By Melissa Lafrance on February 2, 2017
This month we are featuring Senior Athletics Director, Gilles Lepine as our Thriving Thunderbird.
Thriving Campus features testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff members.
What are your top three things for thriving in life?
Finding and respecting myself and my values.
My mirror is my best judge. If I can look myself in the mirror and be completely honest with my convictions and myself, I am on the good path. I always say to my children, “Listen to your little voice”, your passions; your interest will drive you where you are supposed to go.
Discovering new persons and new cultures.
I love to discover new natural sceneries, but where I find the most satisfying is to encounter new people, new cultures. To see how much we are different and so similar. I can understand their reality and it helps me to understand my reality.
Having and creating stimulant challenges.
I once heard that happiness is out of our comfort zone… Where some are seeing problems, I try to see challenges. Having challenges is more stimulating than having problems.
Sport is in my DNA. I heard that when we practice a physical activity, it could be compared to meditation. I have to admit then when I’m playing beach volleyball I’m very focusing on the ball coming to my face.
What is your top tip for thriving at work that you want to share with others?
Try to work smarter, not harder.
Could we take the time to stop swimming and look where we are going? Could we do things differently? Do we have the courage to ask others or ourselves “Why we doing this? Could we have some help?”
Think like an entrepreneur.
A budget is a mix of Revenues and… Investments (not expenses). I am always looking for a win-win situation. In a perfect world, every colleague feels they are running their own business. Accountability bring creativity.
Having fun. Life is too short. Humor is a social lubricant…
Is it possible to work hard and have fun? I am convinced the answer is yes.
Injecting some humor make everybody more comfortable and open to collaborate.
Gilles Lépine is the Senior Athletics Director for the UBC Thunderbirds. He was the former Director of Excellence for Laval University’s Department of Athletics for 12 years and now leads the Thunderbirds Athletics program. Some of his past experiences as a student athlete, coach, administrator, and builder of championship varsity program makes him well-suited to lead the Thunderbirds to further excellence. He has played multiple sports competitively and dedicated his time to introducing sports to athletes of all ages through charities and volunteer work.
By Miranda Massie on February 3, 2016
UBC Events and Activities
UBC Travelling Health Fair: Registration open now
The fair is back for another year! Sign up while spots last to receive your free, individual lung health assessment. Take a breather while you have a lung health check-up, to learn about risk factors and more!
Lunar New Year Festival: Feb 5, 2016
The UBC Centennial Lunar New Year Festival is an intercultural celebration of Lunar New Year traditions, for all members of the UBC community. It is a great opportunity to get involved in one of the campus’ largest cultural events
UBC Step It Up Guided Walks: Feb 11 & 17, 2016
Interested in a Glow in the Dark Park Walk? Perhaps Nitobe Memorial Garden is more your speed? Join UBC Recreation for upcoming guided groups walks around campus!
TED 2016 Livestream Sessions: Feb 16-19, 2016
The Faculty of Education is pleased to provide a free live stream of this year’s TED talks in the Scarfe Building. Join in and learn about ideas worth spreading!
TEAM UBC Ride to Conquer Cancer Orientation: March 2, 2016
TEAM UBC is a group of UBC staff, faculty, students and alumni who have come together to participate in the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer event benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation. Join TEAM UBC in August 2016 as they make the 250 kilometer journey from Cloverdale to Seattle, either as a rider or a crew member. To learn more attend the orientation:
- Wednesday, March 2 from 12 pm to 1 pm
- Michael Smith Labs, Auditorium (Room 102) 2185 East Mall, UBC Vancouver Campus
- Please RSVP to email@example.com
CIS Men’s Basketball National Championships: March 17-20, 2016
The UBC Thunderbirds will welcome the country’s best teams when UBC hosts the CIS Men’s Basketball National Championship. This marks the first time in 33 years that UBC has had the opportunity to host Canada’s national basketball championships.
Storm The Wall: March 20-23, 2016
Storm The Wall is an iconic UBC event. There any many ways to experience Storm The Wall from individual and team participation to spectating and attending festivals!
Off Campus Events and Activities
Alive @ Work: Feb 2016
Another great healthy learning tool geared toward the workplace. This month features communications tops, popular exercises, creative recipes and more!
Family Boat Building at Britannia: Feb 6, 2016
Come explore Britannia Shipyard’s West Coast Maritime Heritage by building your own hand-held wooden boat with the Britannia staff and Britannia Heritage Shipyard Society boat building experts.
Recreation Surrey Family Day: Feb 8, 2016
There is something for everyone to do – Join us for free activities, music, crafts and more for the whole family. Multiple locations participating!
