Board of Directors and Staff
Tara Savoie – President, Central Representative
Tara Savoie has been involved with the sport of cheer for more than 20 years. She is an ICU Level 2 certified judge with experience provincially, nationally, and internationally. Most recently, Tara was selected as one of the judges for the 2019 Pan American Cheerleading Championship and 2020 ICU World School Cheerleading Championship. She also coaches Brock University’s Golf and Cheer team. With the latter, Tara has attended the ICU University World Cheerleading Championships and FISU World University Championships winning many accolades over her over 20-year tenure. Tara has been active in both the provincial and national sport organizations for both cheer and golf. She has served as a board member, and ultimately, President of OCF and is currently serving as the Vice President of Cheer Canada where she also participates on the Judging, Scholastic and Long-Term Development Committees. In her spare time, Tara loves to golf and spend time with her husband and 2 young children.
Erica Royal – Vice-President, Atlantic Representative
I’m Erica Royal and I live just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia with my two daughters and husband. I’m originally from Cape Breton, NS. I have been coaching cheer since 2001 when I started with a junior high team in Glace Bay. I now own and operate West Halifax Cheerleading along with my two partners Jana Nickerson and Ashley Astephen and we are in the middle of our 12th season. I am currently the treasurer for Cheer NS and am also the Atlantic Region Representative and Vice-President for Cheer Canada and have also been the Treasurer since October 2017. I am also a self-proclaimed computer nerd. I have worked in the IT and Business Technology industry for 20 years and I’m currently a business transformation manager for Dalhousie University’s Registrar’s Office. My two daughters sadly do not cheer but are heavily Involved in Scottish Highland Dancing and attend many competitions. My eldest is also part of a Scottish Highland performance troupe and gets to perform on cruise ships when they port in the Halifax Harbour and I get to be the dance mom who follows her around! My little one is also an avid step dancer. They also play fiddle and guitar. I mentioned I was from Cape Breton right?
Kathleen Meyer – Secretary
Hi! I’m Kathleen (Forde) Meyer and I’m a newcomer to the administration aspect of the Cheer World. Although my youngest son has been cheering throughout North America for the past 10 years, I have rarely been seen at a practice or gym meeting. I have, however, been on a board for almost every one — and this scares me, of the past 30 years. Starting with coordinating United Way campaigns for member agencies, and moving to more recently working with One! International on their website and grant applications, I’ve been in more meetings, taken more minutes, written more policies, consulted Robert’s Rules of Order, and uttered the words “I can do that” more times than my darling husband of 28+ years appreciates. In the real world, before the family businesses took over, I was a writer/editor for various smaller publications, and consulted with non-profits on grant writing, website technical writing, and whatever else came across my laptop. When asked ‘what is it that you do for work’, I struggle to find an appropriate answer, one that captures sitting in the snow in Drumheller, making sure the ‘boom’ doesn’t appear in a film shot, to taping auditions with our oldest son in Los Angeles or New York, to coordinating a staff of 20+ on the ground here in Edmonton, AB, where I reside about 15-20 days a month. The word ‘babysitter’ comes to mind … but I think I’ll leave you with the title of an article I recently wrote, “I’m an enabler, hear me roar”.
Janie Lapierre – Treasurer, Eastern Representative
Janie Lapierre is the founder of Kicks Cheer & Events and SpiriX Athletics. In addition to being a former cheer athlete, she has been involved in coaching for 20 years at all levels and was involved in the creation of the Quebec Cheerleading Federation. Janie served several terms on the board of directors. She has also been a trainer for coaches and judges for the FCQ. Janie has also judged in Canada and the United States for more than 15 years. Janie will be part of the Canadian Olympic Committee Volunteer team Canada House for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Janie hopes she can help Cheer Canada build a solid foundation for the future of Sport.
Suzanne Fisher – Director at Large
Suzanne is a True Sport Champion who believes in providing quality sport experiences that are values-based and principles driven. She has an Advanced Coaching Diploma from Seneca College with a focus in gymnastics. With more than 10 years of experience working in the coach education department at a National Sport Organization, Suzanne has a high level of expertise in the NCCP, from grassroots to high performance, with proven innovation in curriculum design and online learning. Suzanne is a Master Coach Developer and has completed extensive leadership training, with a focus on management by values, including a Women in Leadership certificate from Cornell University and completion of the Women Emerging Leaders Development Program with the Canadian Olympic Committee. Suzanne’s personal work style includes making connections, listening to understand, trying new things, valuing relationships, and acting with integrity and gratitude in everything she does.
