Photo: Peter Power

On Tuesday, Eva Havaris, Vice President of Tennis Participation and Partnership at Tennis Canada, was recognized with the prestigious Top 25 Women of Influence award for her continued work in advancing gender equity in sport. Eva’s dedication to making a real difference in her field has positively affected countless lives, making her an inspiration to many young women across the country.

“We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Eva Havaris for being recognized as one of 2023’s Top 25 Women of Influence,” said Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “The work done by Eva since joining our organization has been nothing short of spectacular, and we couldn’t be more proud to see her receive this well-deserved award.”

In 2021, Eva joined Tennis Canada’s Senior Management Team (SMT), and her impact was immediately felt by the organization. Less than a year into her tenure, Eva led the development and deployment of Tennis Canada’s first-ever Gender Equity Advancement Strategy, which aims to create more opportunities for women and girls in, and through tennis, in order for them to realize their full potential. 

This strategy gave rise to many milestones, such as the creation of a new leadership role at Tennis Canada dedicated specifically to advancing gender equity in tennis. The Director of Women and Girls Advancement at Tennis Canada is the first full-time, permanent and dedicated position of its nature at a Canadian National Sport Organization.

Additionally, as part of the Gender Equity Advancement Strategy, Tennis Canada hosted its inaugural UNMATCHED Gender Equity in Sports Conference in 2022. Featuring tennis legend Billie Jean King, the conference brought together leaders, influencers, athletes, advocates, and academics from across Canada and the world to celebrate the place of women and girls in sport.

Photo: Arianne Bergeron

Eva’s passion for empowering women and breaking barriers in sport began a long time before joining the SMT at Tennis Canada. When she was a kid, Eva developed a love for the game of soccer and ended up playing with a boys’ team for 10 years since there weren’t any girls’ teams she could join in her area. She eventually played Division I soccer in the United States, and then served as Head Coach of the women’s soccer teams at the University of Toronto and Fanshawe College. As coach, she employed many female associates and technical staff to join her as part of her leadership teams.

Off the field, Eva held various high-level roles with Rugby Canada, Taekwondo Canada, Equestrian Canada, and the Canadian Premier League – to name a few. Within these roles, she’s used her position, platform, and reach to create and support game-changing opportunities for girls and women who want to build careers in the sport industry.

Moving from words to action and challenging the status quo in partnership with women and girls is what Eva is all about. Building on her own experiences within sport, she’s made a lifelong commitment to being one of the leaders in the field of gender equity in sport. Eva truly believes that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, everyone deserves to realize their full potential.