Emergency Preparedness Workshops-Burnaby: Feb 9-16, 2016
Ensure that you, your family and your neighbourhood are prepared before a disaster strikes. Learn how to minimize home hazards, assemble emergency supplies and develop a family reunion plan.
Lunar Fest Vancouver: Feb 12-14, 2016
Celebrate the year of the monkey with a weekend full of cultural events including dance and drumming performances, community festivals, fortune telling, arts and crafts, and more!
Year of the Monkey Temple Fair: Feb 14, 2016
To celebrate Chinese New Year, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden presents a one-day community festival based on the largest and most important festival of the year in Chinese tradition.
Wild About Vancouver: April 16-22 2016
WAV is an outdoor education festival aimed at showcasing fun and learning across the city. They are currently looking for community partners to host events for the upcoming Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival.
Posted in Community Health News, Events, Mental Health, Physical Health | Tagged activities, Basketball, community health news, events, family day, Lunar New Year, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Storm the Wall, Thunderbirds, Travelling Health Fair, UBC, Walking | Leave a response
By Melissa Lafrance on January 12, 2016
This month’s Thriving Thunderbird is Blake Nill, Head Coach of the UBC Men’s Varsity Football team.
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff and students.
How do you Thrive at Work?
Since the nature of my work is highly competitive, most of my time is spent trying to be the best I can possibly be. I consider myself very fortunate to work in this type of environment. I have always felt that you need to push yourself to reach your potential in any capacity. As a coach at the university level, I deal with an endless volume of trials. The passion needed to overcome many of these trials keeps me invigorated and young at heart.
How do you Thrive at Home?
At home I am very interested in learning how to live a heathier and more productive life. The lifestyle here in Vancouver fits my ideology well and it is certainly easier to motivate yourself to be active and health conscious when that is the norm. I am looking forward to the experiences offered in Vancouver that differ from other cities I have previously lived in. I am a strong advocate of fitness and basic fundamental principles as it relates to health. I truly believe in “healthy mind = heathy body”.
I try and live as healthy as I can by being open-minded and following guidelines associated with diet, rest, and activity. I enjoy learning about new trends in wellbeing and am very interested in the science of health and wellbeing.
How do you promote wellbeing to students and colleagues you work with?
I am a strong advocate of the importance associated with the fitness component of football and the science that it parallels. I want my athletes to achieve their fitness potential and try and provide the tools necessary to reach those goals.
What do you do in your free time to recharge?
Most of my free-time is spent in some form of physical activity. In the winter off-season I am a regular at hot yoga, and have recently started taking TRX classes. I am a regular in the weight room and try to run year-round. I enjoy the physical activities that are available here in Vancouver. I enjoy the challenge of Grouse Mountain and regularly do the Grind. Paddle boarding is a work in progress. This summer I started swimming daily at the Kitsilano Pool. Swimming not only provides an excellent source of physical fitness but I use it as a state to think. I make some of my best decisions as I go up and down the pool.
What are central challenges you face in your role as Head Football Coach? How do you overcome them?
As a varsity coach responsible for 90+ athletes, you are continuously dealing with issues associated with their lives. The sheer number of decisions you make per day can often create significant stress. Add to that my competitive nature and desire to succeed, and it is easy to see where my challenges originate. This is my 25th year as a varsity coach. I try and use my experiences as much as possible to remain calm, stay focused, and make the right decisions. My experience helps me a lot.
Blake Nill is currently the 18th head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds football program. He has led the team to an impressive win of the 51st Vanier Cup in 2015.
One of the most successful coaches in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) football, Blake joined the Thunderbirds after nine years as head coach of the University of Calgary. Prior to that he spent eight seasons as head coach at Saint Mary’s University. In 17 seasons as a CIS head coach, Blake has a career record (regular season and playoffs) of 130-47.
Over the last nine years, Blake led the Dinos to three Vanier Cup appearances (2009, 2010 & 2013) and a record six straight Hardy Cup Championships (2008-13) as the Canada West’s top team. In each of his last seven seasons in Calgary, the Dinos won at least five regular season games and one playoff game. From 2007-2014, the Dinos had 23 players selected in the Canadian Football League draft, eight of which were taken in the first round. Blake won the Frank Tindall Trophy as CIS Coach of the Year in 1999 and was a finalist in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2012, and 2013. He has been named Canada West coach of the year on three occasions: 2009, 2012, and 2013.
A native of Hanna, AB, Blake’s first head coaching job in the CIS was with Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS. In eight years with the Huskies, he led them to a record six-straight Atlantic University Sport Championships (1999-2004), four trips to the Vanier Cup (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003), and two Vanier Cup Championships (2001 & 2002). Blake‘s CIS coaching career began at St. Francis Xavier as a defensive coordinator in 1992. He spent six years with the X-Men, helping them to a Vanier Cup appearance in 1996.
