2019 IW Winners

Young Influential Essay Scholarship - Sault Ste. Marie

Daniella Brewer

Daniella Brewer

While studying sports media in high school, Daniella Brewer faced an unpleasant stereotype: because she was female, she knew less about sports than her male classmates. But the plucky Grade 12 student didn’t let that judgment faze her.

“If somebody’s telling you, ‘You’re a girl, so you can’t do this,’ just prove them wrong,” the 18-year-old said. “Prove them wrong and prove that you can get there, that you can definitely rise above as a woman.”

And so she did, earning the highest mark in the class that year.

Now, as her St. Mary’s College career draws to a close, Brewer will call on that strength of character as she pursues her postsecondary education in sports marketing, an ambition ignited by a lifelong passion for sports.

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Brewer spent eight years playing hockey, eventually becoming a team captain, providing guidance and encouragement to her teammates.

That experience helped shape her current view on the opportunities afforded to young women to become effective leaders.

“The most valuable lesson I learned as a leader did not come from tactics on the ice,” she writes in her award-winning Young Influential Woman Essay.

“Instead, it was the power of teamwork within a group of girls, supporting each other to their full capacity.” Characteristics that have traditionally been viewed through a critical lens – being sensitive or feminine – are actually great attributes, Brewer argues.

They demonstrate “the ability to be caring, have emotional connections with others, and (their) importance in positions of leadership.” Though some old stereotypes remain, she notes, there are signs that society is recognizing and, in fact, searching out strong, female leaders for positions of authority.

She draws inspiration from women like the Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic hockey gold medalist, who has been named director of player development with the Toronto Maple Leafs, or U.S. hockey player Kendall Coyne Schofield, who was the first woman to participate in a National Hockey League (NHL) all-star skills competition.

“These women, as well as many others, have become role models to many girls internationally,” Brewer writes. “Social media has given a platform to women who are challenging societal norms and fighting to empower others.”

Taking their lead, Brewer is blazing her own trail. After graduation, her ultimate dream job would be in marketing with an NHL team, but she knows that, in a traditionally male-dominated industry, it could be difficult to find acceptance.

Yet she remains undaunted, and she hopes that striving for her goals will one day inspire other young women to pursue their dreams, too.

“Young girls in sports need to be shown that stereotypes don’t define how weak they are, but instead how strong they can be,” Brewer writes.

“I am working towards my goal not only to show myself I am capable, or to show others who thought I couldn’t because of my gender. I am working towards my goal to show young women with similar aspirations that it can be done.”