Join Mr. Kevin Lakes as he catches up with KES Alumna Alexandra Ondo '16 in the latest edition of Connect, Converse, Catch-Up!
Alexandra Ondo '16 exudes inclusion.
I connected with Alex recently to discuss her illustrious rugby career at the University of Ottawa; however, we quickly ended up conversing extensively about her leadership role within her community regarding issues of gender, diversity, and inclusion. We also had a chance to catch-up regarding her new professional life, working at a sport software start-up!
Alex recently graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in social sciences and a minor in global studies. She was also an All-Canadian rugby player four years in a row, winning five national medals including gold in 2017. It was her final year that piqued my interest and set us off on a very relevant conversation. “I returned for my fifth year because the team culture was focused on self-awareness, allyship, and promoting teammate comfort to be themselves,” she says pointing out that her final season would be about much more than athletics.
A leader on and off the pitch
Alex embraced a leadership role on the 2021 Ottawa Gee Gees team and won a national silver medal. With friends, she spearheaded a gender equity committee that led the university into an analysis of their management model and the equitable allocation of resources. This led to further participation in the community as she helped organize workshops, book clubs, and group discussions addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.
“It’s really about encouraging the difficult conversations and allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” says Alex. She is beginning to take her experiences to a wider audience as she recently joined, via video, a meeting of our KES Diversity Committee, sharing her ideas and observations from her work in outreach programmes in our nation’s capital.
Alex came to KES midway through her Grade 10 year, after a term in Quebec. “Before returning to Canada, I was at an international school in Senegal and enjoyed that atmosphere. Through friends I heard about KES and my parents said, ‘If you take care of the application process, you can go.’ So, I did.” She specifically mentioned her appreciation of her rugby coach, Mr. Rory Campbell. “He opened doors for me that led me to Ottawa,” she says. Alex also has fond memories of Mr. Kim Walsh’s family as she came to know all of them closely through her friendship with his daughter Kyla ‘15 and the pursuit of wrestling.
Alex (middle) with fellow GameStrat employees
Presently, Alex is working for a company called GameStrat in Ottawa. It is an instant replay software company that allows coaches to access images from the sidelines during live game action. They have customers across North America, especially at the high school football and university hockey levels. Alex’s role is in customer support and facilitating renewals.
Alex is at the leading edge of women’s rugby in Canada and works with new technology and somehow still finds the time to the vanguard of social dynamism. Her academic focus on global issues has her poised to be an influencer and role-model as our culture and country confront the difficult conversations ahead. Thanks for taking the time to catch-up, Alex!