For the month of December we are thrilled to highlight Natalie Spooner, REAL (Relatable, Empowered,…
Supporter spotlight: Mat Stiver-Balla’s Giving Group Success
Meet Mat Stiver-Balla, a superstar Fast and Female supporter and proud dad who has turned his Ironman training into an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Fast and Female! Mat’s Giving Group has raised over $5,000 to date and we are very excited to cheer him on in his Ironman on August 16th!
Get to know Mat:
F&F: Why did you want to support Fast and Female?
Mat: I was listening to the Fan590 and heard Rosie MacLennan speaking (she is a friend and went to school with my wife) about the decline of female participation in sport. Hearing that got me extremely concerned as I know how important sport is for building so many skills that are widely transferable in life. I reached out to Rosie to ask about some organizations she supports and Fast and Female was one of them. I looked online and saw the strength of the program and thought that I wanted to support in any way possible. The organization is making such a positive impact and I wanted to see how I could help.
F&F: What benefits have you gained and what are some of the lessons sport has taught you?
Mat: The list is endless. I believe the biggest benefits I received from sport was the set of tools I was able to take with me and transfer into the corporate world. These include the ability to prioritize, the ability to be efficient and the ability to be adaptable. Sports also teaches you teamwork and it teaches you how to fail. This is something that we all need to be able to learn how to do. Sport has also taught me about inclusion and diversity and the need to respect all of one’s opponents no matter, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
F&F: What hopes do you have for your daughter in sport?
Mat: Ultimately, I want her to find a passion and then as parents we will do everything we can to break down the barriers for her to be successful and enjoy what she is doing. We want her to be a well rounded athlete but more importantly a well rounded respectful human being.
F&F: Can you tell us a bit about your personal sport background?
Mat: My wife is a former swimmer and I am a former CIS (USport) National Champion in track and field as a sprinter. Yes I realize sprinting and Ironman are on two opposite sides of the spectrum.
F&F: What advice would you give to other dads who want to support women and girls in sports?
Mat: Be the biggest supporter, coach, mentor, playing partner you can be. I think it is also important that you yourself set the strong example. Be active and be a positive participant in the sport you do! This will instill an image of the athlete they will try to be.
- Favourite recovery snacks: Monster Cookies from Bake Sale (a local bakery in Etobicoke) or an Apple Fritter from San Remo Bakery (another local bakery in Etobicoke)
- Favourite pump up song: I have had many over the years anything Eminem is usually a good place to start for me however; lately I have really enjoyed Imagine Dragons and the song Warriors
- What are you most excited to do after your race? Sleep! Having 18-20 hours a week back in my calendar 🙂 taking the family out for some casual bike rides, oh and I am a big kid so the xbox might get turned out for once.
We are so thrilled with the success of Mat’s fundraising campaign, his awesome support of women and girls in sports, and his dedication to training and process. Join us in cheering him on August 16th!
As a small but mighty Canadian charity, Fast and Female relies on donations, sponsorship, and grants to fund the work we do to keep girls healthy and active in sports. We value our donors very highly, and every dollar makes a big difference to the lives of our young participants. If Mat has inspired you to donate in support of Fast and Female’s mission, you can do so here.
If you’d like to donate to Mat’s campaign, check it out here.
If you are motivated to create your own Giving Group campaign, check out our “how to” guide here.