Anne Belliveau / Eva Havaris
In the last few weeks, Tennis Canada has had the pleasure of welcoming two new vice-presidents to the team: Anne Belliveau, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, and Eva Havaris, Vice-President of Partnerships and Participation.
Anne Belliveau possesses 25 years’ executive experience in marketing, communications, business development and sponsorships in key sectors such as telecommunications, the performing arts and amateur sports here and abroad. Prior to joining Tennis Canada, she was the chief marketing officer at Just For Laughs Group—the world’s largest global player in the comedy industry—and led the organization’s digital transformation. She also served as vice president of business brand and marketing communications at TELUS, one of Canada’s leading telecommunications companies
Eva Havaris has worked in sport at the provincial and national levels for several years. In 2006, she joined Rugby Canada and was the associate director of high-performance women’s rugby and rugby development manager until 2010. She went on to serve as chief executive officer of two national sports organizations: Taekwondo Canada (2010–2014) and Equestrian Canada (2014–2017). As the vice-president of strategy and league operations and chief of staff of York United FC, she was part of the executive team that launched the Canadian Premier League. Before joining Tennis Canada, Eva completed an appointment as the executive director of Alpine Ontario.
When Eva and Anne arrived at Tennis Canada, our team asked them a few questions to get to know them better and understand what drives them. Here are their answers.
Why did you choose Tennis Canada?
Anne: Being at the helm of Tennis Canada’s marketing is essentially to put three of my passions at work: technology, entertainment and sport. I have solid expertise in those three sectors, and I’m happy to be able to use it for the three of them at the same time. I believe technology can really support the development of sports and communities, especially by creating entertaining experiences like the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
Also, one of my core values is to live a healthy lifestyle, and Tennis Canada’s mission really spoke to me in that regard. I wouldn’t use marketing to support just anything. Reaching young people and instilling in them the values of being active, getting out and taking care of their health is something I find very interesting and motivating.
Eva: There are a few reasons why I chose to join Tennis Canada. Firstly, Tennis Canada is really seen as a gold-standard organization in the Canadian sport community, so it’s an opportunity to be part of a world-class organization and leadership team. Secondly, everything that’s been happening in tennis in Canada over the last five years or so is very exciting, with many opportunities and challenges to be part of. Lastly, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn from a leader like Michael Downey. I’ve been passionate about leadership my whole life and seize any opportunity to learn from the best.
Your love of sports, when did it start?
Anne: My love of sports started when I was very young. In my family, sports were extremely important, not necessarily in terms of performance but rather in terms of lifestyle: being outdoors, having fun and making the most of each day by being active. I have so many memories of taking part in all sorts of sports with my parents, like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more. So, today, I wake up every morning thinking about when I’ll be physically active that day. It’s part of who I am.
Eva: My love of sports started when I was a young girl, at exactly four years old. My mom used to take me to my older brother’s soccer games and she said I was so consumed watching the boys play. I asked my mom to let me play, so she went and spoke to the coach to ask if I could join the team. There weren’t any girls’ teams when I was growing up so that was my only option. The coach eventually said yes and the rest is history. My love of sport continues to this day. I played multiple sports growing up in high school and ended up focusing on high-level soccer in university.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see in your new role?
Anne: As we come out of the pandemic, the most important thing is to rebuild the marketing team to really support the organization’s development. We know there’s a workforce shortage, so it’ll be challenging to rebuild quickly in response to our needs. It will also be important to support the organization in its digital transformation. That’s one of Tennis Canada’s key priorities, and it will require time and significant investments in financial and human resources.
Moreover, supporting the evolution of Canadian tennis and our athletes will remain a high priority. Our nation’s recent advancement on the world stage was so rapid that we must ensure that this growth is managed properly. It’s a positive situation overall, but it still represents a challenge.
Eva: I think the biggest challenge, as it has been in the past, is just getting up to speed with the unique culture of tennis and the nuances in the sport. Like every sport in Canada, there are many similarities but each has its own culture and way of doing things. As someone who looks for opportunities and ways to innovate and grow, focusing on finding the gems within tennis in Canada—what makes tennis great—will be key to really grow participation and expanding our partnerships.
What’s your wish for Canadian tennis?
Anne: I want Canadian tennis to become a benchmark in the world. The past few years have seen Canadian tennis rise significantly, but I am convinced that the best is yet to come. In Canada, we have all the necessary tools to be among the best nations not only for high performance, but also for a large number of areas: participation, accessibility, equity, innovation, entertainment, etc. I profoundly believe in that and it really motivates me on a daily basis.
Eva: I wish that tennis will be the sport of choice for all Canadians from coast to coast and a sport that provides a welcoming, open and progressive sport environment for participants of all ages and stages. Let’s meet the participants where they are while also ensuring the sport is accessible.
What’s your mantra in life?
Anne: It depends. At the moment, it’s trust the process. I’m someone who always sees the glass half full, and I move forward with a lot of positivity and serenity. I strongly believe things will work themselves out if I trust in life and the people around me.
Eva: It is every person’s birth right to live in their greatness, and it is our duty to each other to support one another’s gifts, passions and success.