International Women’s Day on 8 March was a chance for the world to come together to celebrate women and their achievements.
At PAHF we are blessed to have some magnificent and talented women operating at all levels of the game. From players to coaches, to umpires, to officials - our hockey community proves that, when it comes to ability and performance, everything is equal. Here we celebrate just a few of our famous females.
Maureen Craig-Rousseau is former president of the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board. Currently she is a member of the FIH Executive Board and PAHF Executive Board and has been involved in hockey at the highest level through her roles as Tournament Director and Tournament Official.
In her working life, Craig-Rousseau is also high up the ladder of achievement. An impressive career path has seen her move through the ranks within the financial world to her current position – Organisation manager at First Citizens Bank.
Working alongside Craig-Rousseau at hockey tournaments, you get a measure of the strength and capability of the former T&T Hockey Board President, and she herself admits that she has had to develop the dual characteristics of resilience and tenacity to succeed in work and sport. She adds that her own mantra is “Treat others as you wish to be treated,” and she adds, “that has worked out pretty well.”
There is little doubt that Craig-Rousseau has faced challenges along the way but she had taken control of her own destiny by embracing educational opportunities and making sacrifices along the way. The result is someone who feels confident enough to say that she can “stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone in any board room.”
At the top of her own career path and having achieved the highest positions within hockey administration, Craig-Rousseau says that she now sees part of her role as “providing support and encouragement to other women to reach their goals and potential.”
Another Trinidad and Tobago hockey official who has really grasped the opportunities offered through our sport is Reyah Richardson. Currently, Richardson, a former national team player, is T&T Hockey Board Honorary Secretary and she is an active and proficient tournament director and technical official. She is also a scientist, working as a laboratory supervisor at HPCL.
When she reflects on the pathway she has followed within hockey, Richardson says it is important to take learning opportunities from every experience – good and bad.
“Each obstacle or stumbling block to me is an opportunity and it has shaped and moulded me for the next step and the next level in my career. I was fortunate to enter the sport when there were strong women in roles of leadership and they paved the way for us young girls coming into the sport.”
Now a role model in her own right - both in her career as a scientist and on the hockey field, Richardson has these words of advice: “Make your voice heard, challenge when necessary, but also respect and understand the person you are dealing with because you will meet people from all sorts of different backgrounds. But you can choose to find a way to deal with any situation.”
The USA’s Pam Stuper is a former member of both the FIH and PAHF Executive Board. She is currently USA Field Hockey Foundation Director, a part-time position she has held for a year and Head Coach of Field Hockey at Yale University.
“I picked up a stick at the age of 11 with no idea where that would take me,” says the former national team player.
In fact, the sport has taken Stuper far, both geographically and professionally. As a player, she played four years of college hockey and was then selected for the national team. Stuper played in three World Cups for the USA national team and has subsequently played in two Masters World Cups.
“I took my love of the game and my desire to teach into a coaching career that has spanned 25 years. My greatest challenge has been to impact the game off the field in my various governance roles.”
In her most recent role as Foundation Director at USA Field Hockey, Stuper says she wants to help people enjoy their hockey journey as much as she has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy hers.
As a current player, Chile’s Camila Caram still has a long career in the sport ahead of her. She recently announced that she was pregnant but added that her husband would be sharing childcare duties so that she could continue to represent her country. It is this ‘can-do’ attitude that makes Caram such an inspirational figure to other female hockey players.
With 238 international caps to her name, Caram may well be a veteran of the Diablas but she is already proving that her influence on the sport is likely to continue well past her playing days.
Caram recently appeared as a panellist on the PAHF Gender Equality webinar and her measured answers about the paucity of female coaches working in the sport, plus her conviction that coaching should be a profession and not just something that females did as a ‘hobby’, won the admiration of people who had tuned in from across the continent.
Taking her first steps into becoming an influence within the sport, Caram was elected to the FIH Athletes Committee as a Liaison Member. Here, she makes her voice heard as she joins fellow PAHF athletes Carla Rebecchi and Scott Tupper as well as former players and Olympian such as Kate Richardson-Walsh, Janne Müller-Wieland and Mark Knowles. In taking her place on a committee such as this, Caram will be making her voice heard for both her country and fellow female athletes across the world.
The four women and their achievements highlighted here are just a handful of examples of women who have trodden their own pathway to success. The common factor in all cases are the joint characteristics first voiced by Craig-Rousseau: “tenacity and resilience”. In the face of challenges - on the pitch, off the pitch or in the business world, a spirit of tenacity and resilience has made all four of our featured hockey women inspirational role models.