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Allison Sandmeyer-Graves

CEO, Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS)

Allison is an experienced non-profit leader with a passion for social innovation that advances equity and opportunity.

Having spent the past decade as a senior director with Free The Children—a leading global youth empowerment organization—Allison is well versed in the strategy and practice involved in creating a national movement that successfully challenges the status quo. With diverse experience leading innovative partnerships, programs, fundraising and operations, Allison brings a holistic perspective and ability to align activities for maximum social impact. Her past work includes designing and leading the school-based program to accompany We Day events across Canada and the US, engaging and supporting hundreds of thousands of young people to learn and take action on the issues that matter most to them. Allison’s success in forging strategic partnerships and raising millions in new funding supported the rapid expansion of the movement, while her strategic work on the organization’s theory of change and its measurement and evaluation practices advanced its capacity for impact.

Allison grounds her practice in participatory development and human rights theory via a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta and Master of Arts in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. As the CEO of CAAWS, Allison marries her lifelong passion for social justice and community development with her love of sports and physical activity. Allison believes that sport and physical activity offer powerful opportunities for people to realize their full potential, a conviction borne of her own experiences with competitive and recreational sports throughout her life. Through CAAWS, she seeks to ensure that more women, girls and marginalized Canadians enjoy these myriad benefits, bettering the sports system and Canadian society in the process.