Throughout her many years of involvement in sport, Gail Donohue has made a difference at every level — local, provincial, national, and international. Her leadership and her unwavering commitment to sport, as a volunteer and in her professional life, has had a significant and long-lasting impact and has been recognized by her community. In 2006, she was honoured with the prestigious Bobbie Steen Award of Excellence for Career Achievement, recognizing “exemplary leadership and contribution to sport and recreation in B.C.”
A former national-level synchronized swimmer and current coach, Gail, who holds a science degree in kinesiology from Simon Fraser University and is a Chartered Professional Coach, is an Advanced Learning Facilitator for Coaches BC and Learning Facilitator for the National Coaching Certification Program’s Level 4/5 Leadership course. A recognized authority on her sport, she has made numerous presentations on coaching for the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur to audiences around the world.
Gail coached the New Zealand synchronized swimming team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. For many years, she has served on the executive of Coaches of Canada (formerly the Canadian Professional Coaches Association) and is currently a vice-president. Gail presently sits on the board of the Coaching Association of Canada. She has been a member of Synchro Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development module steering committee, the executive of the Coaches Association of British Columbia, and Field Hockey Canada’s national coach hiring and evaluation committees. She is a volunteer adjudicator for Synchro Canada, the BC Water Polo Association, and the 1-Star Aga Kan Athletic Awards.
Professionally, Gail’s career spans a number of important initiatives. Her expertise covers administration, financial management, partnership development and maintenance, and communications. A master facilitator, she has worked with such organizations as the B.C. Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services, Telus Whistler Sport Centre, and PacificSport Group, PacificSport Regional Sport Centre-Kamloops, and PacificSport Regional-Fraser Valley, CanoeKayak BC, Badminton BC, the Coaches Association of Ontario, BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, Rowing Canada, Sport Canada, and the Canadian Blind Sports Association. For many years, she was the manager of coaching with the National Coaching Institute-British Columbia (NCI) and manager of athlete planning and programs and coaching development manager with PacificSport Canadian Sport Centre-Vancouver (CSCV). She also spent seven years conducting the Leadership program at the International Coaching School, an annual initiative of the NCI. Currently, she is the leadership theme mentor for the NCI-BC diploma program and mentors over 15 coaches nationally and internationally.
Gail strongly believes that coaches are Canada’s most remarkable and valuable public asset. For her, coaching is a fulfilling experience as it fosters meaningful relationships and makes a difference, not only in individual lives, but in communities. Gail enjoys returning to her roots of coaching synchronized swimming. “Coaching athletes and working with coaches is a magical place to be. I am grateful for the opportunities I have and continue to have. I always get re-energized working with the athletes and coaches, hearing their enthusiasm and seeing their drive to be the best they can be. It is pretty awesome!”