During his playing days, Blake suited up for the Calgary Dinos from 1980 through 1982. He was drafted by the Montreal Concordes in the third round, 19th overall in the 1983 CFL Draft. He played in the CFL from 1983-88 with Montreal, Hamilton, and Winnipeg.
Blake graduated from Concordia University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts and has a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Education from St. Francis Xavier University.
By Colin Hearne on April 8, 2015
This month’s we are featuring a Thriving Thunderbird on campus: Marisa Kovacs, Head Coach of UBC Women’s Soccer team.
Our Thriving Campus and Faculty series regularly feature contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff and faculty who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into classrooms, research, departments and communities.
What are the central challenges you face in your role as Head Coach?
I think the biggest challenge I face in my new role as Head Coach is executing all of the ideas I have for our program. I have so many ideas and goals for our team now that I have seen the abundance of support given to the students here at UBC. I want to assist my student athletes in becoming successful players and people.
Based on your experiences, can you describe the relationship between athlete mental health & wellbeing and learning?
Since starting my coaching career and also having an education and psychology background, I have come to understand that without mental health and wellbeing, student-athletes will have a difficult time learning and retaining the information presented to them. I focus heavily on creating a safe and healthy environment for my athletes and I believe in uplifting my team with positivity and constant feedback. Our team culture is one of inclusiveness and understanding. Players within our program know that they can come to me or other teammates with issues within their lives—they are also aware of the support system within UBC. Athletes need support when dealing with stress and time management to ensure they’re given optimal opportunities to learn and achieve on and off the field.
Do you implement any strategies to support athlete mental health and wellbeing in your teams?
As a coach I try to stress and support proper nutrition and sleep. We also do weekly yoga as a stress reliever. Taking care of our bodies assists with mental health and wellbeing. I also look to create a culture of support within our team by having fourth- and fifth-year students mentor our younger players. Throughout the year I have bi-monthly individual meetings with my players to talk about school, soccer, and everyday stresses and situations. My hope is to have my players feel supported, safe, and understood.
What strategies do you use in your own life, that help you thrive as a coach?
As a coach I try to practice what I preach. If I want my players to eat right and get enough sleep I need to do these things as well. I like working out with my players and hope to be a positive role model in everything I do.
Are they any specific initiatives you are involved in that promote health, mental health and wellbeing?
My team is actually involved with the Vancouver Street Soccer League – a volunteer-run organization which reaches out to individuals who have been homeless, are currently homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, as well as individuals who feel marginalized within their communities, or are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. In the VSSL we address the issue of homelessness, marginalization, and addiction through inclusivity and soccer – believing we can enhance all of our lives through the principles of Fair Play, Community Building, Supportive Partnerships, and Health and Safety.”
My team in particular helps run training session every Sunday and also is looking to put on a tournament for the VSSL to raise funds for this non-profit organization.
Are there any resources on campus that you have found to be helpful for promoting wellbeing for either yourself or your teams?
I am extremely grateful that UBC offers the travelling health fair and I have utilized this resource for myself and brought back information for my players.
In your role as coach, please describe your experience balancing work-life commitments? Is there a metaphor that depicts this relationship?
I philosophy for coaching and life is “Belief and Balance.” We must believe in each other as players, coaches, support staff, and ourselves in order to move towards the same goal. We must also be balanced within our lives in order to be able to achieve success emotionally, physically, and psychologically. I try to run my program with a holistic approach and stress balance. In my own life as well, balance is key to wellbeing and mental health. As much as I love my job and can at times be a bit of a workaholic—even sunshine burns if you get to much, so I want my players to understand balance. When I stress balance to my team I also stress giving 100% of your effort to the task at hand. “Whatever you are doing you commit fully and focus on achieving your outcome to the best of your ability. “
Marisa comes to UBC after successful coaching tenures at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga., and Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., both NCAA Div. II institutions.
Last year, Kovacs was named an assistant coach and head scout for SFU Clan men’s soccer. In two seasons with Kovacs on staff, SFU made the NCAA Div. II championship tournament twice, advancing to the national semifinal round in 2013. While at SFU, she also completed her Bachelor of Education degree. In addition to her degrees from UWG and SFU, Kovacs holds a Bachelor of Arts from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., where she played varsity soccer from 2000 to 2003.
Posted in Colin Hearne, Mental Health, Physical Health, Spot Light, Thriving Campus | Tagged athletes, coach, Marisa Kovacs, soccer, thrive, thriving thunderbird, Thunderbirds, UBC, wellbeing | Leave a response