Dan Hogan – Director at Large
Dan is a Nurse Manager at Kingston Health Sciences Center, where he leads 250 employees, and two community partnership programs. He holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership from the University of Guelph and has completed the Advanced System Leadership Program at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. Dan has learned about cheerleading through his children’s involvement in the sport and appreciates the life skills, including confidence, self-value, perseverance, dedication and teamwork, that it has taught them.
Keri Lewis – Director at Large
Keri is a gym owner and coach who is based out of Kamloops, BC. She sat on the board of directors with BC Cheerleading Association 2017-2020 as the secretary of the board and is currently a credentialing administrator for the BCCA certification program. She began as an athlete in Ontario in 2005 and transitioned into coaching in 2011. She has experience with development of marketing plans, HR management as well as implementing those plans and is / has been certified as a coach in various disciplines through NCCP, CASI, CSIA, ORCKA, among others. Along with BCCA Keri worked alongside ViaSport and Sport BC to help further the sport in her home province. She sat on the membership committee which helped to develop and implement the cheer-reg program and has extensive experience with that program. She also has experience with gaining sponsorship for events as well as event production specifically with BC Provincials which she was integral to getting off the ground and is now an annual event. Keri is hopeful that she can help build some capacity within Cheer Canada and give back to the sport that has given her so much.
Patti McNeill – Director at Large
Patti was a founding member of Cheer Canada and has been involved with the sport’s governance for more than 30 years in Manitoba. She was the Vice President of Cheer Manitoba and worked to merge the province’s two governing bodies. She has worked closely with the ICU and set up the bid process in Manitoba for teams to attend Worlds in Florida, as well as supported the development of scholastic cheer in her province. Patti has spent most of her life involved with Cheer. She looks forward to working with a new group to achieve more for the sport nationally.
Todd Knihnitski – West Representative
Todd is a co-owner of Prairie Fire Cheerleading and someone who loves everything about coaching. He has an Education degree and a Sports Science degree along with many years of coaching in several sports for the last 22 years. Todd is proud to help our sport grow locally, provincially and Nationally. When he isn’t coaching, Todd travels, hikes, and bikes with his family: Cristina, their two sons and two daughters (the four foot variety). He is an advocate for social justice, wellness and the health of our planet.
Nick Verburg – Athlete Director
Jim Greenough – Pacific Regional Director (Leave of Absence)
Jim Greenough brings over 35 years of experience as a senior corporate financial and operating officer in a wide variety of local, national, and international businesses and non-profit organizations. What started out with his supportive husband role to Dianne Greenough’s 35+ year career as a Cheer Coach and mentor, ultimately evolved into a business partnership when he and Dianne co-founded Perfect Storm Athletics. They currently serve over 1300 athletes who compete across Canada and internationally. Jim offers a keen understanding of global sport governance, garnered through his personal experience as an athlete, an attendee of various ICU international and regional meetings, through governance roles with the Alberta Cheerleading Association, and as an event producer. Jim is a devoted father, grandfather, husband and an active athlete, competing in triathlons, hockey, snowboarding, scuba diving, cross country skiing and a round of golf when time permits.
Joanna Low – Executive Director (Staff)
With a passion for empowering non-profits, Joanna Low founded her business Beautiful Futures to bring lasting change and support to organizations working hard to have a greater impact in our community. With a BA in Psychology and a Master of Science, her systems-based approach, combined with her genuine deep connections to her clients, shapes the core values of her practice. Joanna also applies the same approach to the thousands of athletes that she has worked with as a coach, official, and program director. An athlete herself, she knows the importance of using the most current science available in conjunction with an understanding of each athlete’s unique strengths in order to best connect with and uplift the athlete. She enjoys passing these skills on to other coaches as a NCCP Master Coach Developer.
Joanna also has over 20 years in non-profit management with a background in accounting and finance. She is excited to bring her business management skills and her experience for non-profit development together to help grow and support Cheer Canada. Never having been one for much down time, Joanna’s passion for excellence carries over to her family as she is an enthusiastic and supportive mother to two daughters who are both highly competitive athletes. However, as exciting as that can be, Joanna’s true passion lies in building successful grassroots community programs that reach out to, and challenge, athletes of all skill levels and backgrounds.
Working Groups & Task Teams
Translation Task Team