Coach Katie Stannard, Southern Maine Community College, Just A Girl 5k

My journey into coaching and leadership has been somewhat unique but looking back fairly intentional.  I do not know if I would have been able to articulate my passion for leadership as a recent college grad, but things that were always important to me, helping others, using my voice for those learning to use theirs, contributing to a larger cause, working harder so others didn’t have the same struggles, and creating opportunities through sport.  As a new mother of two young girls, I have found these passions to be even more intensified.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to keep the fire and that at times I wasn’t tired of fighting the same things over and over.  Tired of watching people in power not make proactive decisions to protect certain demographics.  Tired of being put in positions where I have to correct people because who I am doesn’t match their assumptions.  In coaching specifically, I can’t count how many times people have gone up to my male assistant coach and assumed he was the head coach, despite my having one of the most successful programs nationally every year.  The thought of stepping away becomes more of a reality every year.

However, one night while I was giving my 2-year-old a bath before rushing off to practice – I looked at her and said – “Blair, should Mumma coach next year?” She answered, “Yes, Blair coach!” And that simple phrase reignited my fire.  It is so important to me to be the representation that not only my daughters need, but any young girl in Maine needs who aspires to get into coaching, leadership, or any historically male-dominated industry.

I also realized I was tired of complaining about the issues and not taking action.  After numerous conversations with friends, I decided I wanted to somehow get in touch with the “Just a Kid from Maine” creator to see if he could help bring my vision to life.  Kyle was immediately supportive and helped bring to cloth a series of “Just a Girl from Maine” T-shirts.  Alongside Teresa Esposito and many other strong amazing women, we are also launching the first annual Just a Girl 5k, in coordination with the Just a Girl from Maine T-shirts as a larger fundraiser to support Strong Girls United, a local organization spearheaded by Lani Silversides which focuses on empowering college athletes and community leaders to mentor the next generation of girls in sport.

Without needing to look outside of the contacts in my phone, we were able to create this amazing event, led by women in Maine who are leaders in their professions, and profoundly impacted by their sports backgrounds.  Our hope is to make this an annual event and spread the word that Maine girls can set the bar high, achieve their goals and do really hard things!

MSC’s note: Coach Stannard, a standout as a college basketball player at Bowdoin, captain her senior year and 1000 point scorer, member of the Maine Girls + Women in Sports Community and a strong voice during virtual workshops on leadership and coaching, is now continuing her impact with her role in helping to host this new event, Just A Girl 5k.

Coach Stannard and Lani Silversides, Strong Girls United, are working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of younger girls, including their daughters. They are each guiding two toddler and teen daughters along their journeys. 


Featured here left to right are Coach Stannard’s daughter, Blair, former player Ashleigh Mathisen, Coach Katie, former player Tara Flanders and daughter Poppy during Poppy’s first birthday party.