Laurier Grads Soar is a ten-part series that features former Wilfrid Laurier University varsity athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, a different feature will be released each week over a nine-week span that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.Rebecca Watts - Manager, 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship
You may think you’re the kind of individual that is quick and efficient when it gets down to planning, organizing and implementing programs.
Maybe so, but what happens after a project post-mortem – and it’s clearly evident that things didn’t go so well.
Efficient and competent at her work, Rebecca Watts hasn’t had to deal with any huge embarrassments, hassles or misery – and she has been involved in a number of major sporting events from the Winter and Summer Olympics to the recent Pan/Parapan Games held in Toronto.
Watts, after excelling at a number of major career events, also had a wonderful opportunity to take on hockey – and did a superb job as Manager of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s under 20 championship held in Montreal and Toronto.
“I’ve had a great start to my career and am proud of my success,” said Watts. “The job, with Hockey Canada, involved the logistics and management side - like getting athletes to the venues, security and more.”
For many, staying focused enables a person to be successful.
Positive and upbeat, Watts has a richness in accomplishments and a steady diet for learning. Always confident, she realizes the demands placed on her and has that jolt of energy that contributes to pulling off successful events.
Growing up in Cambridge, Watts didn’t have to look too far for university studies.
Wilfrid Laurier University was her choice for academics and went on to graduate with an Honors Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education with a minor in Women’s Studies.
“At high school, we had this program that got students excited about the next level of education,” she recalled. “I loved Laurier from the time I set foot on the campus. I said to myself that (Laurier) was something very special and I wanted to go there. It was like home.”
In addition to classes and studies, Watts found time to incorporate other side of university life. There was the role of Kinesiology Council President, the job of Booking and Customer Service Coordinator. Add on the important responsibility of athletic therapist with the men’s volleyball team.
It was her keen attraction to a variety of activities that created a thirst to learn more about sports administration. Her interest in anti-doping came after taking an Ethics in Sport, Exercise and Health class at Laurier.
“I remember it well as I do the best five years of my life – all at Laurier,” said Watts. “(Laurier) gave me the tools and passion to learn about people, sports and the industry.”
Watts went on to take a sports business management course at Algonquin College before taking on a pair of internships that would pave the way to becoming a volunteer at the Olympics.
It was in 2010 that Watts had an opportunity to go to the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, but it wasn’t as an athlete or coach. She had experience working as a Test Coordinator for the Association of National Anti-Doping Organizations and, during the international sport spectacle, would be an assistant in the Anti-Doping Command Centre.
Then it was off to England for the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games where she managed the delivery of anti-doping programs at venues and athlete villages. Watts also used the unique opportunity to develop professional relationships with many international sports organizations.
When Toronto was awarded the 2015 Pan/Parapan Games, Watts was a Senior Manager on the Organizing Committee and responsible for aquatic events.
“I look back at those special days at Laurier where I gained great confidence and empowered roles to give me the skillset to do what I m doing now,” said Watts.Previous FeaturesWeek 1 - Steve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay LightningWeek 2 - Sophie Kotsopoulos - Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueWeek 3 - Mike McKenna - Former Director, Telecom, Media and Technology Investment BankingWeek 4 - Nicole Lee - Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueWeek 5 - Mike Bartlett - Executive Director, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation