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Rob Hatch Elected New Chair of Own the Podium

New leadership coincides with new Board structure welcoming two key athlete voices.

OTTAWA—Successful business leader, Rob Hatch, has been elected as the new Chair of Own the Podium’s Board of Directors.
Hatch, who has been on the Board of Directors helping to guide the independent sport technical agency over the last five years where he was Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee, will be the third Chair in Own the Podium’s history. He brings more than two decades of professional corporate director experience with a focus on board governance and development to his new leadership position.
“I am extremely proud and honoured to carry the torch for Own the Podium while working with our partners at the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee to deliver the resources and opportunities all Canadian athletes deserve to pursue their athletic objectives without having any regrets,” said Hatch. “Our goal as a Board is to work with our partners through a new sporting climate in Canada to help all athletes and coaches get to the international start line, knowing they have done everything possible to achieve their performance goals in an environment that protects their psychological and physical health and safety.”
Hatch is no stranger to sport at all levels in Canada. The Calgary-based community builder was a founding director and former Board Chair of Jumpstart – a charitable organization that has helped more than three million kids access sport and recreational activities across Canada.
“I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact sport at all levels has on the life of a child and their development regardless of their background or ability level,” added Hatch. “I know that by giving all Canadians a chance to participate in sport, we will build a better and more inclusive Canada. This personal experience of putting people first, will be valuable to my new responsibilities as Chair and leading the Board’s shared goal to drive further in creating healthier, safer and more inclusive daily training and competition environments for all sports in Canada.”
Hatch takes over as Chair from Todd Nicholson who originally became a director with Own the Podium in 2015. After getting elected Chair in 2018, Nicholson cemented unifying partnerships with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and the Government of Canada over the last four years. A passionate champion for sport and community throughout his life, Nicholson and the Board played key roles in working with partners to lead Canada’s Return to Sport Strategy from COVID, supporting athletes in safely getting to the Tokyo and Beijing Games, as well as fertilizing Next Generation initiatives.
“Todd is a passionate and dedicated leader whose work on the Board has inspired us all to continue to challenge ourselves to be better as a sport nation,” said Anne Merklinger, Chief Executive Officer, Own the Podium. “I can’t thank Todd enough for his contribution, energy, and commitment to our mission of helping Canadian athletes reach their performance goals, and we look forward to building on this important work with Rob at the helm on the road to Paris 2024 and Milano/Cortina 2026.”
The transition in leadership on the Board of Directors coincides with a change to Own the Podium’s governance structure that will now include the addition of two new Director positions on the Board that are targeted to bring a perspective of a recently retired high performance athlete. One position will be for an athlete who has recently competed for Canada in the Olympic Games and one for an athlete who has recently competed for Canada in the Paralympic Games. Both Directors will be serve an initial two-year term on the Board as recently retired athletes.
Andrew Poje, a two-time Olympic figure skater (2018, 2014), and a three-time World Championship medallist, will serve his first, two-year term along with Jeremy Hall, who represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in rowing.
“Both Andrew and Jeremy will bring tremendous value to the Board of Directors while providing a fresh athlete’s perspective in our decision-making,” added Merklinger. “This is an important and significant change for our organization that is focused on ensuring we have meaningful opportunities for athlete involvement in all elements of the business.”
Own the Podium also welcomes Michelle Stilwell nominated as a Director on the Board by the Canadian Paralympic Committee. A six-time Paralympic medalist and nine-time World Track and Field Champion, Stilwell is a performance driven leader who has demonstrated fiscal management and innovative thinking as Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation for the BC Government. Stilwell has served on multiple national and international boards including: Microboard; Canadian Paralympic Committee; International Paralympic Committee; Gitxan Development Corporation and is an Ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation and ActNow BC.
Poje, Hall and Stilwell will join returning Board members: Rob Hatch, Dr. Araba Chintoh; Chris Clark; Katie Green; Scott Hutcheson; John Mills; Sue Paish; Andrea Shaw; and Tara Whitten.
About Own the Podium
Own the Podium, a not-for-profit organization, prioritizes and determines investment strategies to national sport organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. Own the Podium's largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada with additional funding provided by the Canadian Olympic Committee/Canadian Olympic Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee/Paralympic Foundation of Canada, along with the corporate community. For a full summary of Own the Podium initiatives and programs, including a breakdown of support and services by sport, please visit us at on the Internet.
Chris Dornan  
Own the Podium                         
T: 403-620-8731

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