voices.
5. Invite women to speak at conferences and events: share their stories and journey.
6. Nominate women for awards and industry recognition.
7. Communicate opportunities: share information and help them make connections.
In my business, the majority of our staff members are female. This was done consciously. Because we teach female athletes - we wanted to make sure that the role models they have in front of them are relatable. We love our male staff but we primarily coach little girls. They need to see they are capable and without limits. We don't just preach this message, we teach it.
“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” I’m proud to work in an industry that is filled with opportunities and experiences for young girls that builds them into confident and strong women.
Each March we celebrate International Women’s Day, but the goal of women’s equality and empowerment is something we can work towards every day.
“Here's to strong women! May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them."