Shauna Bookal merges sports and philanthropy as athletics events co-ordinator
June 29, 2012
Shauna Bookal needs to slow down.
As athletics events co-ordinator Bookal has made a career out of having many projects on the go. She’s either training students for the Rising Rams program, co-ordinating outreach with Toronto Police Services or simply attending games in support of the Ryerson Rams. An avid proponent of student campus life, Bookal has maintained a hectic work schedule since she was in high school.
Her job involves organizing all game-day promotions and sponsorships and the department’s community outreach programs. She also oversees special events such as tournaments, the platinum breakfast and the athletic banquet.
“It’s a challenge. The athletic department is young and it’s great to bring in new ideas and be part of a tradition that’s being created here,” Bookal said. “It’s becoming a family, not just a workplace.”
Under Bookal’s management, the Rising Rams mentorship program has grown to a two-semester commitment that includes a new scholarship for one boy and girl from each participating school to attend Ryerson’s summer day camp. In addition, Bookal has created Think Pink and Movember fundraisers for breast and prostate cancer awareness and organized Little Rams on Blades where peewee hockey teams can scrimmage during intermission at the men’s hockey games.
“We keep reaching new goals and it’s for causes that are near and dear to our hearts,” Bookal said. “Seeing the smiles and satisfaction on the kids’ and students’ faces makes it all worth it. To know we’ve made a difference and athletes are learning what they’ve taken for granted and how good they have it compared to others.”
Her enthusiasm and professionalism have put her in the spotlight on a few occasions. In 2011, she received the Marie Marguerite Rose Award at Ryerson’s third annual Viola Desmond Day ceremony, which celebrates strong black Canadian women. And in 2012, Bookal was featured in the coffee-table book, Jamaicans in Canada: When Ackee Meets Codfish, which honours outstanding Jamaican-Canadians such as Charmaine Crooks, Donovan Bailey, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ryerson’s Chancellor G. Raymond Chang and Gervan Fearon, Chang School dean.
Her drive to be so involved in campus sports started in high school when she got injured playing basketball and was forced to pull back from athletics. She began to see life behind-the-scenes in sports and discovered sport management education. She earneda bachelor of sport management from Brock University and went on to complete a sport business management graduate certificate from Durham College and a master of science in sport management from West Virginia University.
“This is a career that I love,” Bookal said. “It’s not Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 and that’s the first thing they tell you in sports management. It’s a fast-paced environment that I grew accustomed to and love.”