About Our Board of Directors

Ben Saxton, a 2016 Rio Olympian, was born and raised in Calgary, AB, but now resides in Vancouver, BC when not training in California and playing on the FIVB World Tour.  Volleyball has been a prominent part of his whole life.  He has experienced every stage of the development of a successful beach volleyball player and program. As a member of Canadian National Beach Volleyball Team since 2008, he saw the team at that time not qualify a single Beach Volleyball team to the 2008 London Olympics.  But, he also got to be a part of the team Canada qualified the maximum of 4 teams to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 

Ben has first-hand experience of the hardship for beach volleyball athletes from the western provinces of Canada who desire to reach a high-level of international success . With no full-time training centers near home, and a lack of exposure or access to the highest levels of competition or coaching, only those athletes with strong supportive backing are able to make the jump from domestic to international competition.

 

It is for those reasons that Ben wants to be a catalyst and mentor for future generations of Western Canadian beach volleyball athletes so they can envision a path and a future in the sport.  Overall, he wants to see the sport grow in general in Western Canada.  As someone who has seen and played the sport at every level, Ben will provide support, mentorship, and inspiration to the whole beach volleyball community, and co-founded West Coast Beach Volleyball Society as a means to do so. 

 

Ben has aspirations to represent Canada internationally for many years to come, and seeks to accomplish much more as an athlete on the world stage. Ideally by the time he has finished playing, there will have been somewhere in Western Canada where he could train at an elite level.  He would also like to see an international beach volleyball event be hosted in Western Canadian and have the chance to compete in front of friends, family and supporters.  there will also be a new era of Western Canadian Beach Volleyball Players whom he can compete against that will eventually take over for him in Canadian Beach Volleyball Performance.

You can follow Ben on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  (psst ... he is rumored to have a pretty respected Twitter game!)  He is also currently blogging for the Swatch Major Beach Volleyball Series

 

Ben Saxton

President

 

Jodi McIntosh

Executive Director

Jodi McIntosh has been active in various sports her whole life, including her favorite – volleyball – as well as softball, swimming, tennis, hiking, snowshoeing and she will try just about any sport that does not involve full-on contact or flying down on mountain on waxed surfaces!  She knows firsthand the tremendous and positive impact that sport has on children, adults and families.  She came from a family of 6 children with meager means, and through sport, discovered and connected with different people with different views, life experiences, and aspirations.  Sport provided an outlet for gaining confidence, learning valuable lessons, dealing with both elation and disappointment, as well as discovering independence and dependence as a teammate.  The 1980 Olympic Games were her earliest memories of being inspired by otherwise everyday people who dedicated themselves to feats thought not possible.

Jodi met her husband, Brian Hiebert (WeCoBeVo Director of High Performance), in 2008 and began to experience sport and beach volleyball on another level as he had recently finished his professional beach volleyball career and was working at Volleyball Canada at the time.  Her first Canadian Beach Nationals in Summer 2008 made a lasting impression about how tight knit the beach volleyball community is in Canada, but she also saw so much potential.  After getting to know some of the athletes over the years, she has a great appreciation for how much the athletes make it all look so easy and fun, while behind the scenes often struggling with essentials, work/life balance, finances, training and coaching support, finding sponsors and keeping them happy, and keeping focus on their dreams.  It became more and more evident how much financial burden is placed upon athletes who represent their countries at various levels, and now having lived in Vancouver for 5 years, she recognizes the geographical hurdles added to the equation.

Jodi strongly believes that where there is a will there is a way, and if WeCoBeVo could help just one athlete with one stepping stone towards achieving their dreams, then there will be a ripple effect to other athletes and to the beach volleyball community as a whole, which includes kids who have never had the opportunity to play as well as those players and fans that have been around the sport for years.  She hopes her 20 years of corporate experience as well as the various charitable and civic endeavors she has been involved with, will help WeCoBeVo make some amazing things happen in the world of Western Canadian beach volleyball!  She is an adamant supporter of and volunteer for KidSport Vancouver and is proud that WeCoBeVo is donating 10% of its athlete funding amount to the organization so they can help all kids play sport.

 

Jana Weir

Director of Events

Jana Weir has been playing beach volleyball for 15 years and is a self-taught player who has moved through the ranks of the Vancouver beach volleyball scene, competing in Amateur tournaments to winning the BC Provincial Open tournament in 2014.  She is a certified coach both in Canada through the NCCP program and the USA through the USA Volleyball Beach Impact program.  Jana coaches adults who want to enjoy participating and competing at all levels.  On the beach, she can be heard saying:

 

“Let’s go crush some dreams.”

