U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Allison Slopack
- School: Queen’s University
- Position: Director of Advancement
- Previous job/position: Senior Development Officer, Queen’s University
- Hometown: Montreal, Que.
1. How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
I worked as a Senior Development Officer (fundraiser) in the office of the Vice-Principal, Advancement for five years. When the Director opportunity came up to fundraise for athletics, I could not pass up the opportunity to fundraise for the three things I am most passionate about in my career – students, education and sports.
2. Who has had the most influence on your career?
My professor, Marcel Danis. He was Vice-President and Secretary General at Concordia University, a criminal defense lawyer and previously a member of parliament under Brian Mulroney. I had an incredible amount of respect for him because of the way he treated his colleagues, employees, and students. He wanted everyone to be successful and recognized for his or her contribution to the workplace. He taught me the true meaning of empowerment and is still my mentor today.
3. What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
I have two, and they actually belong to my children. My first is when my daughter scored the game-winning goal for her Atom B team to clinch first place in their division. She worked so hard to make the rep team and this moment made everything worth it. The smile on her face and her celebration is something I will never forget.
The second is my son, he is a goalie and has worked hard to overcome his anxiety about having to save every shot that comes his way.
4. How would you define a Queen’s University student-athlete?
Bright, resilient, committed and empowered. Queen’s athletes are some of the brightest in the country. I am always impressed when meeting them and learning about their backgrounds and dedication to their sport/teams.
5. What does success look like for the Advancement University athletics program?
Success for my role within Athletics and Recreation is to be able to provide the majority of the varsity student-athletes with athletic financial awards. This would enable the coaches to continue to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes to all of its programs. I would also love to be able to raise enough support to ensure that all athletic facilities at Queen’s remain the best facilities possible.
6. What’s the biggest challenge faced in today’s sports world?
Today’s sports world adds more pressure on our student-athletes to be better and to work harder. As the level of play increases so do the demands on student-athletes time. I think it will be important for Canadian university sports to account for the demands that current student-athletes are faced with and how mental health cases are increasing across the country.
7. Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
Canadian university sport should be the destination for top athletes to want to compete. For it to be recognized as one of the top programs, it will be important for Canadian university sport to talk about the impact it has had and continued to have on the lives of their athletes and alumni.
8. If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
Nick Saban - he runs a successful program on and off the field. Mr. Saban recruits the top student-athletes to his program at the University of Alabama and has an impressive record. If I met him I would ask him the following questions:
- How did you turn the Tide around?
- How do you keep your alumni engaged with the program,
- How do you help your student-athletes balance academics and sport,
- Do you have any advice for student-athletes working towards being drafted – in any sport?
- Share with me the importance of team and organizational engagement as well as performance coaching.
- How do you get the most out of your players?
- What advice would you provide your former self - today?
9. What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
Take the opportunity to watch one U SPORTS game, and you will be surprised by the level of play that U SPORTS offers. The competition has increased over the years, and it is always fun to cheer on your local student-athletes.
10. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
I enjoy spending time with the family whether we are at home or cheering on the kids at their games. As a mother of a 10-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son who both play hockey, we spend a lot of time at the rink. We also billet for the Kingston Frontenacs and try to attend as many games as possible in support of our billet son. I also enjoy music, reading and cooking.