 

She says this before playing.  Ironically, Jana is quoted as saying “it’s mostly her own dreams she crushes.”  Jana shares that while she has won some, she has definitely lost more, but it does not matter whose dreams are crushed - yours or hers -  because losing only makes athletes want to be better and smarter.   It makes athletes want to grow as players and partners, to win against all odds.

This belief system has helped her understand why athletes keep going, trying to overcome the financial odds, physical odds, emotional odds.  It is tough to be the best.  You have to leave your family and friends, and you must put in countless hours physically and emotionally training body and mind to perform.

 

Jana believe that if WeCoBeVo can help make just a bit of financial difference for an athlete, to help make those financial odds a little bit better so athletes can focus more on their well-being and development, we will have done our job.

 

Dreams are tough to follow, and tougher to catch, but through her job as Director of Events, she aims to create experiences that highlight how a little bit of help can make the difference between an athlete just following but rather actually catching their dreams.

Dr. Alex Rosenczweig

Director of Corporate Relations

 

After growing up in Vancouver and finishing his B.Sc. Degree in biochemistry, Dr. Alex Rosenczweig went on to complete his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of British Columbia in 2002.  Prior to that, he was on the Board of Directors for a non-profit society (BC Disc Sports Society) and played competitive ultimate frisbee.  It was during his university years that he founded the first ever ultimate frisbee club and eventual men's ultimate frisbee team for UBC.

 

In 2010, Dr. Alex was honoured to be selected to be part of the dental team that provided dental care to the world class athletes of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.  Currently he is the official dentist for the UBC Varsity Athletics and will be the Dentist for the international athletes at the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix Women's Volleyball tournament July 21-23 at the Richmond Oval.  He runs his own private dental office (Accord Dental) in Kitsilano and is passionate about beach volleyball.

 

As a founding member of WeCoBeVo, Dr. Alex brings a wealth of experience in working with athletes and athletic programs.

 

Brian Hiebert

Director of Volleyball Relations

Since 1992, Brian Hiebert has been involved with volleyball for almost 25 years as a player, coach, referee and administrator. As a beach volleyball player, he was a 7-time BC Beach Volleyball Provincial Champion and 2-time National Champion.  

 

In 2000 at the age of 20 years old, he left his indoor collegiate volleyball career, and moved from Vancouver to Toronto where he could pursue beach volleyball full-time and train with the national team.  In 2001 he was named top server, top setter and rookie of the year on the Canadian Beach National Tour, winning 2 events at 20 years of age. In 2002 and 2003 he was U24 National Champion with teammate Josh Binstock (2012 and 2016 Olympian) and in 2005 he partnered with Martin Reader (2012 Olympian) to claim two international top 4 finishes and a bronze medal at the National Championships.

After retiring in 2006, he worked for Volleyball Canada's Beach Volleyball Team as High Performance Coordinator and he contributed to the hiring of Canada’s first national team coach in 2009.  Brian is now an International beach volleyball referee, with reffing experience spanning 15 years, including most recently the 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals.  His ultimate goal is to referee at the Olympics Games -- hopefully at Tokyo 2020!

 

Brian is currently owner-head coach of Vancouver Volleyball League, which provides youth in Grades 3-10 the opportunity to learn and love the indoor volleyball game while playing and thriving in a fun and inspiring environment ... where all kids get to play!

 

Brian has his certification as a personal trainer and has a solid background in injury prevention, rehab and performance. He is also still competing and striving to improve his game and remains one of the top players in BC.​  As the Director of High Performance for WeCoBeVo, he wants to help create a path for Western Canadian beach volleyball athletes that looks much different than the one he had to take in 2000.  He envisions WeCoBeVo providing support to ease the financial burden, as well as propel and compliment the training, coaching and travel responsibilities the athletes largely take on themselves.

Lisa Tam

Head of Selection Committee and Board Liaison

 

Lisa Tam has been working in the sport industry for over 10 years and is currently the Program and Events Director for 6 Pack Indoor Beach in Richmond, BC.

 

She is the President of Action Volleyball Club and is the head coach for the Action 13U and 14U teams.  Lisa has been granted a 2017 Excellence Award from the Volleyball BC Hall of Fame for the Program Development work she has done with Action.

To say that Lisa is an advocate of youth sports and sport for life is an understatement as she gives and volunteers much time and energy to ensuring others learn and enjoy sport as much as she does.

 

Often, you can find her enjoying any sport from hiking to skim boarding, surfing and or course, volleyball.  Lisa is truly a "Jill of all Trades" and you can even find her putting her resourcefulness to work while waxing skis and boards for friends in the winter.

  

While her official role with WeCoBeVo is the Head of Selection Committee and Board Liaison, her contribution to the organization spans across Social Media, Marketing, Events Management, Volunteer Recruitment and overall advisor.

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